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Strong Royal Impetus to Rabat Old Medina Rehabilitation and Upgrading Programs

PERSISMA, Rabat – HM King Mohammed VI visited, on Monday, several projects that fall within the framework of the Rabat Old Medina Rehabilitation and Upgrading Program, one of the highlights of “Rabat City of Light, Moroccan Capital of Culture” integrated program that was launched by the sovereign on May 12, 2014.

This visit, which gave a momentum to the site as a symbol for the country’s heritage, mirrors the sovereign’s will to preserve the architectural aspect of the Rabat old medina, inscribed since 2012 in UNESCO world heritage list, to promote its cultural and tourist influence and improve the living and working conditions of its inhabitants.

HM the King visited the Bab Chellah street, including the Mohammed V schools and the great mosque, the Souk Essabat street and Bab El Bahr, sites which have been revamped under the Rabat old medina rehabilitation program.

The sovereign also visited the restoration sites of El Melh square and Sabbaghine street which are nearing completion (75%).

Several operations, scheduled as part of the the Rabat Old Medina Rehabilitation and Upgrading Program, worth 625 million dirhams, were completed. They are the revamping of Lagza street, the rehabilitation of the Kasbah of Oudayas wall, the revamping of El Marsa avenue, the development of community sport fields in Bab Chellah, the building of a shopping arcade and the consolidation of the El Mellah cliff.

The upgrading of the river shoreline of Rabat old medina is in harmony with the mega project of the Bouregreg valley development.

Other projects are under construction as the development of public squares, the restoration of the wall from Bab Laalou to Bab El Had, the strengthening of run-down buildings, the restoration of inns and the construction of craftsmen area.

The implementation of this ambitious program was backed by the launch by HM the King, on May 14, of a complementary program for upgrading the Rabat old medina, totaling 325 million dirhams.

Elaborated pursuant to the royal instructions, the new generation program seeks to ameliorate access to the old medina and enhance its attractiveness, mainly via the building of two underground car parks, near Bab El Had and Bab Chellah, of 1,090 parking lots and the development of squares adjacent to the central market and Bab El Had.

It also includes the redevelopment of Tamejajet sports complex, the restoration of the surroundings of medina walls, the completion of street paving, as well as street, alley and small square addressing, and the installation of information markers.

The projects of Bab El Had underground parking construction and the completion of the medina street paving are under way while the other projects are being studied.

The Rabat old medina rehabilitation program is part of efforts made to preserve and upgrade old medinas in several Moroccan cities as Casablanca, Marrakesh, Fez, Meknes, Essaouira, Sale and Tetouan.

On this occasion, HM the King was greeted by representatives of associations in the old medina and handed, in a symbolic gesture, the keys to beneficiaries from bicycle-taxis, purchased under the tourist and ecological transportation project in the city of Rabat, as part of the National Initiative for Human Development (INDH).

The 50 bicycle-taxis worth 2.5 million dirhams will also be used for tourist rides inside the city of Rabat.

This project aims to promote clean transportation in the city, diversify means of urban transport, and create an income-generating activity for young beneficiaries looking for jobs. The latter have benefited from training in communication techniques, civic education, management, entrepreneurship and foreign languages, supervised by the cooperative “Al Anwar” for ecological and tourist transportation and the association “Espace point de départ”.