Oujda Tourism: Sights and Attractions
Despite its imposing size, there are very few sights for the traveler in Oujda. Despite this, the town remains lively and easy-going, modern and prosperous by Moroccan standards.
A place worth visiting in Oujda is the Medina, walled on three sides, which lies at the heart of town. You enter by Bab el Ouahab (The Gate of Heads), the principal gate, through the old city walls. This rather gruesome name is derived from the practice of displaying the heads of criminals at the gate – a practice which persisted until the French occupation.
The Medina is bustling with life with cafes and market stalls showcasing an impressive variety of food. It’s well worth a look at the olives as these are a Oujda specialty, particularly tasty after the September harvest.
Sidi Yahia Oasis
The oasis of Sidi Yahia, some 6 kilometers south of Oujda, is a place of some veneration for Moroccan Muslims, Jews and Christians as the final resting place of the marabout Sidi Yahia, else identified by local tradition as John the Baptist!
The place is rather unimpressive for most of the year – a scruffy satellite town for Oujda, full with litter and urban sprawl. However, the place comes to life in August and September when thousands of pilgrims flock here for the week-long festival (moussem). This festival is certainly worth a detour as it is one of the biggest of its kind in Morocco, complete with a fantasia. The rituals around the shrine are quite extraordinary, with shrubs and trees in the oasis festooned with rags, tied to receive blessings.
To get to Sidi Yahia, take a bus #1 from Beb el Ouahab (the entrance to the Medina) or hire a petit taxi for the small ride for around 18 dh.