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The capital of Morocco, modern Rabat is a planned city of wide boulevards and handsome public buildings and gardens. The Moroccan king lives in his palace here for part of the year. Rabat is situated on the Atlantic coastal plain at the mouth of the river Bou Regreg. A highway and a railway connect the city with Casablanca about 97km to the south-west. Yearly rainfall in Rabat averages 53cm (21in), most of which falls in January and February and the year round climate is mild. A city of trees and flowers, Rabat combines peace, beauty and serenity, and is steeped in history. The origins of the city date back to the seventh century. A Mauritanian trading post was once built to the south-east of the present city in the Chellah area. The river port, later colonised first by the Carthaginians and then by the Romans, was a bridgehead for the Roman occupation.

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