Tlemcen, meaning the source in Berber, is situated at 800 m altitude. Because of its proximity to the sea, the city enjoys a tempered Mediterranean climate and a diversified natural wealth.
Ancient military outpost of the Romans during the 2nd century CE, it became later on not only a trading city but also housed many sultans and intellectuals. This is why it had soon became the principal intellectual center of the central Maghreb.
With its rich history, Tlemcen nowadays is known to have a wide culture of unique music and art. It’s shown in its old, but not least beautiful, architectural buildings. The mix of Berber and Andalous past has offered to Tlemcen amazing remains that must be visited !
During the reign of The Almoravid dynasty, which was an imperial Berber Muslim dynasty, was built this amazing Mosque. Pure remaining example of the Almoravid Architecture, its features are until now intact.
It is considered as one of North Africa’s most important Islamic building. The atmosphere within The Great Mosque of Tlemcen is quite impressive. Its minaret is considered as the oldest in the northern Maghreb and the highest in Tlemcen. You have to see it with your eyes to understand the grandiosity that fills it.
With a history rich like the one of Tlemcen you have to expect to find a museum. It is filed with the era when it was called “Kingdom of Tlemcen” from the 11th until the late 14th century. You can discover carved epitaphs from royal tombs at that time or coins used during the reign of Almoravid, Merenid and Zianid.
Ancient settlement of the Marinids in 1299 , it was a fortified base for their siege of Tlemcen. It had quickly grew into a large city during eight years with tens of thousands of inhabitants. It had beautiful palaces and even a mosque.
Mansourah means the Victorious in arabic. Nowadays, the remains of the 12m high wall and the mosque are the major sites to visit. In fact, the mosque was rebuilt by Sultan Abou el-Hassan of Fès and is constituted of a prayer hall that measures 60m by 55m. Its impressive minaret of 40m has been proved to be a twin of the Tour Hassan in Rabat and the Giralda in Seville.
Also known as the Zianide Royal Palace, the Mechouar is a the centrepiece of Tlemcen. This palace was the official residence of the kings of The Kingdom of Tlemcen. Within the castle were founded four other palaces all protected by an enormous wall of five meters always protected by soldiers. The kings changed the suite depending on the season. One on marble was built for summer and another of stone for the winter. There were secret alley that the kings used to use in order to go from their palace to the mosque unseen. The decoration was made of islamic calligraphy and the castle contained hamam, gardens and even houses for the servants.
It’s indubitably the richest place that you can visit in Tlemcen, a must-see place!