Heading into our long weekend away in the north of Morocco, we decided to stay in Assilah for the three nights we'd be on vacation and use it as a base to visit Tangier and it's surrounding areas, it being smaller and quieter than the big city. I had heard Assilah was a beatiful town, but I wasn't quite prepared for how stunning its old medina would be. In most Moroccan cities the old medina, or old town, shows its age substantially by being dirty, cramped, and somewhat crumbly. Despite that they all have their charms hidden in labyrinthian passages. Assilah proved to be somewhat different from the others.
In this post I will take you on a tour that is neither geographically nor chronologically sound, but is arranged with the object of unveiling the beauty of the town's old medina.
Heading into the medina means passing through its old and thick city ramparts that defended the town in days of old.
The walls themselves held surprises for us. Some of a soft and gentle nature,
and others rather more foreboding.
The architecture and colors it hid were often stunning, and the medina was surprisingly clean, bright and alive.
We were so pleased to see how the town has made a concerted effort to bring nature and plant life into the medina, which is so often lacking in other Moroccan old towns.
There was a fair amount of animal life as well, and it being a fishing village, well-fed cats abounded.
While all of that would be enough to make one love Assilah, it held one more wonderful secret. Around each bend and down each small alley a bright and striking mural, waiting to shout out its message and be seen by the world.
Some had messages for the onlookers,
while others were just a celebration.
They provided some nice photo ops,
for us and for others!
Many murals weren't just for their own sake, but advertised the locations of, for example, an art gallery and a calligraphy studio.
Not all of Assilah's charm lay in its lovely medina however. But more on that in future posts—for now I'm simply already wondering when we might be able to return.