Taza: Guide to Taza, Morocco

Taza played a great part in Moroccan history, thanks in large extent to its strategic position. The fortified citadel, built on a wide passage between the Rif Mountains and the Middle Atlas, was overlooking the only practicable pass from the east. As such, Taza was the traditional invasion route for invading armies – used by both Romans and Arabs. More importantly, the town was used as a base by the Almohads and the Merenids to conquer lowland Morocco and exert their control over Fez and the eastern provinces.

Yet, modern Taza seems far from this glorious past: a quiet provincial town with few monuments, it has a slightly abandoned air to it. However, Taza remains a pleasant market town to get acclimatised to Morocco if you arrive from the Spanish enclave of Melilla.

You can climb the crumbling Almohad fortifications in the old quarters and get breathtaking views over the Rif Mountains to the north and the Middle Atlas to the south. It is also a handy base for exploring the surrounding countryside – including the incredible open caves of Gouffre de Friouato in the eastern Middle Atlas and the Tazekka National Park with its circuit of caves, gorges and waterfalls.