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Tangier’s old Medina couldn’t be more different than Casablanca’s Medina. In fact, Casablanca in general seems grimy, if I’m honest. And Tangier seems spit-shined and ready for church.

I didn’t know what to expect. The Tangier Medina is older, dating back to the 14th century. So I wasn’t prepared for splashes of verdant green punctuating the pristine white walls.

The color green is used because it symbolizes peace in Islam. It certainly speaks peace in this setting.

There are breathtaking interludes of painted cedar wood, which always seems to find its place decorating ceilings.

Occasionally, the whitewashed gypsum fractures, revealing textures that are centuries old.

There are glimpses of Fatima’s hand, or the hamsa hand, an ancient Middle Eastern talisman. In all religions it is a protective symbol, believed to protect from harm. It brings goodness, abundance, fertility, luck, and good health.

There are merchants, but the furious pace of Casablanca is absent. These tradesmen approach their work with steady content.

The ancient Medina wall , built by the Portuguese, overlooks the Mediterranean before it converges with the Atlantic. On clear days you can Spain.

Little wonder Tangiers is called the white city. It’s loveliness will linger with me.

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