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Bab El Oqla Museum

To the east of the Old Medina neighborhood, the Bab El Oqla Museum draws its name from one of Tetouan’s seven historical gates. It serves as a hub for gatherings and cultural exchanges, offering a gateway to explore the rich history and culture of Tetouan. This city, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, stands at the crossroads of diverse cultural influences.

Established in 1928, the museum originally bore the name “Muslim Home” or “Museum of Indigenous Arts,” housed in the Bennouna residence within the Medina. Later, it found its home within one of Tetouan’s fortification bastions at Bab el Oqla, officially opening its doors on July 29, 1948. The bastion itself came to life by Sultan Moulay Abderrahmane around 1830-31.

The museum’s architecture echoes traditional Tetouan houses, featuring characteristic elements such as zellige tiling, intricately painted or carved wooden roofs and friezes, arcades, wrought ironworks, and painted wooden doors.

Divided into three sections, the Bab El Oqla Museum presented its inaugural exhibition, “Tetouan: Man and His Environment,” offering a captivating exploration of the city’s historical and cultural nuances from its 15th-century reconstruction to the Spanish colonial era and its modern period. Highlights include its periods of prosperity and decline, showcasing the city’s resilience over the centuries.

The second section, the Medina’s urban layout and architectural features highlights including the ancient water distribution system, locally known as “Squndo,” while the third section celebrates Tetouan’s artisanal heritage, a blend of indigenous influences from Andalusia, the Ottoman Empire, and Sephardic traditions.

The museum welcomes visitors daily from 10 am to 6 pm, except on Tuesdays. Admission is 20 dirhams per person.

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