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Tetouan | Brief History
Tetouan Today | Museums
Population: 200,000 (main city); 856,000 (est. including suburbs)
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A lovely white Andalusian city set upon the Mediterranean Sea near Tangier, Tetouan traces its origins back to 3rd century B.C. Then it was a settlement called Tamouda which existed until 42A.D. when it was destroyed by Roman armies.
When the Merinid sultan Abu Thabit constructed a kasbah at Tetouan in 1307, the Muslim city began to find its form. However, as a refuge for Barbary pirates, Tetouan drew the wrath of the Castilian king Henry III whose forces overran the city and sacked it in 1399.
For a century thereafter Tetouan went into a period of decline until coming under the Andalucian influence of refugees from Granada. From 1484 the city took on some of the rich architectural and cultural character of Muslim Spain, traces of which can still be seen today.
In 1913 Tetouan became the capital of Spain's protectorate until independence in 1956.
Located in an agricultural area, modern Tetouan is a market centre for the surrounding area where grain, livestock, citrus fruit and handicrafts are traded.
In addition, a variety of goods are manufactured in and around the city, including tobacco, soap, matches, building materials and textiles. The town's principal industries are printing, cabinet-making and fish-canning.
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"THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM"
Built in 1943, this museum presents Moroccan pre-historic and pre-Islamic sites from the northern region of Morocco. You cannot fail to be entranced by the welcome from the Three Graces as you enter, depicted in a superb roman mosaic celebrating mythological extravagance.
Other rooms display objects and instruments which take us back to a way of life far removed from our own. prehistoric tools, coins, bronzes and pottery bear witness to customs both ritualistic and familiar. For example, the Sumerian ex-voto statuette found close to Asilah.
Most of the figurine collection dates from the first century a.d. At the end of the visit, let your imagination roam among the 60,000-odd volumes contained in the vast library dedicated to the preservation of North African literature.
The Archaeological Museum
2, Rue Ben Hussaien
Tel. 00-212 (9) 93 20 97
"THE ETHNOGRAPHIC MUSEUM"
Transformed into a museum in 1948, the former fortress of the sultan Moulay Abderrahman now houses and preserves the best of popular tradition, with the marriage ceremony occupying as important place in the museum as it does in Moroccan people's lives.
Incredible attention has been lavished upon the most common objects.
even the most insignificant piece of embroidery reveals a diversity of motifs and colours firmly establishing art at the very centre of everyday life. But then, the Ethnographic Museum is, in fact, a museum dedicated to the art of living.
The Ethnographic Museum
Avenue Skala, Bab El Oukla
Tel. 00-212 (9) 97 05 05
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