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Tetouan is a city in northern Morocco.The Berber name means literally "the eyes" and figuratively "the water springs".Tetouan is one of the two major ports of Morocco on the Mediterranean Sea.It lies a few miles south of the Strait of Gibraltar, and about 40 mi (60 km) E.S.E. of Tangier.In 2004 the city had 320,539 inhabitants (census figure).Tetouan's civil airport Sania Ramel Airport is located 6 km to the east.Arabic is the official language but it is not used for everyday dialogue.The city has its own dialect, a particular citadin variant of non-hilsalian Arabic which is distinct from Jebli Arabic.However, Jebli arabic is predominant since people from the neighboring rural areas settled in the city during the 20th century rural flights.The use of Spanish and French is still widespread especially by the businessmen and intellectual elites.Its main religion is Islam.A small Christian minority lives in the city.

The city is situated about 60 km east of the city of Tangier and 40 km south of the Spanish exclave of Ceuta (Sebta) and the Strait of Gibraltar. It is in the far north of the Rif Mountains.To the south and west of the city there are mountains.Tetuan is situated in the middle of a belt of orchards that contain orange, almond, pomegranate and cypress trees.The Rif Mountains are nearby, as the city is located in the Martil Valley.It is picturesquely situated on the northern slope of a fertile valley down which flows the Martil river, with the harbour of Tetouan, Martil, at its mouth.Behind rise rugged masses of rock, the southern wall of the Anjera country, once practically closed to Europeans, and across the valley are the hills which form the northern limit of the still more impenetrable Rif.

The streets are fairly wide and straight, and many of the houses belonging to aristocratic families, descendants of those expelled from Al-Andalus by the Spanish "Reconquista", possess marble fountains and have groves planted with orange trees.Within the houses the ceilings are often exquisitely carved and painted in hispano-moresque designs, such as are found in the Alhambra of Granada, and the tile-work for which Tetuan is known may be seen on floors, pillars and dados.The traditional industries are tilework, inlaying with silver wire, and the manufacture of thick-soled yellow slippers, much-esteemed flintlocks, and artistic towels used as cape and skirt by Arabic girls in rural areas.The Jews lived in a mellah, separated from the rest of the town by gates which were closed at night.The harbour of Tetuan was obstructed by a bar, over which only small vessels can pass, and the roadstead, sheltered to the north, northwest and south, is exposed to the east, and is at times unsafe in consequence of the strong Levanter.

The city was founded in the 3rd century BC.Artifacts from both the Roman and the Phoenician era have been found in the site of Tamuda.The city is situated in the area of Morocco which was formerly ruled by Spain. In 1913 it became the capital of the part of Morocco under Spanish protectorate which was governed by the Jalifa (Moroccan prince, serving as Viceroy for the Sultan, and the Spanish "Alto Comisario" accredited to him), and it remained its capital until 1956.Tetouan has also been home to an important Sephardi Jewish community, which immigrated from Spain after the Reconquista and the Spanish Inquisition.This Jewish Sephardi community spoke a form of Judaeo-Spanish known as Haketia.Some of them emigrated later to Oran (in Algeria), to South America and much later to Israel, Spain, France and Canada.There are very few Jews left in Tetouan nowadays.There is a small population of former Jews who converted to Islam that still remain in Tetouan.

How to Reach

By Air

Sania Ramel Airport (IATA: TTU, ICAO: GMTN) is an airport serving Tetouan,a city in the Tangier-Tetouan region in Morocco.It is also the closest airport to Ceuta.The airport served over 15 thousand passengers in the year 2008.

By Bus

As a transportation hub in the north, Tetouan is very easy to reach by bus or grand taxi.Many travelers only see the bus station en route from Ceuta or Tangier to Chefchaouen, but it is well worth a longer visit.Both the CTM bus station as well as the non-CTM bus station are located in the center, though the walk from the CTM station to the center is a hike up a rather steep hill.

By Taxi

Petite taxis are very cheap, though the fare increases if you have luggage.But if you choose to stay at one of the hotels on the way to Martil (Champs or Dreams) petite taxis and grand taxis are always available.The city center is quite small and most tourist attractions as well as hotels are located there, so there really is no need to use petite taxis.

Key places to visit
The medina of Tetouan, Moroccan Arts museum, kasbah, Tamuda Bay


Places to Visit

The medina of Tetouan

Its unique network of shaded alleyways, is a UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site.Its large mellah (Jewish quarter) was called Little Jerusalem.It is the most lively area after nightfall.Here, the souks are well separated, each trade occupying a precise perimeter.Tarafin street, which is lined with jewellery shops, leads to Hassan II square and the Royal Palace, a fine example of Hispano-Mauresque architecture. To the west, on the modern side, the new town, El Ensanche, can be found. Its small buildings of five storeys maximum, with shops on the ground floor, were built under Spanish protectorate.

Moroccan Arts museum

The archaeological museum can be found in the medina, close to the Bab Tout gate, and the Moroccan Arts museum next to Bab El Oqla. The former has beautiful mosaics and a multitude of Roman-period artefacts, on loan from the Lixus site.The latter, which is ethnological, exhibits traditional costumes and regional musical instruments.Close to this museum, the trade school teaches all craft specialisations.The National Fine Arts Institute, founded in 1947 by Mariano Bertuchi, a Spanish painter, has the particularity of having a comic strip teaching section, since 2000. Since 2004, each year it hosts the international Comic Strip festival.


Is a type of medina, Islamic city, or fortress (citadel).It was a place for the local leader to live and as a defense when the city was under attack.A kasbah has high walls which usually have no windows. Sometimes, they were built on the top of hill to make them easier to defend. Some of them were also placed near the entrance of harbors.Having a kasbah built was a sign of wealth of some families in the city. Almost all cities had their kasbah, this building being something necessary for the city to survive. When colonization started in 1830, in northern Algeria, there were a great number of kasbahs that lasted for more than 100 years.

Tamuda Bay

located 15 km from Tetouan and its airoport, extends along the coast from M’diq to Fnideq, over an area of 50 hectares, and is equipped with high-quality hotel infrastructures.The localities concerned are Oued Negro, Restinga, Marina Smir and Holiday Club.This seaside resort comprises an 18-hole golf course, the Laguna Smir lakeside town, an aquatic park, shops, restaurants and two pleasure ports: Marina Kabila and Marina Smir.The lakeside town has water-sports equipment and thalassotherpy centres.On the programme: relaxing walks on the long and beautiful coast road, a scuba diving experience from Marina Smir just to give it a try or to explore the straight's waters.

Right Time to Visit

May - July
September - December


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