Capital of Northern Morocco with 320,000 inhabitants (2003 estimate), Tetouan or Tetuan (arabic : Ttetwän ou tetawin) is situated slightly inland the Mediterranean Sea, Only 40 km east of Tangier, in the north of Morocco. A belt of orchards, planted with orange, almond, pomegranate and cypress trees, encompasses dazzlingly white houses that cling to the Dersa hillside.

Nearby the somber, dim Rif Mountains emphasize the pleasant colors of the urban site that dominates the fertile Martil Valley.

Founded around 1305 by the Merinid Abou Tabit, the town served as a base for operations against Sebta and Later became a pirates lair. The Spanish made life difficult in Tetouan and finally destroyed it.

However, the town was repopulated in the 16th century by the Moslems and the Jews who had been chased away from Andalusia.

The town prospered under the reign of Moulay Ismail.

Like Rabat, Fes and Sale, Tetouan is a "hedrya" town; that is, a center of culture and refinement.

The streets wind among bluish white walls to open on to small squares, centers of intense activity. Early in the morning country women arrive to sell their wares. Enveloped in candy-striped clothes, wearing gaiters laced to the knee, and wide-brimmed straw hats decorated with pompoms, they offer butter, honey, vegetables and herbs to a lively, hurrying clientele.

Tétouan, city, northern Morocco, on the Mediterranean Sea, near Tangier. In an agricultural district and linked to other points in Morocco by railway, Tétouan is a market center for grain, citrus fruit, livestock, handicrafts, and truck produce. Chief manufactures are tobacco products, soap, matches, flour products, textiles, and building materials. Fish canning, printing, and cabinetmaking are the primary industries. The city was founded in the 14th century, destroyed about 1400 by Castilians, and rebuilt in the 15th century by Muslim refugees from Spain. It was the capital of Spanish Morocco from 1913 to 1956. Population (1994) 367,349.

 The medina is the main attraction in Tetouan, as it is quite large, in full use, and often in very good condition. There is really no need to watch out for typical sights — instead you should just walk slowly through its streets, and behold life around you, the change in architecture and the sharp colours of the houses.
Just some few years ago, walks in the medina could be a problematic affair, as Tetouan's unofficial guides had developed a culture of pestering tourist who just came to Morocco for the first time (coming from Spain with ferry). This is gone now, but still you might like to hire an official guide, as there are plenty of history collected between houses and behind walls.


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