"Taza - Living between the Rif and the Middle Atlas" Taza by Bernhadette
Taza Travel Guide: 56 reviews and 87 photos
If you visit Taza you can get a good idea of what life in a Moroccan town apart from the large tourist centers is like.
Taza today is the provincial capital of the region, but it has always been of high importance because of its strategicly favourable location as a passage between the Rif and the Middle Atlas. Just climb on the roof of any house in Taza and you are rewarded with a breathtaking view: the Rif on one side and the Middle Atlas on the other!
Taza is devided into two parts: the Medina (Taza-Haut), built on a plateau, and the Ville Nouvelle (Taza-Bas) in the valley, set up by the French after the occupation in 1914.
At the Medina the more "touristic" sights of Taza are located: the Great Mosque ("Jemaa al-Khabir"), the Medersa Bou Abul Hassan, the Andalusian Mosque and the souks with the "Jemaa as-Souk", the Market Mosque.
But if you want to get to know everyday-life in modern Morocco, you should spend some time at the Ville Nouvelle.
The heart of Taza-Bas is the Place de l'Indépendance. From there you can easily access the two main shopping streets, the Avenue Mohammed V and the Rue Allal Ben Abdullah. Here you find all sorts of shops and cafés. Most of the cafés are only visited by men, but there are some where you can feel comfortable as a woman. In the morning and at noon you will meet the Tazi women, who do their shopping and errands. In the evening the streets of the city are left to the men.
The young Tazi you will meet at the cinema or in one of the local internet-cafés, where they enjoy an evening out to chat and meet their friends. Like all over the world also in Taza surfing the web and chatting has become a common pastime. So more and more internet-cafés are opening, mainly in the Ville Nouvelle.
It is always pointed out that Taza's history and daily life was stamped by its geographical situation as the prominent passageway from east to west. Legend has it that the Meknassi tribe founded Taza at the end of the 7th century. But 25000-year-old prehistoric findings near the Medina (Kifan al-Khumari) show that people have settled here as early as the Palaeolithic.
In its history the town has been made capital several times, so under the Almohades, when Sultan Abd-al-Moumen conquered Taza in 1141 and had the Great Mosque built.
Also the first Alaouite ruler, Moulay ar-Rachid, the ancestor of the present king, started his conquest of Morocco from here.
After his death in 1672 Taza lost its status as a capital once and for all, with the exception of the interim "reign" of the rebell Moulay Muhammed, called Bou Hemara ("man on the donkey"). He had gained the support of local Berber tribes and had himself proclaimed sultan in 1902 in Taza, but was imprisoned by Sultan Moulay Hafid and executed a few years later. The house of Bou Hemara still can be seen at the Medina.
Apart from adding to the mosques and medersas, each of the dynasties expanded and enforced the fortifications. So when Taza was occupied by French troops in 1914, it was almost naturally made a garrison town. In the first period of the French Protectorate Taza served as a base and starting point for raids agains the Berbers in the Rif and the Middle Atlas, who tried to found independent states.
In 1956 Taza regained some local administrative importance, when it was made the provincial capital of the region.
(The following pages seem to have been taken from the German edition of the Baedeker "Marokko":)
Taza videos and slide show galleries (in Arabic ):
While strolling around the western part of the Medina walls you will come across the Tour as-Sarragine, the so-called... more travel advice
A very beautiful promenade is the way around the Medina walls. Along the route around the Medina there are some points... more travel advice
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