Explore Tetouan in Morocco

The city of Tetouan is strangely enchanting with its dramatic setting of the somber Rif Mountains and the cheerful and colorful Martil Valley. The discolored white walls give way to bursts of color here and there while green tile roofs frame the odd mixture of Spanish and Moorish architecture. The people here are friendly and very much engaged in the business of living. Traders guilds abound, which means shopping opportunities are good.

At one time, Tetouan had acquired a reputation amongst foreigners as being a bit touristy – a place where foreigners had difficult experiences. Fortunately local government realized how the annoyance was hurting the city’s tourism so officials began making sure that ‘friendly guides’ remained friendly. As a result touring Tetouan has been a very pleasant experience for many years and you can be sure that a visit to Tetouan will be enjoyable. Indeed, you will be left to admire the truly beautiful backdrop to the city while you walk between the charming old buildings as you attempt to imagine living in Morocco’s historical past.

Tetouan was established in 1305 as a base of operations against Sebta. Sometime later it became a pirate’s lair until it was destroyed, only to be repopulated in the 16th century by Muslims and Jews who had been exiled from Andalusia. It wasn’t long before the city began to prosper. Today you will find it surrounded by orchards of oranges, almonds, pomegranates and cypress trees. The city is noted for its culture. As you make your way around you will find woman selling their honey, butter, vegetables and herbs in oddly mixed clothing. The Hassan II Square is where the old and new town meet and is the heart of the city. It has distinct Andalusian charm with its wrought iron balconies, fountains and flower boxes, and kiosks and shops are plentiful. As you explore the streets you will likely find that each one is occupied by a trade guild which can be very interesting to watch.

Besides all this, Tetouan has a number of monuments. A fort, walls and well preserved fences, mosques, fountains and foundouks all provide an interesting look into the city’s history. The Khalifa’s old palace, a seventeenth century building, is also definitely worth a look as it is an great example of Hispano-Moresque architecture. After that there are two museums, a conservatory, a School of Moroccan Art and a College of Fine Arts to visit. However none of these things quite surpass the experience of walking through the city’s winding streets and discovering the history hidden in its walls. Usually a hiring a guide is the best way to do this. If you are visiting Morocco, make sure that Tetouan is on your list of places to see!

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