From January 25 to February 11, 2011, the world watched as Egypt convulsed in a mass uprising. Across the country, protesters from a wide range of backgrounds vented their anger at the regime of President Hosni Mubarak, which they accused of corruption and police brutality. They also protested against rising prices, high rates of unemployment, and a host of other grievances. Everyone from students to labor unions to feminists to Islamists marched to topple the regime.
I’ve spent a fair amount of time here on Black Gate bemoaning the loss of some of the places I’ve visited. ISIS wrecked Palmyra, Mosul, and Hatra, three of the most stunning archaeological sites I have ever seen. Witnessing historical wonders disappear at the hands of savages has become such a regular thing for me that my first reaction to the terrible destruction of the Nepal earthquake was, “Well, at least people didn’t do it this time.”
I’ve blogged previously here on Black Gate about spending some time living in Tangier, Morocco. The city is a good jumping off point to see northern Morocco, a region many visitors skip as they head down to Fez, the Atlas Mountains, and the southern casbahs. If they do that, they miss one of North Africa’s best preserved medinas, the 15th century marketplace of Tetouan, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Tetouan is located in the saddle of two clusters of hills. Home to about half a million people, it doesn’t attract many foreign tourists and offers a look at an traditional medina and its market that have not felt the hand of international shoppers.