Located in the north of Africa, on the shores of the Mediterranean, the Spanish city of Melilla has been a place of peaceful cohabitation for Christians, Muslims, Jews and Hindus since ancient times. Although it borders Morocco, over half its population today comes from the Iberian Peninsula, thus its native language is Castilian Spanish and its traditional religion is Catholicism. The remaining population is Muslim, stemming from the Rif region, with Riffian (a Berber language) as its mother tongue.
Take one of our cheap flights to Melilla and discover a beautiful city and prime example of cultural coexistence, with aspirations of becoming a UNESCO World Heritage site. Its rich architectural heritage is particularly visible inside the walled city, built between the 16th and 19th century. Punic-Roman archaeological sites, such as The Governor’s House, the 16th century Aljibes, the Museum of Archaeology and History and the Sephardic and Berber Museum are just some of the interesting attractions to be found within the walls of the city.
After Barcelona, Melilla is also the second Spanish city for Modernist art, and Africa’s first. Over 500 buildings of this exotic, early 20th century architectural style span across the central area and its neighbourhoods, which was awarded a place on the National Register of Historic Places and boasts numerous works by Enrique Nieto, one of Antoni Gaudi’s students. Worthy of mention are his floral buildings, such as Tortosa House, La Reconquista and Melul House. Melilla is home to works by other Modernist architects, such as Emilio Alzugaray Goicoechea and Tomás Moreno Lázaro, as well as spectacular Art Deco buildings from the 1930s.
This city is the perfect destination for those who seek adventure, as the Rif region is home to exciting places, like the Kelaya Peninsula, where you will find Mount Gurugú (a natural park, which is home to both a colony of Barbary apes and the Tazuda Roman ruins), as well as the paradisiacal bays of Tramontana, Puntanegri and Charranen. Due to the fact that Melilla is the closest European city to a desert, it is well worth taking a journey into the very essence of Africa. Take a trip to large oases such as the ones at Figuig and Tafilat, just six hours from the city.
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