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Published on Apr 29, 2009
Taza is a city in northern Morocco, about 100 km east of Fez. It has a population of 139,686 (2004 census) and is the capital of Taza Province. Visit Morocco
Taza city, north-central Morocco. Located south of the Rif Mountains, the city is composed of two formerly separate towns built on separate terraces overlooking a mountain valley. The old town (medina) is at an elevation of 1,919 feet (585 m) above sea level and is surrounded by fortifications; the newer town, established by the French in 1920, is located in a fertile plain at an elevation of 1,460 feet (445 m). Fossil remains indicate that caves in the area were inhabited as early as the Paleolithic Period.
The city is located in a mountain pass known as the "Taza Gap", through which successive waves of invaders moved westward onto the Atlantic coastal plains of northwestern Africa. Taza was founded by Miknasa Berbers (approximately at the time of the late 7th century Arab Muslim conquest), who gave allegiance to the Idrisids in 790 and later joined with the Fatimids of Kairouan. The Almoravids took over Taza in 1074 and were replaced by the Almohads in 1132. In 1248 the city was captured by the Marinids. Although Taza barred the route of Turks from Algiers seeking conquest in what is now Morocco, it fell to the French in 1914. The medina houses barbican monuments, mosques, and a 14th-century madrasah (school). Population in 1982 stood at 77,216. Population now estimated about 160,000.
The old town's main thoroughfare is enlivened by the Grain Market and the Souks where wickerwork, tapestries, jewellery, and a great variety of Berber handiwork from the mountains are offered for sale. The road terminates at a square doubling as a parade ground which sports the Al-Andalous Mosque. The Mosque's minaret, constructed in the 14th century, is wider at the top than at its base. Bab el-Qebbour Street crosses the Kissaria (covered marketplace), then leads on to the Market Mosque where it meets up with Bab Jamaa gate, the main point of entry of Taza. Somewhat further south, across from Bab el-Rih, the Wind Gate, a bastion dating from the 16th century closes the ring around the kasbah. Taza's city walls, raised in the 12th century and frequently enlarged on later occasions were equipped with a Borj or fortified tower 26 metres (85 ft) wide at the base by the Saadi Ahmed el-Mansour in the 16th century. The gate with iron grate and the casemates with terraced roofs are clearly influenced by European military architecture of the time. http://www.justmorocco.com/ or visit us also at http://www.justmorocco.com/cat_furnit...