Tetouan 400
Tetouan, Morocco
Photo by: peterlozano , Creative Commons

Among the tourist destinations of Morocco, Tetouan has not been as popular as Casablanca and Tangiers, due largely to its reputation for being unfriendly to visitors. The city has worked hard to correct this and Tetouan has now become one of the more pleasant places to visit. As with so many other Moroccan vacation spots, Tetouan is set in a beautiful natural location, with mountains arising from the Mediterranean on its south and west, just across from the valley where it is situated.

Tetouan’s main attraction is its medina, which remains in full use. The place is quite large so tourists might want to allot some time for just sightseeing down its streets and looking at the houses, many of which are quite well-preserved and still in their original condition. Eight of the city’s original gates are still standing and are well-worth checking out, the nicest is the Bab el-Okla, the oldest standing city gate. But the focal point of the city is the Place Hassan II, the city square that bridges ancient Tetouan and the more modern areas of the city. Rebuilt in 1988 after the demolition of the original Spanish Andalucían Gardens, the square today boasts of a new royal palace, as well as several mosques and free-standing minarets.

Museums are good places to learn about the history of a place and the Archaeological Museum in Tetouan is one of the more fascinating ones in Morocco. Its exhibits are mainly from sites in northern Morocco, many dating back to the first century. Don’t miss the Three Graces, a Roman mosaic, as well as its collection of prehistoric artifacts. The Ethnographic Museum also warrants a visit, in order to gain some insight into the details of Moroccan customs and traditions, many fine examples of folk art are on display.

To cap off your trip to Tetouan, you can sample local food at the El Fouki Bread Market, where you can buy the traditional flat round loaves, and the El Hot Market, where you can get beautiful ceramic porcelain and fine gold and silver jewelry.

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