Discover the Resort Town of Larache

The harbor town of Larache, located in northern Morocco’s Tanger-Tétoun region, is a popular summer resort, both with Moroccans and visitors to this exotic North African country. One of the biggest attractions to the town is its spectacular long, tree-edged beach, along with a carefree holiday atmosphere that has visitors lingering in the late afternoon and into the evening to enjoy one another’s company. Larache’s Spanish and Andalusian architecture and numerous historic and cultural landmarks get their fair share of attention from visitors too.

Larache was most likely originally founded by the Banu Arous tribe, who were ousted from the town in 1471 by Portuguese settlers who had traveled from Asilah and Tangier. For a time the settlement was abandoned, until the first sultan of the Saadi dynasty to rule over Morocco, Mohammed ash-Sheikh, built a fortress on the plateau overlooking the Loukos River, with the intention of controlling access to the river. This strategy was evidently successful, as invasion attempts by the Portuguese and French were repelled, until in 1610 the town came under the control of the Spanish who used the port town primarily as a trading stop. In 1689, a large Moroccan army, under the leadership of Moulay Ismail laid siege to Larache, which lasted for three months before the defenders relinquished control. Larache later became a haven for pirates, and in 1829 it was bombarded by the Austrians because of this.

Attractions to see while visiting Larache include the old Spanish prison which currently houses the archeological museum, mostly displaying items recovered from the nearby archeological site of Lixus. The view from the museum is spectacular, with the Loukos River below and the hills of Lixus in the distance. The old Spanish fortress, with its imposing walls and huge canons, will also be of interest to history enthusiasts, while the nearby park provides a great place for a picnic in the shade of the trees. The old section of Larache is Moorish in style, with narrow roads, alleyways and flights of steps leading downhill in the direction of the sea.

Located north of Larache, on the Loukkos River bank, are the remains of the ancient city of Lixus, built in 1180 BC by a Berber King. For those interested in history, Lixus is a worthwhile trip to make when visiting Larache.

Picture attribution: Dans at Wikimedia