The Medina is an easy place for a stroll and you can kill a morning or afternoon having a wander around. While you're walking about, you'll see some terrific murals all over the place. I felt these were actually rather good quality and it was quite fun turning another corner and seeing something completely different to the last, great flashes of colour on the whitewashed streets.
The murals are painted each year during the town's International Cultural Festival. Some of them you can read who painted it, others are more anonymous. I was really impressed by the variety and imagination of these and it added a nice touch to the Medina. So you get to take in a bit of art, all for free. While I was in Asilah, the international arts centre and gallery were closed, so this was pretty much the only 'cultural activity' that was available.
I liked this one in particular and so took a few photos from different angles. It's called 'The Tree of Life' and the little people on the wall also continue up electricity and phone lines, not just painted on the walls.
Like usual in Morocco, the main and most impressive msque in Asilah is called the Ground Mosque. I am not a Muslim, so I was not allowed to enter the Grand Mosque. I paid attention to its white tower. It's a minaret - a tower from which a man (or loudspeakers nowadays) calls Muslims to pray.
I had been one afternooon to the big weekly souk a few years back - the sort that many travel from miles around to bring stuff to sell or locals who go to have the weekly big buy up - their excellent outdoor supermarket!
This time I dont know what made the difference - whether it was being earlier in the day - but it seemed so much more colourful and alive, vibrant and excitingly photogenic! - but here with your camera you still have to be quick as the ladies really dont like to have their photos taken even if you are not aiming at faces!
Particularly of interest is seeing the large number of ladies in 'Rif mountain' style - straw hats with colourful woollen string and pompoms on them and red and white striped skirts or aprons, and generally underskirts showing out the bottom and with towels or shawls wrapped around their shoulders.
When travelling to and from Asilah you will often see these ladies making their journeys on donkeys. They are in even more abundance along the roadways between Tangier and Tetouan and Chefchouen and in the Chefchouen town and markets itself - ie generally the areas closer the Rif mountains!
The Asilah weekly souk is on the far edge of town of the side away from Tangier - near the shanty town - about 10 or 15 minutes walk from the medina - catch a small taxi to get there for about 10 dirham and then you can easily find your own way back!
When I drove a car the first I saw long and impressive city walls with many large city gates which surrounded the medina - old Arab town. They were built in 15th century by Portuguse and looked the most impressive in Morocco. Surprisingly, they were very well preserved, probably renovated recently.
My second surprise was that, in contrast to Tangier and Tetouan I visited before, there were almost no people walking around. The city looked almost empty in the morning.
I saw a few huge, impressive city gates. Some have the typical arab keyhole shape, some not. The city walls are very thick which is the best seen just when you pass through the gate. No wonder, they had to protect Asilah efficiently in the past.
I asked about tours on city walls, but, a pity, there were none.
El Kamra tower was located in Place Abdellah and this tall tower was good orientation point for me. It was square tower (like Moroccan minarets) with 4 turrets on its top corners built by Pourtugeuses. Hmm... I would like to go to the top of a tower but it was closed to the public.
I passed through the huge gate in the external city walls and entered the medina full of quite pretty, simple white houses which had to remind me Greece. I was walking around maybe two hours. And finally I passed through the gate in internal city walls to enter the Ville Nouveau (New City in French).
Every year in August there is an International Arts Festival, lasting for about a month.
Through the year you can see the art of the visiting artists for the festival painted on the walls around the lovely medina with its white washed walls, narrow streets and high riad homes with interesting doors and windows.
Usually colourful and make great photographs for blowing up and framing for an interesting souvenir back home!
Enjoy looking for the next one as you wander around the streets!
This very thick walled tower, definitely heavily fortified, was part of the defense systems during the time the portugeuse had power for about 200 years between 1471 and when Moroccan control was gained in 1691.
In all the times Ive visited Asilah Ive only ever noticed this open once when in Asilah during the International Art Festival - and there was an exhibition of art to see around the walls in the rooms of the 2 or 3 floors - some views from the rather small windows but sadly no entrance permitted to the roof for views from the top!
Walking around Asilah I was suprised to see white houses' walls with colorful, amazing and very unique wall paintings. Asilah is famous of artists who paint on walls. These paintings are unique in style and look quite different than any graffiti I saw till now.
The annual International Arts Festival brings international artists to Asilah - excellent art ends up painted on the walls that stays for the whole year - take a look at the paintings and many are of really high quality and are signed by the artist.
Its interesting too to see where they have come from and the story told in their painting.
Check out also the International Cultural Centre for art exhibitions during the festival, and also when we there during one year's festival there was also an art exhibition inside the Portugeuse tower.
TThe ramparts of Asilah were built by Portogueses in 15th century and ater the renovation they look impressive. I surely took a walk along them and I saw white houses on the one side and the Atlantic Ocean down the cliff on the other. It was quite looong but very nice walking tour.
Each old Moroccan town sonsists of the two parts: the medina that is old Arab town with narrow streets, surrounded byn city walls and modern, new town with broad streets and avenues called from French Ville Nuoveau. Waking arounf this modern (in Moroccan way) part of the city, I easily noticed that Asilah is cleaner and richer city than others in Morocco. Generally, on many areas, the standard of life looks higher in Asilah than in other parts of Morocco.
Walking around the medina of Asilah, finally I reached the Atlantic Ocean. I saw sinple but beautiful houses standing on a gigh vliff of the Atlantic Ocean. I paid attention to typical, painted in green or rarely in blue, doors and gates. At first these houses reminded me some towns or villages in Greece or in southern Spain and Portugal.
He was on of the leader of resistance against the portugese occupation of the city. He Died and was berried in this spot. The tomb and the Kobba (dom) was built at a later date. it is located on the Southern end of the kasbah.
Once you enter to the site. you'll see a court yard that has coloured floors. these are are also graves for the mujahedeen who died also with sidi Ahmed Ben manssor. Inside the Kobba there is the garve and that is about it.