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Melilla: A Taste of Spanish Africa

Updated on April 13, 2015

Located on the far north of the African continent, this Spanish city is an enclave that is separated from the Iberian Peninsula by the Gibraltar. It is the only part of the European Union that is located on the African ground, and even though Morocco wants it as a part of their country, Melilla was a part of Spain as long as it exists. This Spanish town is a place where European and African culture interfere, where Christian, Jewish and Muslim religions live together and where sea and desert contrast one another. All these things make this place so unique and interesting.

When you find yourself in Melilla, you will see beautiful beaches, stunning architecture with monuments and buildings that will take your breath away. It is a real exotic place; a piece of Spain on the ground of Africa. The new part of the city is a real treasury of Modernisme architecture style and Art Deco. But, if you want to get to know, for the start, the historical part of Melilla, the first place to visit when you reach the city should be, for sure, the Old Town or Ciudad Vieja. You can reach it by foot or you can take a train if you are not a fan of climbing. What you will encounter there is a walled piece of old town with renewed Spanish architecture that kept its old charm. It has a lot of interesting contents; church, a well, caves and it is a wonderful viewpoint surrounded by the sea. It is rather a peaceful place, perfect for exploring and long walks. Las Cuevas del Conventico is something that you should not miss at any costs while in Melilla; a beautiful landscape, guided and free tour where you will learn more about the Spanish history of the place and see by yourself all the fascinating scenery that it has to offer. Another place that is perfect for relaxing and enjoying, no matter what part of the day, is the Hernandez Park. It is a huge park near the center of Melilla with mosaics, palms, flowers and all this is followed by music throughout the day and beautiful lights that are lit up at night. In the center is also Plaza Espana, another piece of Spain surrounded by lots of monuments and interesting buildings. Some of them are preserved old buildings, but the center of Melilla is mostly surrounded by numerous modernist edifices that are so unusual for Africa. Or Zaruah Synagogue is also an interesting piece of architecture to be seen, stunning from inside and out. It is interesting that the buildings of a more Arabic style are decorated with various vivid colors, while Spanish architecture tends to stick to the warm earthly tones.

Melilla is also famous for its sandy beaches; the largest of them is 4 km log and has the blue flag. You can find classes for some of the popular water sports like surfing and diving or just lie down and enjoy the African sun. When it comes to activities, dance is also popular and flamenco and salsa classes are available throughout the year. When you finish with all your tours and activities, there are a lot of bars and restaurants in Melilla where you can take a break to gather all the impressions of experiencing Melilla.

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    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Melilla sounds like it would certainly be an interesting and beautiful place to visit. Interesting that it is on the African coast and yet is still a part of Spain. Thanks for telling us about it.

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