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Tetuán
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Information about Tetuán

Knowing what to see, where to go and what to do when travelling in Tetouan

Tetouan in Arabic means "eyes" or "sources". Sometimes known by the nickname "The White Dove", is a city in northern Morocco, located close to the Mediterranean sea.

TETUAN MARRUECOS

Information about Tetouan

Tetouan, former capital of the Spanish Protectorate in Morocco, keeps the charm of the Spanish provincial cities. With the expansion (the square of the Medi Mulay, the Church of Our Lady of Victory, the Spanish casino, the post office building, and the modernist and regionalist architecture with blank and wrought iron facades), Tetouan seems to have been submerged in a bygone era.

Travel in Tetouan let us to know part of the history of Spain, which has so well reflected the novel of María Dueñas: "The time in between". In fact, walking around the peripheral housing development, we almost missing the gatherings of knights in the Spanish circle or tea ladies in the coffee shops. Passing through the door of the church, almost expecting to hear the bells (thing which douesn't happen since 1956) when we left Tetouan for good. Spanish presence still stays through the Instituto Cervantes, the Spanish school Jacinto Benavente, the Center for vocational training or college.

Including a visit to Tetouan on a trip through northern Morocco is fundamental. Tetouan preserves one of the best preserved and most authentic medinas of the country, listed in the Unesco heritage since 1997. With its narrow streets, arches, ramparts, gates, walls, mosques and small shops, the Medina of Tetouan is a little gem which even has its tanneries, where still today leather is tanned and keept, by which bags, slippers, handbags are then manufactured. The medina has five distinct, being one of them the Mellah or Jewish quarter, which has its own idiosyncrasies, with its houses with balconies and windows, founded by Sephardim who arrived here with teir diaspora from Spain in the XV century . The street of the bezel is the nerve and commercial center of the Jewish quarter.

Annex to the medina, we find the King's Palace, former Jaliffa's Palace of XVII century and seat of the High Commissariat for the Spanish protectorate, which opens onto a large square, the old town square or forum, remodeled and worthy of receiving the royal entourage and his guards, scene of military parades and play area for  tetuanís children when the king does not overnight in the city. Of great magnificence, like all royal property, this palace is characterize by its Moorish Spanish style and being in the heart of the city, stuck in the souk or market.

Tetouan is white, they call it the white dove. It shows up from the road, spilling down the side of the mountain which protects and subjects. Their houses in cascade, white on a green background, are a picture which worths seeing. On the side, standing on the horizon, we find the towers of the old city walls and the Alcazaba. Tetouan is a bustling city during the market days, when small farmers come to sell their products, coultivated in fertile valley with its aquifer water.

But Tetouan is also relaxed when, in the evening, the families stroll through the streets with the children dressed with the "Sunday" clothing and listening to the sound of the muezzin in the background, embraced by the breeze coming from the nearby Mediterranean coast.

 

What to do

Discover the Medina of Tetouan, declared World Heritage by UNESCO.

Visit, preferably in the morning, the Ensemble Artisanal next to Bab Okla: the building and the gardens are wonderful.

Visit the Archeological Museum, which only has a couple of rooms with a curious collection.

Visit the tanneries of Tetouan, to see how the skin are tanned and how the leather are worked.

All above mentioned places are within walking distance of each other.

Beaches

Near Tetouan there are wonderful beaches of the Mediterranean Sea, which have nothing to envy to other famous beaches in Europe.

Alongside of Tetouan you can find Martil which is a summer town with a magnificent sandy beach.

There is also Black Cabo, few kilometres far from Tetouan.

If you take the car towards Nador, in the shore line you have several coves with a special charm and crystal clear waters.

There is also the beach of Marina, a summer resort of many ceutíes.

Do not forget to look out if you go to a rock beach, because they are full of barnacles and you'll see that Moroccans do not catch them, so you can pay an homage to this delicious product of the sea.

 

History

It was founded in the III century BC, destroyed by the Romans in the I century, for 200 years the legions used it as a military outpost.

It was not repopulated until 1307 when, one of the sultans meriníes decided to build a fortified town on the present site of Tetouan.

TETUAN MARRUECOS

The city was destroyed in 1339 by the King of Castilla and it was not again occupied until the XVI century by some Jews coming from Spain. The Spaniards blocked the port to prevent piracy and the city entered in a period of decline that does not let up until the time of Moulay Ismail. Spain reconquered it in 1862 maintaining a certain influence in the city until 1913, and they occupied it again with the protectorate.

Therefore sometimes it is said that Tetouan is the most Hispanic one of Moroccan cities.

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