Ramparts & Medina

sights / Architecture

Ramparts & Medina information

Asilah , Morocco
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Assilah’s largely residential medina is surrounded by the sturdy stone fortifications built by the Portuguese in the 15th century and it is these walls, flanked by palms, that have become the town’s landmark.

The medina and ramparts have been restored in recent years and the tranquil narrow streets lined by whitewashed houses are well worth a wander. Although the restoration work has left the medina much sanitised, the ornate wrought-iron window guards, pale-green jalousies (wooden, trellis-like window shutters) and colourful murals (painted each year during the Assilah Festival) give it a very photogenic quality. Craftsmen and artists have opened workshops along the main streets and invite in passers-by to see them work.

Access to the ramparts is limited. The southwestern bastion is the best spot for views over the ocean and is a popular spot at sunset. It also offers a peek into the nearby Koubba of Sidi Mansur (which is otherwise closed to non-Muslims) and the Mujaheddin Graveyard .

The southern entrance to the medina, Bab Homar , is topped by the much-eroded Portuguese royal coat of arms. There are a few old cannons just inside the medina’s seaward wall, but they are cut off from the walkway below and can only be seen from a distance. The Bab al-Kasaba leads to the Great Mosque (closed to non-Muslims) and the Centre de Hassan II Rencontres Internationales. The medina is busiest on Thursdays, Assilah’s main market day.