Medina of Tétouan (formerly known as Titawin)
Medina Of Tétouan (formerly Known As Titawin)
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Cultural Morocco Arab States Region Nord-ouest, Wilaya De Tétouan, Province Of Tétouan, Medina Of Tétouan

The Medina of Tétouan is an exceptionally well-preserved and complete example of this type of historic town, displaying all the features of high Andalusian culture.

The origins of Tétouan are not known, but the discovery of archaeological sites from prehistory and the classical period (Phoenician, Punico-Mauritanian and Roman) in the immediate surroundings of the town attest to the antiquity of the settlement of the Oued Martil valley in general and the site of Tétouan in particular.

In the Islamic period the Tétouan region became very important as the only connection between the Iberian Peninsula and the interior of Morocco. As a result, a number of towns grew up, such as Ceuta, Tangier and Qsar es-Saghir. Tétouan is mentioned by a number of Arab writers of the 10th-12th centuries, but it did not assume an important role until after the fall of Ceuta and other centres on the coast to Spanish and Portuguese troops towards the end of the Middle Ages.

A fortified garrison (kasbah ) had been installed at the site of Tétouan by Sultan Abu Yusuf Yaqub al-Marini in 1286 to block Ceuta. The town grew up in the early 14th century, but was sacked and completely destroyed by Spanish forces a century later. It was rebuilt at the end of the 15th century by a group of refugees from Andalusia during the reign of Sultan Mohammed ach-Cheikh al-Wattassi. The late 15th-century town was small, consisting of the present-day al-Balad quarter and a kasbah , built to the requirements of Abu al-Hassan Ali al-Mandri, military leader of Banu al-Ahmar of Granada.

The second stage in its development came in the mid-16th century when the medina was extended to the south-west, the Rabat al-Asfal quarter. Finally, the arrival 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. This continued until the mid-18th century, when the fortifications were rebuilt, to give the medina its existing configuration.

Tétouan developed on the stepped slopes of the Jabal Dersa. It consists of two quadrilaterals of more or less equal size alongside each other, giving an overall outline of a figure-of-eight.

The defensive walls are about 5 km long, with a number of buttresses and defensive works on the exterior of the wall, such as the bastions of Bab al-Oqla and Bab en-Nwader on the north and the star-shaped bastion at the north-east corner. Access is by means of seven historic gates. Inside, the medina is crossed by main streets linking the gates with one another. These provide means of access to open spaces, to public buildings such as the funduqs (inns), mosques and zawayas (religious enceintes), and to the artisan and commercial quarters. Lanes lead from the main streets to private residential quarters.

Surroundings