Asilah or Azila means (the beautiful ) in Amazigh language is located about 46 km south of Tangier, and about 298 km from Casablanca. In a plain next to a hill that borders the sea. Next to the modern city, stands the ancient city, languishing behind its beautiful walls defying the ocean for five centuries.
Asilah is now known for its long, fine sand beaches, its meticulous and beautiful medina and the international festivals that take place in the summer, enlivening its streets, attracting numerous artists, journalists, thinkers and politicians from all over the world.
What to see in Asilah
- The medina of Asilah
The walls that surround the old city were built by Alfonso V of Portugal in the 15th century, three doors open to the medina, and these doors are called:
Bab Homar or Door Earth, with Portuguese signs, which today are almost erased by the passage of time
Bab Kasba in the north surrounded by gardens and in front of the Muslim cemetery.
Bab el Bahar Gate of the sea, next to the square Portuguese tower that dominates the whole city.
- Palace Raisuli
This restored palace is in the mid-northern part of the medina, alongside the sea walls. It was built in 1909 by Moulay Ahmed er-Raisuni (also known as Raisuli), a local rogue and pirate who rose to power and declared himself pasha of the region. He rose to notoriety and wealth partly through kidnappings and ransoms, including several Westerners who wrote about him afterwards. The palace has been restored and reveals some of the luxuries in which Raisuli lived. It includes a lavish reception room with zellij tilework, carved stucco, and painted wood-like in other Moroccan palaces. The reception room also gives access to a large loggia and terrace overlooking the sea. Raisuli infamously claimed that he executed convicted murderers by forcing them to jump from this terrace onto the sea rocks below
- Church of San Bartolome
Located in the new city outside the medina, this church was built by Spanish Franciscans in 1925. It is still used as a convent today and is one of the only churches in Morocco allowed to ring in public for Sunday mass. Its architecture is a mix of Spanish Colonial and Moorish styles.