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Photographing the Medina of Tétouan, Morocco

By alison - March 3, 2015 (Updated: September 16, 2016)

Photographing the Tetouan Medina, Morocco

The UNESCO-listed Tétouan Medina, in Morocco, offers great photography opportunities. We share our favourite photos from the colourful old town.

We’ve been pretty open about how challenging our month in Morocco was, last winter. However, now that I’ve finally edited my photos, there’s no denying the photographic opportunities it presented. No place had my shutter clicking more than the Medina of Tétouan.

Tétouan’s Medina (or old town) is a UNESCO World Heritage site, recognised because it remains relatively untouched by outside influence. Tétouan was a melting pot of Spanish Andalusian and Moroccan culture, which is evident in the architecture throughout the Medina.

The narrow streets and tiny storefronts explode with colour. Virtually everything is for sale here, and much of it is still made by hand. Below I share my favourite photos of this fascinating area.

View over the Tétouan Medina

We stopped for lunch at a pretty Riad in the centre. The young owner gave us a tour of the property, including the rooftop terrace. It offered us a great overview of the Medina, huddled under the mountains.

A birds-eye view of Tetouan, Morocco

A birds-eye view of Tetouan, Morocco

The Tannery

Long before you see it, you can smell Tétouan’s tannery. As much as we were warned, we still weren’t prepared for the dizzying stench. As horrible as the conditions are, the tannery is a tourist hotspot and the handcrafted leather goods sold nearby are a popular souvenir.

The tannery of the Tetouan Medina

The tannery of the Tetouan Medina

The Tétouan Cemetery

The Cemetery of Tetouan, Morocco

The Cemetery of Tetouan, Morocco

Just outside the tannery is the main cemetery of Tétouan. With plenty of white plaster and brightly coloured tiles, it was much less sombre than the typical Western cemetery. There were a number of people using it as a quiet place to relax and enjoy some afternoon shade, not to mention plenty of cats.

The Tetouan Cemetery is as colourful and erratic as the Medina.

The Tetouan Cemetery is as colourful and erratic as the Medina.
Cats enjoy the shade in the Tetouan Cemetery

Cats enjoy the shade in the Tetouan Cemetery

Alleys and Arches

The Tétouan Medina is a warren of narrow alleys, many of them topped with arches. The arches make a great natural frame for photos. All I had to do was set up the shot and, before long, something (or someone) would appear to fill the frame.

Wait for a few minutes and something interesting will appear through the arches

Wait for a few minutes and something interesting will appear through the arches
My favourite photo of the day - The donkey is still a main form of transportation through the narrow streets of the Medina

My favourite photo of the day – The donkey is still a main form of transportation through the narrow streets of the Medina
Alleys and arches make up the Tetouan Medina

Alleys and arches make up the Tetouan Medina

Doors

One of my favourite doors of the Tetouan Medina

One of my favourite doors of the Tetouan Medina

I have a thing for photographing doors. There were a few great ones in the Tétouan Medina. Don’t they make you wonder what’s behind them?

Come and knock on my door...

Come and knock on my door…

Shops and Craftsmen

Handmade items for sale in the Tetouan Medina

Handmade items for sale in the Tetouan Medina

The Medina is, above all, a marketplace and you can find just about everything imaginable for sale here. The shops are tiny, some barely bigger than the shopkeeper, and are often highly specialised. Many double as workshops for the artisans who make handmade items, from leather goods to clothing.

Tiny shops with colourful wares in the Tetouan Medina

Tiny shops with colourful wares in the Tetouan Medina
It doesn't get fresher than the produce sold in the Medina

It doesn’t get fresher than the produce sold in the Medina

Cats

Cats enjoy the sunny roofs of the Tetouan Medina

Cats enjoy the sunny roofs of the Tetouan Medina

The Tétouan Medina offers shelter and food to hungry kitties, and the majority of the cats we saw seemed well cared for and well fed. Beyond the cats we saw lounging in the cemetery, there were plenty of cats within the medina walls.

A little boy calls to the kittens playing in the Medina

A little boy calls to the kittens playing in the Medina
Black and Blue - This kitten peeks from behind a colourful wall

Black and Blue – This kitten peeks from behind a colourful wall
We admired the patience of this kitty at the fish-seller's stall. Obviously he was well fed.

We admired the patience of this kitty at the fish seller’s stall. Obviously, he was well fed.

Our day in the Tétouan Medina was one of our favourites in Morocco. It was a fun photographic challenge and one of the more relaxed places we visited in this challenging country.

Photographing the Tetouan Medina, Morocco

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Alison

Alison

Big Cheese at CheeseWeb
Alison Cornford-Matheson is a Canadian freelance writer and travel photographer and the founder of Cheeseweb.eu. She is the author of The Foodie Guide to Brussels: Local Tips for Restaurants, Shops, Hotels, and Activities. Alison landed in Belgium in 2005 and, over the years, has become passionate about slow and sustainable travel, in Europe and beyond. She loves to discover hidden gems - be they museums, shops, restaurants, castles, gardens or landscapes, and share them through her words and photos. She is currently slow travelling through Europe in an RV, with her husband, Andrew, and two well-travelled cats. You can also follow her work on Google+
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2 comments

  1. Comment by Marie @ EuroTripTips

    Marie @ EuroTripTips March 3, 2015 at 22:16

    Those are stunning photos Alison – Morocco is very photogenic but you’ve outdone yourself this time. Good job!

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison

      Alison March 4, 2015 at 09:20

      Thanks so much Marie! The Medina is definitely an assault on the senses but wow, what colours!

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