Tetouan is located in the Rif mountains of northern Morocco, just over 60 km east of Tangier and 225 km northwest of Rabat. The area has been inhabited at least since the Roman era, as evidenced by the ruins of the Roman city of Tamuda located nearby. The medina of Tetouan is approximately 10 km from the Mediterranean Coast. Fortification have existed in the area since the 8th century onwards. The town as it exists today rose to prominence with the arrival of Andalusian refugees expelled by the Spanish in the 11th century.
The Medina of Tétouan was built by refugees who had been expelled from Spain after the Reconquest. It remains a largely untouched manifestation of high Andalusian culture - one of the smallest of the Moroccan medinas, but also the most complete. The project for its rehabilitation is a collaboration between the government of Andalusia and the town of Tétouan which has encompassed the restoration of some 20 historic monuments, the rehabilitation of houses and streets and the organisation of conferences and other activities designed to raise awareness of the architectural, cultural and historical importance of the medina.