The region of Tangier-Tetouan-Alhoceima can look back upon a history which extends far into the murky depths of time. The earliest known towns in the area were founded over 3,000 years ago. Historically speaking, the culture and traditions of the region reflect the successive presence of different peoples over the centuries. This has been the case with the Phoenicians, Romans, Berbers, Arabs, Visigoths, Carthaginians, and, more recently, the Portuguese, French, Spanish, and English—all of these peoples have had a presence in northern Morocco and left their mark.
The vestiges of these peoples is noticeable throughout the area. There are archaeological sites like Lixus (Larache), the Punico-Roman necropolis of Tangier, Zilis (Asilah), the Mzora henge, and the Caves of Hercules (Tangier); and there are also more recent historical sites like the Zawiyas of Ouazzane, the blue town of Chefchaouen, the ruins of the fortress of Ksar Sghir, and the medina of Tetouan (a UNESCO World Heritage site); all these bear considerable witness to a rich and varied past.
The museums of the different cities of the region present local history, ethnology, and traditions in an original manner.
Another way of getting to know the culture of each area is through the numerous festivals organized in each zone. This can be done at the festivals for Andalusi music in Tangier and Tetouan, the various festivals of Gnawa folklore, or the harvest festival of Al Ansara in Mdiq. Some people assert that getting lost in the maze of medina alleyways is the best way to rediscover history. What is certain is that this last approach is the most direct and authentic way of encountering the culture of the region.