1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Tetuan

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TETUAN (Tettāwan), the only open port of Morocco on the Mediterranean, a few miles S. of the Strait of Gibraltar, and about 40 m. E.S.E. of Tangier. Population about 25,000, of whom a fifth are Jews. It is picturesquely situated on the northern slope of a fertile valley down which flows the W. Martil, with the harbour of Tetuan, Martil, at its mouth. Behind rise rugged masses of rock, the southern wall of the Anjera country, practically closed to Europeans, and across the valley are the hills which form the northern limit of the still more impenetrable Rif. In point of cleanliness Tetuan compares favourably with most Moorish towns. The streets are fairly wide and straight, and several of the houses belonging to aristocratic Moors, descendants of those expelled from Spain, have fine courts surrounded by arcades, some with marble fountains and planted with orange trees. Within the houses the ceilings are often exquisitely carved and painted in Mauresque designs, such as are found in the Alhambra, and the tile-work for which Tetuan is known may be seen on floors, pillars and dados. The principal industries are tilework, inlaying with silver wire, and the manufacture of thick-soled yellow slippers, much-esteemed flintlocks, and artistic “towels” used as cape and skirt by Moorish country girls. The Jews live in a melloh, separated from the rest of the town by gates which are closed at night. The harbour of Tetuan is obstructed by a bar, over which only small vessels can pass, and the road stead, sheltered to the N., N.W. and S., is exposed to the E., and is at times unsafe in consequence of the strong Levanter.

The present town of Tetuan dates from 1492, when the Andalusian Moors first reared the walls and then filled the enclosure with houses. It had a reputation for piracy at various times in its history. It was taken on the 4th of February 1860 by the Spaniards under O'Donnell, and almost transformed by them into a European city before its evacuation on the 2nd of May 1862, but so hateful were the changes to the Moors that they completely destroyed all vestiges of alteration and reduced the city to its former state.  (K. A. M.*)