Place Hassan II


The broad and empty Place Hassan II, which is mostly roped off for security reasons, links the medina to the Ensanche. It looks like it houses the Wizard of Oz, with guards standing in front of the long flat facade of the Royal Palace, and four somewhat bizarre columns towering all around.

These are not minarets, as one might suppose, but art-nouveau light towers designed by Enrique Nieto, a student of modernist Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí, who lived in Melilla. The large decorations on the opposite wall are abstract Hands of Fatima, a common symbol used to ward off the evil eye.