Tetouan, city of northern Morocco
Between Ceuta and Chefchaouen, Tetouan is a city of character in the Jbala Country located in the western Rif. Its Amazigh name, Tittawin, comes from the many sources that feed it.
Just a few kilometres from the Mediterranean coast, Tetouan is surrounded by several seaside resorts and holiday villages, such as M’ diq, Martil, Marina Smir, Cabo Negro, Oued Laou…
Founded as early as the 3rd century BC, the city has numerous Carthaginian, Mauritian and Roman remains from the ancient city of Tamuda on the right bank of the river Martil on the outskirts of Tetouan.
The city is mentioned for the first time in the 10th century by the Andalusian cartographer Al Bakri, who states that it is endowed with a kasbah.
Since the Spanish occupation, Castilian has been spoken more readily there than French, but the Tetouanese population was once composed of Muslim moriscans from Al Andalus, Spanish Sephardic Jews, families of Fassis notables and families fleeing the French conquest of Ottoman Algeria, to which were added the various Berber Rifani components of the Jbala country.
The architecture of the city has been strongly marked by its history. Andalusian in the medina, Spanish protectorate period of the first half of the twentieth century in the new city, El Ensanche district with its five-storey buildings, and contemporary in the peripheral districts.
The medina of Tetouan, inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, is considered by specialists to be the most beautiful medina in Morocco. Surrounded by 15th century ramparts, 7 gates command the entrance. Inside there are narrow, picturesque, colourful and crowded lanes.
Usually well preserved by their current owners, some houses have benefited from a restoration programme set up by the Junta de Andalucía, the Andalusian government. The majority of these dwellings date from two periods: the 16th century with patio and columns supporting arcades and the 20th century with iron sleepers. They are usually equipped with a patio or indoor garden.
The most lively squares of the old town are: El Fedane Square, in the heart of medina, Gersa El-Kebira Square for its varied shops or the picturesque little square El Usâa.
Access: located 40 km from Ceuta and Europe, Tetouan is accessible by bus from all the big Moroccan cities.
Bus station: south of the city at the intersection of the avenues of April 9th and Meknes. CTM station: avenue Sidi Driss.