The Best of Tetouan
Tetouan is a small city in northern Morocco with a unique heritage of Andalusian and Arab cultures making this green and whitewashed city one of the jewels of Morocco.
Situated in the middle of a belt of orchards that contain orange, pomegranate, almond, and cypress trees, Tetouan is picturesquely perched on the northern slope of a fertile valley down which flows the Martil river with Tetouan harbor at its mouth.
The streets in Tetouan are wide and straight and many of the houses belong to aristocratic families, descendants of those expelled from Al-Andalus by the Spanish Reconquista. These houses boast marble fountains, orange groves, exquisitely carved and painted ceilings in Hispano-Moresque designs, similar to those in the Alhambra in Granada.
This charming northern region of Morocco is a melting pot of culture.
- Morning departure from your hotel in Tangier.
- Begin your Tetouan tour with a visit to the Big Mosque, the Spanish Cathedral, Babu Saidi, the Kasbah, the Medina, and Hassan II Square. Then tour the old Royal Palace, a 17th century building, at Place Hassan II. Hassan II Square is a reflection of the Hispano-Moresque architecture of Tetouan. The palace is closed to public entry but its main ornate gate Bab Er-Rouah is magnificent. Place Hassan II, where the old and new town meet, is the dynamic heart of Tetouan.
- Next, explore Tetouan’s old medina, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The old medina in Tetouan was once a pirate hub and the capital of Spain during colonial times. The Romans destroyed Tetouan and it was repopulated in the 16th century. Tetouan was a refuge for Jews, Moors, and Moriscos who escaped the Spanish inquisition and many people in the city still speak Spanish.
- Lunch in Tetouan of local Moroccan fare and then explore Tetouan’s winding streets and alleys on your way to the fort.
- Visit the Jewish mellah, the Berber market, and the Andalusian sector. The Jews of Tetouan once lived in its mellah that was separated from the rest of the town by gates that were closed at night. Tetouan was once home to an important Sephardic Jewish community, which immigrated from Spain after the Reconquista and the Spanish Inquisition. This Jewish Sephardic community spoke a form of Judeo-Spanish known as Haketia. There are very few Jews left in Tetouan today.
- End the day with a visit of Tetouan Archaeology Museum with curated exhibits of Roman relics, artifacts, and mosaics from Lixus.
- Return to your hotel.
wind: 5mph ENE
H 72 • L 66
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