Tetouan in Morocco, things to do and see
- Things to do and see in Tetouan:
Tetouan, often spelled Tetouan, is a Moroccan city located in north-central Morocco. There are 11 kilometers between it and the Mediterranean Sea, which is located along the Martil River (Wadi Martil).
The origin of the word comes from the Berber term “Titawin”, which means eyes.
The settlement is built on a rocky plateau that separates it from the southern face of Mount Dersa, which it overlooks. The ancient Roman village of Tamuda was situated just above the modern city of Rome. Tetouan was first occupied by the Idrisid dynasty in the 9th century, and was fortified by the Marinid dynasty in the 14th century, when the city was renamed Tetouan.
As well as being a commercial center, Tetouan has a thriving economy centered on crafts and light industry. As a cultural center, it has a music school, multiple craft schools, national museums of archeology and traditional arts, as well as a library and archive. It is connected to the cities of Tangier (Tangier), Al-Hocema and Ouazzane by the road network. Agricultural products grown in the surrounding region include cereals (mainly wheat), citrus fruits (especially oranges), tea, as well as sheep, goats, cattle, as well as cork and olive trees. Due to its proximity to the Mediterranean beaches, the city is a favorite tourist destination for many Moroccans, especially in summer. The population was 380,787 inhabitants in 2014.
Things to do and see in Tetouan:
1. Explore the ancient madina:
It is true that the medina of Tetouan is one of the smallest in Morocco, but it is also one of the most complete in the country. The Spanish-influenced medina, which has remained virtually unchanged since the 17th century with the exception of some modern repairs, has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Moroccan history can be experienced first-hand by strolling through the country's many ethnic areas, which include Andalusian, Berber and Jewish communities.
The medina is the ancient center of Tetouan, and is fortified by five kilometers of walls with battlements and seven spectacular gates. The city was destroyed by the Spanish in 1400, and was later rebuilt by the Islamic Moors who fled after the 15th-century Reconquest, according to legend. Its architectural impact can be seen in the white Andalusian houses, which have remained almost unchanged since the 17th century, as well as in the surrounding landscape. Artists and craftsmen practice their traditional trades in signposted souks, while mosques, kasbahs and the Royal Palace in Hassan II Square evoke the grandeur of a bygone era.
2. The Archaeological Museum
The Archaeological Museum, located in the center of the city, exhibits objects unearthed in ancient cities in northern Morocco. Here is Tamuda, a Roman city located on the outskirts of Tetouan. Punic coins, bronze tools, figures from the 1st century and stone inscriptions of Libyan-Berber origin are some of the objects in the collection, which is divided into prehistoric and pre-Islamic periods. Highlights include a Roman mosaic of the Three Graces and a Sumerian figure unearthed near the modern city of Asilah. Spend some time in the museum garden, where you can discover mosaics from Lixus, a Roman city, among Islamic artifacts and burial stones.
Before the foundation of Tetouan, in the fifteenth century, two cities grew and collapsed on its land. The Archaeological Museum is dedicated to unraveling the history of ancient Tetouan, exhibiting amazing artifacts that tell travelers about the city's past. Ancient coins, ceramics, mosaics and ancient inscriptions are just some of the objects you will find in this museum. It opens from 9 am to 4:30 pm from Wednesday to Monday.
3. The church of Bacturia
Today, Tetouan's Spanish influence can still be strongly felt, and nowhere is this more evident than in its only surviving church, the Iglesia de Bacturia.
The Roman Catholic Church of Bacturia is the only church in Tetouan, a rarity in a country known for its mosques. The church, erected in 1917, is still in use today. In fact, the city is one of the few in Morocco where you can hear the church bells calling to prayer along with the muezzin's call. Regular services are still held. You have the option of attending daily mass at 7:00 p.m. or 11:00 a.m. every Sunday.
4. Visit the Dar Sanaa craft center
Tetouan is known for its creative heritage, and nowhere exemplifies it better than Dar Sanaa, the city's old arts and crafts school. The structure, which stands near the eastern entrance to the medina, Bab el-Okla, is a magnificent example of neo-Arabic architecture. Inside, a series of workshops allow visitors to see local artists at work on techniques that have been perfected. Wood painting, sewing, marquetry and zellij mosaic making are some of them. If the work of the masters inspires you, you can buy their works here or in the souks in the medina.
Located on the outskirts of Bab el-Okla in a beautiful Hispano-Moorish structure, this artisan center was founded in 1919 by the famous Italian painter Mariano Bertuchi with the aim of preserving the history of Hispano-Moorish art in Tetouan. Today, Dar Sanaa offers various classes in traditional Moroccan art. You can learn about the local artistic culture of Tetouan by visiting the magnificent structure with its studios and attractive courtyard. From Saturday to Thursday, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and on Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
5. Museum of Modern Art
Tetouan is known for having a vibrant creative community, so it is only fitting that one of Morocco's two contemporary art museums is located in this city. The Museum of Modern Art of Tetouan is located in a beautiful old railway station built in the style of Andalusian architecture. It has a permanent collection of modern Moroccan art, as well as a series of temporary exhibitions.
However, it is important to note that the city's ingenuity is not limited to the arts and crafts of the past. Tetouan is also home to one of only two contemporary art museums in Morocco, the other located in the capital, Rabat, which is also in the city of Tetouan. Housed in a historic train station that once served as a rail connection between the Spanish exclave of Ceuta and the rest of the world, the museum is a sight in itself. Within its castle-like walls, you'll discover five exhibition rooms featuring a permanent collection of the best contemporary art and sculpture from across Morocco, including works by international artists. The museum also regularly hosts traveling exhibitions, and is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
6. Museum of Ethnography:
When visiting Morocco, one of the best ways to learn about the country's history and customs is to take a look at the most valuable collections of the country's ancient peoples. It is possible to see a wide variety of artifacts in the many exhibition halls of this great museum, ranging from hand-embroidered pillows to intricately decorated baskets, weaponry, crafts and traditional wedding accessories, among other things.
The Ethnographic Museum, which is located next to Dar Sanaa and is situated in the castle of Sultan Moulay Abderrahman, was built in the 19th century. Dedicated to the history and culture of Tetouan and with a magnificent collection of costumes, jewellery, needlework, instruments, weapons and furniture in typical Tetouan chambers, the museum is a must-see for all who visit the city. In the kitchen you can taste the traditional food of the area, and the trousseau room is a highlight. Throughout the museum, the opulent Tetouan wedding process is portrayed through a wonderful collection of marriage chests and wedding tablecloths, as well as ceremonial clothing.
7. Explore the coast
In just 20 minutes, you can be on the coast where you can explore the many fishing villages, ports and beach resorts the area has to offer. The Laguna de Smir, which is nearby, serves as a stopover for thousands of migratory birds. Tamuda Bay is a luxury development with five star hotels, wellness facilities and golden beaches. The beach resort of M'diq is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike, thanks to its promenade and excellent seafood restaurants. The Real Club de Golf, with 18 holes, is located in Cabo Negro. Instead, thrill seekers can indulge in activities such as jet-skiing, windsurfing, deep-sea fishing and scuba diving, while history buffs will appreciate Martil, the port of Tetouan, which served as a hideout for pirates in the past.
8. Attend an annual festival
Every year an incredible number of artistic and musical events are held in Tetouan, many of them inspired by the Andalusian origin of the city. The Women's Voice Festival, which honors the contributions of Moroccan women to the Arab music scene, and the International Lute Festival, which is a three-day showcase of the world's best lute artists, are two of the most important annual events in the city. Tetouan is also the host city of the International Comic Festival since 2004. The Tetouan Mediterranean Film Festival is undoubtedly the best known of the festivals.
9. Go hiking in the Rif mountains
The adjacent Rif Mountains offer the possibility of all kinds of daring outdoor activities, such as hiking, mountain biking, caving and canyoning. Talassemtane National Park begins on the outskirts of Chefchaouen and encompasses a panorama of towering peaks and tumbling canyons. The park's characteristic setting of Moroccan firs and black pines is home to 35 animal species, including the endangered Barbary macaque. Bird watchers should keep an eye out for the beautiful golden eagle, which is frequently seen soaring over the park's thermals. Talassemtane is a 2.5-hour drive from Tetouan, making it the perfect place for an overnight camping trip.
10. Travel to Chefchaouen for a day trip
Tetouan is also an excellent starting point to discover other places of interest in northern Morocco, such as the highland town of Chefchaouen. With its sky-blue houses and quaint cobbled medina, Chefchaouen is a laid-back artists' enclave with stunning mountain views and a quaint cobbled medina. Like Tetouan, it served as a refuge for Muslim and Jewish immigrants fleeing the Spanish Reconquest during the 15th century, and many of the city's most famous monuments date back to