The jewellers in kasbah.
At kasbah in Medina there was this street with only jewellers. After walking through the vegetable market, meat and fish market and the berber market walking through here was quite a sight, awesome 18 karat gold in every store. And the bridal shops, they were exquisite.
Ride on a camel in Morocco.
The first stop in Morocco was for a camel ride. For 1 euro you could ride a camel for a couple of minutes. There were 2 camels there and the one I mounted was not happy about me being there. I couldn't wait to get off, my behind hurt and the camel refused to bow to let me get off.
Having a bus-load of tourists mount 2 camels like this, one after another, is maltreatment of animals, I say. The animals have to bow again and again to have new people mount them for a couple of minutes :(
I was challenging myself back then to do new things and to say "yes" to new experiences. So off I went to ride a camel, not to be repeated.
Visit a herb pharmacy.
The first stop at the market was at a herb pharmacy. You were seated in the pharmacy and the pharmacist and his assistant introduced the products to you. The assistant showed us the products and wanted us to smell it. After smelling a few products I started feeling ill and declined smelling 10-20 more products. But there were some interesting products there and people bought a lot.
They say they sell drugs and ointments for almost all ailments.
A VT-er "Doctor38" helped me with translating the sign by the entrance to the pharmacy :D
Tetouan's Unique Medina-- A MUST SEE
Tetouan's medina, or old city, suffers from neglect without a doubt, but it remains a must see site because of its totally unique architecture and history.
Tetouan was founded by refugees fleeing the Spanish Inquisition, both Muslims and Jews, at the end of the 15th century. People say they built the walls of the city first because they were so traumatized by their escape from the Iberian peninsula. Many of the refugees were highly skilled craftsmen and builders. These refugees and the local Amazigh (the indigenous inhabitants of region) built a city that has three distinct styles that reflect the three cultures-- though these styles also reveal the similarities they shared. There are few medinas-- dare I say none that are as large-- that offer such a interesting perspective on the diversity of Moroccan culture and history. Because of its uniqueness, it has been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage site. unfortunately, that designation has not meant a large restoration effort, but there have been some improvements recently.
Because of the medina's size and the faux guides that plague the city, I would suggest hiring a professional, official tour guide to see the old city. If you don't not only might you get lost, but you definitely won't manage to find everything you should see.
Inside the medina you'll find:
markets selling fresh produce, fish from the Med (just 10km away), cheese and yogurt from the countryside, fresh bread, dried fruit and nuts
the goldsmiths street (right next to the palace)
the tanneries (much smaller than fez, but very cool)
After going on a tour you should return and try exploring a bit on your own. It's both thrilling and fun! It's also interesting to visit at quieter times of the day (7 or so in the morning, lunch time, and later in the evening but not too late!) because it does change rather dramatically and it's easier to explore when it's quieter (though not as interesting in my opinion).
- Study Abroad
- Historical Travel
The outdoor market in Medina.
The second stop on our tour was at the market in Medina - the outdoor market. It was fantastic. We entered Medina at Queen's gate and were guided through the market, the tour-guide at front and a Moroccoan man behind the group to make sure nobody got left behind. We went through very narrow streets filled with shops selling all kinds of fruit, dried fruit, meat, live chicks, clothes, shoes etc. As I love outdoor markets I found this one to be awesome. It was a pity though that we were not allowed to stop and buy anything and I felt so touristy (in the negative sense of the word) being guided through there, but what the hey, I can go there by myself next time. The market is a maze, one narrow street after another. I add another tip/photos of the jeweller shops and another tip on the cats in the market.
I add a photo of the red painted honey-melons, it was explained to us that by painting them red it was a guaranty that they were fresh and they could be returned if they turned out not to be fresh.
People live above their stores at the market. A lot of people in the group said they would love to visit this market again and wanted to stay there for a longer time.
Visit a Moroccoan restaurant.
Our second stop in kasbah was at a Moroccoan restaurant, Dar Saada, which was an old summer palace turned into a restaurant which is situated in the very center of Medina. It was lovely, the food was delicious, Harira (tomatoes, spices and meat-based soup) cous-cous with vegetables and chicken, meat on spear, buns and delicious peppermint-tea. The ambiance was so lovely and the waiters were very nice. There was entertainment, 2 traditional folklore male-dancers making a lot of noise with their drums (sorry) and a belly dancer which was not the best I've seen (sorry), but it was different - very different from the Western-culture so it was enjoyable. You could get beautiful golden henna tattoo at the restaurant and have your photo taken with the musicians.
I do recommend this restaurant although I do believe it is a tourist restaurant only.
A visit to the rug salesmen.
The third stop at the market was a visit to the rug salesmen. What a ride we were in for. We were seated in a semicircle and they laid out for us these beautiful rugs, big and small. Seeing that our Icelandic króna had fallen ca 100% the prices sounded sky-high so nobody was that interested in buying anything. Afther the exhibition people were taken aside and the haggle started. I was just wandering there as I was alone and they paid no attention to me, but took couples aside. But thus I could hear the haggling going on and what starting prices!! I cannot stand this haggling so I warned a young couple who were being taken for a ride and the salesman immediately lowered his price a lot. Not many rugs were sold this time.
There were also kaftans and all kinds of stuff for sale in another room and there the haggling went on, a friend of mine wanted to buy a kaftan and they wanted a ridiculous price. She ended up paying 40 euros for the kaftan and the salesman was mad. I found the same kaftan in Torremolinos the day after for 20 euros on sale and didn't even need to haggle.
I so do not recommend going there, the salesmen are ever so pushy and impolite.
The cats in kasbah.
I was amazed at seeing all the cats at the market - and these were not skinny cats like in Spain, but well-fed cats as you can see from my photos. The story goes that Muhammed loved cats and when his favourite cat fell asleep on his arm and Muhammed had to go he cut off his sleeve rather than wake up his cat.
For cat-lovers it is a treat walking through kasbah :D
Tetouan used to have more than 40 towers in its hay days. these days there are close to 20 towers some of them are connected to the defensive walls. some of them stand independantly and were used as an advnace warning system and as watch post like the Martil tower.
You can visit Al isqalah tower next to the Bab Al oqlah and you can see it from the inside. this tower was built in 1820 during the rule of Sultan Abdelrahaman.
The old madina is on the UNISCO world heritage sites since 1997. Tetouan loaction was a site for human seattlement since the Phenicians. The modern history of Tetouan started in the late 12 th centruy when a kasbah was built @ this stie By Sultan Youssef Ben Ya'qoob Almareenin The city really floarished due to the immegrants from Andalucia who escaped the religious prosecuation of the Spanish kingdom.
The city is still keeping its old charm throgh its traditional architecture and has that unique charcter that you can still see when you visit the old houses, mosques, schools, Sqayat (public fountains), kasbah, walls, gates and markets. Teouan has unique narrow alleys and beutiful doors.
The Museum, Pre-Historic Morocco
Human and humanoid remains dating back to more than million years are found in morocco. These sites are caves in Martil and Sidi Abdurrahman; other relevant sites are located in Aselah, Mzoura, Tangier and Lexos.
The site at mzoura is particularly interesting. It has 167 standing stones arranged in a big circle with a diameter of 60 meters. The site was excavated in 1939 and an ancient tomb was found in the center of the circle. The stones are .5 m to 6 m in heights. The site is probably from 3000 B.C. The original site is still standing 25 km south of Asilah and can be visited using a local guide.
The museum contain artifact from Stone Age and has a display and aerial picture of Mzoura and a 3 dimension model of the site.
Pictures in this tip include the the Aerial view of Mzoura and a picture of the 3 dimensions model, both are located @ the museums.
The Museum, Mosaics
These Mosaics are found in few homes in Lexos built in first and second centuries AD . One of the houses known as the 3 girls because of the beautiful mosaic depicting the 3 girls. The girls are surrounded by 4 heads representing the 4 seasons.
one of the other houses is Mars and Raya which has the 2nd and 3 rd mosaic. The 2nd mosaic shows Adonis and Venous with 4 cupids and few birds. The 3rd mosaic is showing Mars the war god approaching a half naked woman.
The 4th mosaic represent a Baby god Bacchus raiding on a horse. Non of these mosaics need any kind of explanation. They are all beautiful.
Mellah, Market and more Alleys
You can visit the Jewish section (mallah) with its synegouge. This Jewish quarter was established in the early 19th century during the rain of Mohammed ben Abdullah (Mohammed the 3rd). The old Mellah used to near the grand mosque. They requested to move because that place was no longer big enough to accomdate them, The sultan granted them the land to estabish a new Mellah. There isn't anything that deferentiate the Mellah from the other parts of town. All jewish families have left except for one family. you can visit one of the remaining synegouges. See my Synegouge tip for more details.
The fish, meet and vegitable is located near Bab Altoot. This is the stinky part,. The rest of the medina is clean and pleaseant to walk.
Spanish Clonial Buildings
While walking in the new part of town, I could not help but notice some fascinating building from the Spanish period. These building are:
Almanderi Heritage center This is located near hotel Oumaimah between Avenue 10 may and avenue Aljazaer. The building has an interesting mixture between Spanish and Moroccan building arts. It is home to many organizations, the msot important is the TITAWEN-ASMIR ASSOCIATION which has very friendly knowledgeble people who'll go out of thier way an answer questions about the city. If you needed help in that regard, I can't think of any where else to turn to. It publishes boo about Morocco and esp the north and reef region
address is 8, rue Mhammad Ben Aboud apt 21,tetouan- Morocco
Phone : (212)(9)96.72.72 - Fax : (212)(9) 96.72.72
The Cathedral, which is still active and hold religious ceremonies. It is located at Place Moulay El Mehdi just opposite to the Spanish consulate.
The old Spanish military head quarters, at least that what I was told,. I am not sure if this was true or not. The building is eye catching and very colorful. It is now privately owned apartment complex. The building is located Blvd Mouquauama, next to Marché central.
Marche central is another fine example of 1920 building in Tetouan. It is located between the bus station and that Spanish Military Building
Moroccan Artesian School
This is a very interesting place to visit. The school was built in 1928 and teaches Moroccan art. Students start at the age of 9 and study for 7 years. There are 6 areas of study and specialization; Gypsum, Metal work, ceramics, wood work, Textile carpets and clothes, and Painting using natural colors.
Once you enter the school you'll see an exhibit. You’ll see items and Things students’ have designed and produced. The items are top notch and very impressive indeed. Once you leave the the exhibit you'll walk into a garden and if you visit during August you'll be able to see the workshops where students learn their craft. I went there and learned how they get the fabulous natural colors and about the material used to get specific colors.
This school is placed directly outside Bab Alokla. Entrance fee was 10 dirham and people are fantastic. They did the best they can to explain everything and made the trip extra special
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