Tetouan - This is the visit of the Medina, a World Heritage Site

Medina of Tetouan in Morocco

The surprise that I took on my first trip to theTetouan city, located at northern morocco, very close to Ceuta, is that it is not a tourist city at all.

I want to say that it is not a city where tourists abound. Moreover, I assure you that you can spend a full day in Tetouan and practically not see any westerners.

So what Tetouan It has a very important tourist argument to visit it, its medina, which in 1997 was declared World Heritage by Unesco.

Tanners' neighborhood in the Medina of Tetouan in Morocco

In my most recent trip to Tetouan I had the chance to return to visit his medina, a complicated maze of alleys and passages where I think it's easy to get lost.

Medina of Tetouan history

In the medina is the origin of the city of Tetouan, it was in the fifteenth century when this labyrinth was built fortified enclosure with the aim of controlling the rebel tribes of Rif.

Medina of Tetouan in Morocco

At the end of that centuryTetouan he received the immigration of the so-called andalusis, Muslims and Jews who left southern Spain to flee the Inquisition, after the end of the Reconquest.

With a fortified perimeter of five kilometers, in the Tetuan medina They were opened seven doors, which are preserved today, the oldest being known asBab mkabar, oriented north.

Said doors were historically closed during the night for security reasons, a custom that was maintained during the era of spanish protectorate from northern Morocco, between 1913 and 1956.

Corner of the Medina of Tetouan in Morocco

After the declaration of the independence of Morocco, a part of the wall was demolished to "open" the medina towards the so-called Expansionthe old Spanish colonial neighborhood.

Medina visit of Tetouan

However, when you decide visit the medina of Tetouan It is normal for you to access through one of those historic doors that separate it from the Spanish Quarter, which rose during the time of protectorate.

Of course the Tetuan medina You can visit it on your own, but the first times I've traveled it, I preferred to do it with a guide.

And after the experience, if you really want to meet her and discover her most hidden corners, I consider it essential to do it with a guide.

Medina of Tetouan in Morocco

As we enter the medina, Abdul, our guide, reminds us that it is World Heritage and, as he tells us, it is somewhat smaller than the famous Medina of Fez, but consider Tetuan's prettier.

Why? For its configuration of alleys and passages, and for its better conservation and cleaning.

I still do not know Fez, so I have no criteria in this regard, but the truth is that the Tetuan medina it is a great maze in which the covered passages abound and where the different ones are distributed neighborhoods.

Ascent to the old Kasbah of the Medina of Tetouan

A recommended way to start the visit is climb the old Kasba, a fortification of a military nature that was used by the Spaniards in the last era of spanish protectorate.

Currently the Kasba It is closed to the public, since its great deterioration led to the fact that walls have not fallen long ago during the visit of some tourists, causing the death of a Muslim guide.

After climbing steep stairs that are lost in narrow alleys you will reach the height of the Kasba, from where you will have good ones Panoramic views of the city of Tetouan and its medina.

Gate of the old Kasbah of the Medina of Tetouan

In this upper area of ​​Tetouan, Next to the medina wall You find the great extension of the city's Muslim cemetery, an enclosure where the Jewish cemetery is also located.

During your walk through the medina of Tetouan, in various corners you will find ceramic plates with tourist information in Arabic, Spanish and English, pointing out prominent places such as mosques, hamans or zauias (Islamic schools).

You will also see indicated numerous points of the water pipeline whose origins date back to the fifteenth century, and which is one of the peculiarities of the Tetuan medina.

Passage in the Medina of Tetouan in Morocco

This underground pipeline network provided drinking water to houses, buildings, public fountains, mosques or witch hazards, and many of them are still being used.

Of course in your visit of the medina you can meet the tanners' neighborhood, with the curious enclosure where the skins work that will then allow to manufacture numerous products.

Bab Mkabar Gate, the oldest in the Medina of Tetouan

Except on Fridays, Muslim holiday, in your walk through the Medina You will find a great atmosphere in the numerous souks of different types of products, which will contrast with the many solitary corners and alleys that make up the great labyrinth of the medina.

You will also see some alleys with Jewish names that correspond to the old jewish quarter of the medina, now barely inhabited by six families of that religion.

And of course, in your visit of the medina The establishment where they will try to sell you carpets, quite a rite, may not be missing.

Tanners' neighborhood in the Medina of Tetouan in Morocco

In sum, the Medina must be a essential visit if on your trip to Morocco you approach Tetouan.

Keep all its exoticism and on your walk, almost certainly if it is not in the summer months, you will not find any western tourists.

Photos of the Medina of Tetouan

Here you have more Photos of the Medina of Tetouan, with its most prominent corners.