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Medina of Tétouan

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The medina of Tétouan was rebuilt by the end of the 15th century by refugees from the Reconquista (reconquest of Spain, completed by the fall of Granada in 1492), when the Andalusian Moors first reared the walls and then filled the enclosure with houses.

The city is situated in the area of Morocco which was formerly ruled by Spain. It had a reputation for piracy at various times in its history. Tétouan has also been home of an important Sephardi Jewish community, which immigrated from Spain after the Reconquista and the Spanish Inquisition. The Jews lived in a mellah, separated from the rest of the town by gates which were closed at night.

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 Tétouan is known may be seen on floors, pillars and dados.

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Community Reviews


Stanislaw Warwas - January 2017

Visited January 2017

It would be a shame not to visit Tetouan during our travel in Andalusia, Spain. On last day of 2016 we took a ferry from Algeciras to Tangier Med, it is only 90 minutes. There’s no public transport from the ferry port but to Tetouan, so we decide to hire a taxi. We passed through the beautiful Rif mountains and after one hour drive we reach Place Moulay El Mehdi, the best starting point.

Our hotel was located in the middle of medina. It’s called Riad Dalia, and this used to be Dfouf family house with an inner courtyard of four columns and arches corresponding to the architecture of 18th century. The views from the rooftop are amazing! And the restaurant – highly recommended; you can try different dishes and taste the real Moroccan cuisine.

If we had no guide, we would never have found this hotel because the streets and alleys pattern of the old city is like a labyrinth! Well, it is not as big as other medinas in Morocco, but it is very easy to lose yourself. And do it! Everywhere little shops, roofed alleys, lots of friendly people (mostly men, and they are not trying to cheat on you, ‘cos there a not many tourists there) wearing long cloths…

Just walk around, go to the Casba, see the cemetery and some hammams and mosques from outside (non-Muslim are not allowed to get in). If you reach the old Jewish neighbourhood of Mellah al-Jadid, you’ll see the strong Andalusian influence.


Stacey Grable - September 2015

I visited Tetouan in 1999 on a guided tour. It was only a short guided day trip into the Medina after 8 days in Spain through a University art tour. It will forever be engrained in my mind. Although I would forgo a tour guide should I visit again, it was spectacular. The sights and sounds as we walked through the Medina...well incredible. Their was a little girl that followed us around for what seemed like miles of weaving amidst the walls. Our tour guide clearly had a mission to get us to a rug shop. If I did it over again I'd do it alone, so I could wander. Doing it over again what would I do different? I'd stop and at least peep into the magnificence of the temples, synagogues, and mosques and stop to talk to the people. Wow, what a magnificent city, full of thousands of years of cultural influences. It really was beautiful and I will never forget the sights and sounds that can only be seen through a personal visit.


John Booth - January 2014

Travelling from Tangier to Tetouan by bus involved crossing the scenic Rif Mountains.

The medina here is quite compact but crammed with the tiled fascades of numerous mosques, medressahs, mausolea and fountains.


Mike - May 2009

When I went to Tetouan, it was very windy. It had been awhile since I had last been in a medina and it felt nice to be back.

We ran into someone who ended up being a nice guide and showed us all around the medina and gave us a good tour of the medina. He educated us well about Morocco too, and brought us to a nice-looking restaurant to eat traditional Moroccan food.

I previously heard Tetouan has a small medina, but that was not the impression I got. Tetouan is also not as dirty as I heard it was. There is nothing wrong with the site at all, and I had a great experience there.


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Site Info

Full name: Medina of Tétouan (formerly known as Titawin)

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  • Medina of Tétouan

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Architecture

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Trivia

  • Built or owned by Spanish the arrivai of the Moriscos (Spanish Muslims forcibly converted to Christianity and later expelled from Spain) from 1609 onwards led to a further expansion of the medina towards the north-west (Rabat al-Aala) (AB ev)
  • Modelled after Granada (the aristocratic residences)