You’re a bird soaring over Tetouan, the Andalusian gem of Morocco, ready to nest in its vibrant culture. This guide’s your current beneath wings, leading you through the city’s rich history and picturesque geography. You’ll bask in the warm climate, feast on flavorful cuisine, and fill your days with unforgettable sights. Embrace the freedom to explore, taste, and capture the essence of Tetouan. Let’s dive into the allure of this hidden Moroccan paradise.
Upon your arrival in Tetouan, you’ll be greeted by a city where the charm of Andalusian heritage meets the vibrant spirit of Moroccan culture. Tetouan’s architecture is a living canvas, showcasing a harmonious blend of Moorish artistry and Spanish influence. As you wander through the old medina, a UNESCO World Heritage site, you’ll marvel at the whitewashed buildings with intricately carved wooden doors that whisper tales of bygone eras.
The city pulses with life, especially during cultural festivals. You’re not just a spectator here; you’re part of the celebration. Picture yourself amid the Festival of World Sacred Music, where melodies transcend borders, or the International Festival of Mediterranean Cinema, which celebrates the region’s filmic storytelling. These festivals embody the soul of Tetouan, offering you a taste of freedom through artistic expression and shared human experiences.
Your senses come alive at the local markets, where the air is perfumed with the scent of spices and the rainbow colors of fresh produce and artisan goods beckon. Here, bargaining is an art form, a dance between buyer and seller, set to the rhythm of traditional music that drifts from nearby cafes and shops. You’ll find that each market stall tells its own story, offering you a piece of Tetouan’s heart.
As evening falls, the sound of traditional Andalusian music fills the air. You’re not just listening; you’re feeling the music as it resonates with the city’s soul. It’s in these moments that you connect with the true essence of Tetouan—a place where freedom isn’t just a concept, it’s the very rhythm of life.
As you delve into Tetouan’s history, you’ll discover that its roots stretch back to the 3rd century BC, when the first settlement was established. Nestled in the rugged Rif mountains, this city has been a crossroads of civilizations, each leaving an indelible mark on its cultural fabric. You’ll feel the pulse of ancient Berber traditions, the intellectual currents of Moorish influence, the poignant narratives of Jewish history, and the complex layers of its colonial legacy.
- *Moorish Influence*: The expulsion of the Moors from Spain in the 15th century brought a surge of Andalusian Muslims, infusing Tetouan with architectural marvels, arts, and crafts that still resonate in its medina today.
- *Colonial Legacy*: Spanish rule in the 20th century reshaped Tetouan’s urban landscape, imprinting a European character on parts of the city while also sparking movements for independence and freedom.
- *Jewish History*: Once home to a thriving Jewish community, Tetouan’s mellah (Jewish quarter) stands as a testament to a time when Muslims, Jews, and Christians coexisted and enriched the city’s diverse mosaic.
Engage with the city’s storied past and you’ll find yourself walking through living history. The medina, a UNESCO World Heritage site, with its labyrinthine alleys, tells tales of commerce and culture. The colorful souks still buzz with activity, echoing the entrepreneurial spirit that has thrived here for centuries. And as you explore further, you’ll understand how Tetouan’s spirit of resistance and resilience has been shaped by the very forces that sought to control it. Here, in this city, history isn’t just a subject to be studied; it’s an experience waiting to be lived, a legacy that beckons you to embrace the freedom to explore.
You’ll find Tetouan cradled by the Rif mountains, its coastal proximity to the Mediterranean Sea enriching its climate and biodiversity. The Tetouan topography offers you a unique blend of natural landscapes that beckon you to explore its verdant valleys and rugged peaks. Its strategic location has historically made it a cultural crossroads, where the mountain backdrop meets the sea, creating a scenic harmony that’s as refreshing as it is invigorating.
The city’s geography isn’t just a feast for the eyes; it’s a gateway to freedom. The mountains provide a sanctuary for the soul, while the sea offers boundless horizons that urge you to dream and discover. You’re not just visiting a place; you’re immersing yourself in an environment that champions the spirit of adventure.
To give you a clearer picture, here’s a table that encapsulates the essence of Tetouan’s geography:
|Strength and Resilience
|Access to Sea
|Gateway to Discovery
Tetouan’s strategic location has influenced its culture, economy, and even its cuisine, with each aspect telling a story of convergence and harmony. Whether you’re seeking solace in the mountain backdrop or longing to lose yourself in the coastal vistas, Tetouan beckons with a promise of freedom and beauty that’s as timeless as the land itself. Embrace the call of the wild, the allure of the sea, and the warmth of the sun in a city that stands as a testament to the beauty of Andalusian Morocco.
As you plan your trip to Tetouan, understanding its climate is key to ensure you’re packing right and choosing the ideal time for your visit. Tetouan’s weather patterns mirror the Mediterranean’s mild, inviting temperament, with distinct seasonal changes that can deeply influence your travel experience. Let’s uncover when Tetouan is at its most welcoming, so your adventure aligns with blue skies and comfortable temperatures.
Delving into Tetouan’s climate, you’ll find a Mediterranean allure, with warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters perfect for year-round exploration. As you wander through the city’s vibrant streets, you can immerse yourself in cultural festivals that celebrate the local heritage with a fiery passion. The city’s climate nurtures a lively atmosphere for community events that often spill into the cool evenings. Souk shopping becomes an adventure in itself as you traverse the lively markets, the air filled with the scent of spices and the buzz of haggling, all while discovering local handicrafts that tell stories of Tetouan’s rich history and artistic spirit.
- Cultural festivals bring the city’s traditions to life, regardless of the season.
- Local handicrafts thrive, with artisans taking advantage of the favorable weather.
- Souk shopping is a year-long pleasure, inviting you to mingle and explore.
Best time to visit
For optimal weather and cultural experiences, visit Tetouan during the spring months of April to June, when the city’s Mediterranean climate ensures comfortable temperatures and fewer crowds. This period gifts you the freedom to wander through vibrant cultural festivals, each a tapestry of colour and local tradition. Imagine yourself haggling in bustling markets, the air rich with the scents of spices and artisanal crafts. Market shopping becomes not just a pastime, but a dive into the heart of Tetouan’s lively community.
The joy of souvenir selection here isn’t in the object itself, but in the stories and smiles shared with local vendors. Every interaction, every shared laugh with a resident, enriches your travel tapestry. So pack your bags for spring, when Tetouan truly comes alive.
Things to see / things to do in Tetouan
As you wander through Tetouan, the heart of the city’s history beats within the walls of its UNESCO-listed Medina, a maze of thriving markets and ancient traditions. Don’t miss the Ethnographic Museum where you’ll uncover the rich tapestry of local culture, or the grandeur of Hassan II Square, a perfect spot to people-watch and soak in the city’s rhythm. For an artistic twist, visit the Tetouan Arts and Crafts School, Dar Sanaa, to witness the meticulous beauty of Moroccan craftsmanship firsthand.
Every corner of Tetouan’s medina offers you a glimpse into the city’s rich Andalusian heritage, beckoning exploration. As you meander through the labyrinthine streets, you’ll encounter the heart and soul of the city—its artisans. Tetouan’s craftsmen are guardians of tradition, weaving Berber heritage into every tapestry and intricately painting pottery that tells a story of centuries.
- Discover the Jewish Quarter, a testament to the city’s multicultural past, where freedom and diversity have coexisted for generations.
- Marvel at the grandeur of the Royal Palace, even though entry is restricted, its imposing facade is a sight to behold.
- Observe Tetouan artisans at work, their hands deftly shaping the future while honoring ancestral skills.
Roam freely, let your curiosity guide you, and embrace the vibrant tapestry of life in Tetouan’s medina.
Ethnographic Museum of Tetouan
Photo By: @https://www.minube.co.uk/place/ethnographic-museum-of-tetouan–a72227
Continuing your cultural journey, you’ll find that the Ethnographic Museum of Tetouan is an unparalleled treasure trove of Moroccan history and art. Tucked away in this vibrant city, the museum stands as a bastion of cultural preservation, safeguarding ethnographic artifacts that narrate the rich tapestry of local life. Here, you’re invited to delve into rooms adorned with traditional attire, each piece a whisper of the past, echoing tales of social customs and heritage.
Witness the finesse of local craftsmanship exhibits, where the meticulous work of artisans from bygone eras is displayed in all its glory. Revel in the intricate weavings, pottery, and jewelry that encapsulate the spirit of Andalusian Morocco. This visit isn’t just a tour; it’s an embrace of the freedom that comes with understanding a culture’s soul.
Hassan II Square
Photo By: @https://marleneonthemove.com/tetouan-northern-morocco/
After exploring the Ethnographic Museum, make your way to the heart of the city where the bustling Hassan II Square awaits your discovery. This vibrant plaza is a tapestry of Hassan II architecture, with ornate buildings that whisper tales of a bygone era. It’s a place that pulses with life, inviting you to immerse yourself in the local culture.
- Witness the grandeur of architectural gems surrounding the square, showcasing the intricate Andalusian designs.
- Join in on cultural events and local gatherings, where the spirit of Tetouan comes alive in a colorful celebration.
- Experience the nightlife scene, as the square transforms and local cafes spill over with conversation and music.
Let Hassan II Square entice you with its unique charm, a testament to the city’s rich history and warm hospitality.
Tetouan Arts and Crafts School
Photo By: @souad.tetouan.arton Instagram
Within walking distance of Hassan II Square, you’ll find the Tetouan Arts and Crafts School, a hub of cultural heritage and artisanal mastery. Here, you can immerse yourself in the fascinating world of Moroccan crafts. Witness ceramic mastery as artisans shape and paint exquisite pottery before your eyes. Engage with the meticulous process of weaving workshops, where the vibrant threads intertwine to form traditional Moroccan textiles. Explore the delicate art of artisanal jewelry, where intricate designs come to life in silver and gold. Don’t miss the leather crafting corners, where the rich aroma of tanned leather meets the sound of hammers fashioning bespoke items. Each craft tells a story, offering you a tangible piece of Tetouan’s soul to cherish.
Photo By: @frsferry on Instagram
At Dar Sanaa, you’ll discover a treasure trove of Moroccan artistry, housed in a beautifully restored traditional building. The meticulous renovation efforts have preserved the quintessential Dar Sanaa architecture, offering you a glimpse into the past with a modern twist. Here, you’re free to explore and engage with the local culture on a deeper level.
- Explore Artisan Workshops: Engage with local craftsmen and witness the creation of traditional Moroccan crafts.
- Admire the Architecture: Take in the stunning blend of Andalusian and Moorish styles that make Dar Sanaa a visual feast.
- Participate in Cultural Events: Immerse yourself in the vibrant cultural scene through events that celebrate the rich heritage of Tetouan.
Let Dar Sanaa captivate your senses and inspire your spirit of adventure.
Photo By: @brightur_soul on Instagram
In the heart of Tetouan, you’ll find Plaza Primo, a bustling hub of activity and a must-see destination on your cultural journey through the city. This lively square pulses with the energy of plaza events that showcase the vibrant local culture. Imagine yourself weaving through night markets, the air tinged with the aroma of street food and the murmur of haggling vendors. It’s a place where community gatherings unfold, a melting pot for locals and travelers alike. You can’t help but be drawn into the local festivals, each dance step and musical note telling a story of tradition and freedom. Plaza Primo isn’t just a space; it’s the beating heart of Tetouan, inviting you to immerse yourself in its authentic charm.
Tetouan Grand Mosque
Photo By: @tomivalny on Instagram
Leaving the lively atmosphere of Plaza Primo behind, you’ll encounter the serene grandeur of the Tetouan Grand Mosque, a cornerstone of spiritual life and architectural marvel in this Andalusian city. As you approach, the mosque’s presence resonates with a sense of Tetouan spirituality that’s been nurtured over centuries.
- Architectural Splendor: Admire the intricate tilework and carved wood that embody the pinnacle of Islamic art, reflecting the city’s rich cultural tapestry.
- Prayer Rituals: Observe the harmonious prayer rituals, a testament to the enduring religious practices that weave through the heart of Tetouan.
- Cultural Immersion: Engage with the locals who gather here, gaining insights into their daily lives and the mosque’s role as a community hub.
Here, freedom isn’t just a concept—it’s the living history and culture that surround you.
Archaeological Museum of Tetouan
You’ll discover a treasure trove of history at the Archaeological Museum of Tetouan, where ancient artifacts tell the story of Morocco’s rich past. Each piece in this museum has been carefully curated, reflecting a thoughtful curatorial approach that encourages you to connect with the civilizations that once flourished here.
|Intricate designs from Volubilis
|Tools and pottery of early Berbers
|Examples of Andalusian craftsmanship
Restoration efforts have breathed new life into these timeless treasures, allowing you to appreciate the meticulous work behind preserving Tetouan’s heritage. Wander through the halls, and let the echoes of antiquity inspire a sense of freedom—an escape into a world that once was.
Photo By: @ziadlens on Instagram
As you explore Tetouan’s historical wonders, don’t miss the chance to visit the Spanish Mosque, a remnant of the city’s unique Spanish influence. This architectural gem, perched on a hill, offers not only a glimpse into the spiritual heritage of Tetouan but also breathtaking panoramic views of the city and the Rif mountains. It stands as a spiritual landmark, inviting you to step in and appreciate the fusion of Andalusian motifs and Moroccan artisanship.
- Soak in the history: Feel the Spanish influence as you wander through the mosque’s serene courtyards and archways.
- Capture the beauty: Bring your camera for stunning shots of the mosque against the backdrop of the city.
- Embrace tranquility: Enjoy a moment of quiet reflection, taking in the sweeping vistas from this peaceful vantage point.
Photo By: @hbmuad on Instagram
Having admired the Spanish Mosque’s serene beauty, head to Martil Beach to bask in the Mediterranean sun and enjoy a range of waterfront activities. Stroll along the Martil promenade, where freedom and leisure walk hand in hand. Here, you can indulge in seafood delicacies, fresh from the local fishermen’s morning catch, and savor the taste of the sea.
Dive into adventure with water sports that will get your heart racing—jet skiing, parasailing, and windsurfing await your command. And as the day unwinds, find a spot on the soft sand to witness the spectacular sunset views. The sky’s canvas, painted with hues of orange and pink, offers a moment of pure freedom—a fitting end to a day by the sea.
Iglesia de Bacturia Church
Photo By: @https://www.tripsavvy.com/things-to-do-tetouan-morocco-4169327
Every traveler to Tetouan should visit the Iglesia de Bacturia, a historical church that offers a glimpse into the city’s diverse cultural heritage. As you wander through its hallowed halls, you’ll be captivated by the stunning Iglesia architecture, which stands as a testament to Bacturia’s rich heritage. The church’s religious significance is palpable, embodying the spiritual legacy that has shaped the region throughout the ages.
- Iglesia Architecture: Marvel at the intricate designs that reflect a unique blend of Spanish and Moroccan influences.
- Bacturia Heritage: Delve into the storied past of Tetouan through the church’s history and preserved artifacts.
- Cultural Fusion: Experience the harmonious blend of faiths and traditions within this sacred space.
Absorb the essence of cultural fusion as you explore this emblem of Tetouan’s soul.
Your choice of accommodation in Tetouan ranges from luxurious riads to budget-friendly hostels, ensuring comfort for every traveler’s preference and budget. Riad stays offer a slice of opulence with their intricate mosaics and serene courtyards, perfect for those seeking an authentic Moroccan experience. Budget hostels, on the other hand, provide a social atmosphere without breaking the bank, ideal for the free-spirited adventurer. For a touch of indulgence, luxury resorts beckon with their plush amenities and impeccable service, while traditional guesthouses invite you to live like a local, surrounded by the warmth of Moroccan hospitality.
Delving into the heart of Tetouan, you’ll find accommodation that’s more than just a place to rest your head. It’s an integral part of your journey. The city’s medina, a UNESCO World Heritage site, offers up hidden gems where you can wake up to the sound of age-old traditions unfolding just beyond your window. Here, you’re not merely a tourist, you’re a participant in the city’s living history.
If you crave independence, consider renting a private apartment. You’ll find freedom in your own kitchen, where you can experiment with local spices and produce from the nearby souk. Whether it’s a rooftop terrace under the stars or a balcony with mountain views, these personal havens let you craft your own Moroccan narrative.
As you wander through Tetouan’s labyrinthine streets, the aroma of traditional spices and fresh herbs will guide you to local eateries where culinary delights await. Exploring the city’s cuisine is as much a feast for the palate as it is a cultural journey, with unique dishes that reflect Tetouan’s Andalusian and Mediterranean heritage. Don’t miss the chance to savor specialties found only here, from savory pastillas to sweet, almond-based treats that embody the city’s rich gastronomic tapestry.
Where to eat
Tetouan’s culinary landscape offers an inviting array of traditional eateries and street food vendors where you’ll savor the rich flavors of Andalusian-influenced Moroccan cuisine. As you explore the city, the restaurant ambiance sets the stage for an immersive dining experience. Here, street food is more than a quick bite; it’s a dive into the heart of Tetouan’s culture. Respect dining etiquette when you join locals at a communal table, and don’t miss out on culinary tours that offer a deep dive into the region’s gastronomy.
- Restaurant Ambiance: Seek out spots with a traditional Moroccan décor for a truly atmospheric meal.
- Street Food Gems: Try local favorites like B’ssara or grilled sardines from a bustling market stall.
- Culinary Tours: Join a guided food tour to uncover hidden dining treasures and learn about Tetouan’s food heritage.
Unique foods to Tetouan
Within the labyrinthine alleyways of the medina, you’ll discover Tetouan’s unique culinary offerings that blend Andalusian flavors with indigenous ingredients. Your taste buds are in for a treat with the city’s signature Tetouan tagines, where succulent meats stew with fragrant spices and local produce to create a dish that’s truly a feast for the senses. Drizzle a spoonful of Rif honey, a golden nectar harvested from the nearby mountains, over fresh pastries or yogurt for a touch of natural sweetness.
Don’t miss the heartwarming Harira soup, a richly seasoned broth teeming with lentils and chickpeas, often enjoyed to break the fast during Ramadan. And for a true taste of local comfort, dip warm bread into Bissara, a creamy fava bean dip that embodies the simple yet profound flavors of Tetouan’s cuisine.
Day Trips from Tetouan
While you’re soaking up the charm of Tetouan, don’t miss the chance to explore its spectacular surroundings. Just a stone’s throw away, you can experience the cosmopolitan allure of Tangier, the blue-washed serenity of Chefchaouen, the artistic heritage of Asilah, and the natural splendor of the Rif Mountains. These destinations offer you a kaleidoscope of culture, history, and landscapes, each an easy day trip that promises to enrich your Moroccan adventure.
Photo by: @https://www.lonelyplanet.com/morocco/the-mediterranean-coast-and-the-rif/tangier
Just an hour’s drive from Tetouan, you’ll find the cosmopolitan port city of Tangier, a perfect destination for a day trip. As you navigate through Tangier’s vibrant streets, you’ll sense the blend of cultures that have shaped this historic city.
Explore these must-visit spots to capture the essence of Tangier:
- Tangier’s Kasbah: Wander the winding alleys of the ancient fortress and dive into the rich tapestry of history and art.
- Cape Spartel: Stand where the Atlantic meets the Mediterranean and revel in the breathtaking views.
- Hercules Caves: Uncover the mythological secrets of this natural wonder and feel the power of ancient legends.
Stroll along Tangier’s Corniche in the evening and immerse yourself in the city’s dynamic atmosphere, where freedom is not just a concept, but a tangible experience.
Photo by: @https://www.traveltalktours.com/an-essential-guide-to-moroccos-blue-city-chefchaouen/
From Tetouan, you’re only a short journey away from the enchanting blue city of Chefchaouen, nestled in the heart of the Rif Mountains. This haven is a dream for those yearning for freedom and a splash of color in their lives. Immerse yourself in the blue alleys exploration, where every turn is a living canvas, reflecting the sky above. It’s a place where traditional dyeing workshops thrive, keeping age-old customs alive in vibrant hues.
Ascend to a rooftop terrace and drink in the panoramic views—the mountains, the city, and the endless blue mingling with the horizon. And don’t leave without tasting the local goat cheese, a creamy delight that embodies the region’s rich, culinary tapestry. Chefchaouen is an escape into a world where freedom is painted in shades of azure.
Photo by: @https://www.audleytravel.com/morocco/places-to-go/asilah
Within an hour’s drive south of Tetouan, you’ll find Asilah, a tranquil coastal town renowned for its art-filled medina and serene beaches. As you stroll through the narrow lanes, the Asilah murals will capture your imagination, turning the town into a vibrant open-air gallery that celebrates creativity and freedom.
Here’s what you shouldn’t miss:
- Asilah Murals: Discover the ever-changing canvas of walls and doorways, painted by artists from around the world.
- Cultural Festivals: Time your visit to coincide with the bustling cultural festivals that infuse Asilah with music, poetry, and art.
- Ramparts Walk: Wander atop the ancient ramparts for panoramic views and a peaceful walk, ending your day at the bustling Asilah marina.
Embrace the liberty of Asilah’s artistic soul as you explore its charming corners.
Photo by: @https://opendoorsmorocco.com/location/rif-mountains-2/
Venturing beyond the urban tapestry of Tetouan, you’ll find the Rif Mountains, a haven for hikers and nature enthusiasts seeking respite among its majestic peaks and verdant valleys. Embrace the freedom of the open trails with Rif trekking, where each step brings a new vista and a deeper connection to the land. You’ll stumble upon Berber villages, timeless and inviting, where smiles are as plentiful as the mountain biodiversity is diverse.
|Varied trails, from leisurely walks to challenging ascents
|Freedom to explore at your own pace
|Cultural immersion, traditional lifestyles
|Unique glimpse into indigenous heritage
|Endemic flora and fauna, conservation efforts
|Rich natural tapestry to discover
|Panoramic views, access to remote areas
|Unparalleled vistas, ease of exploration
Savor the scenic drives that ribbon through the landscape, ensuring that the journey is as breathtaking as the destination.
Photography in Tetouan
Capture Tetouan’s vibrant street life and stunning Andalusian architecture through your lens as you explore this photogenic Moroccan city. As you meander through the bustling streets, you’ll find a treasure trove of opportunities for street photography, each frame narrating its own unique story. The play of light on the whitewashed buildings, the intricate architectural details of doorways and arches, and the lively market scenes provide endless inspiration.
Immerse yourself in the ebb and flow of daily life, capturing cultural portraits that reflect the soul of Tetouan. The city’s inhabitants, dressed in traditional attire, add a layer of authenticity to your images. You’ll discover that photography here isn’t just about snapping pictures; it’s a way to connect with the local culture and preserve moments of unguarded humanity.
Consider these tips to enhance your photographic journey:
- Seek Out Natural Interactions: Candid shots of locals engaged in conversation or artisans at work can capture the essence of the city’s heartbeat.
- Focus on the Details: Zoom in on the ornate carvings and vibrant mosaics that adorn buildings, telling the story of Tetouan’s Andalusian roots.
- Visit During Golden Hour: The soft, warm light at sunrise or sunset accentuates textures and casts a magical glow on the cityscape.
As you weave through Tetouan with camera in hand, let your creativity run free. Embrace the freedom to pause, observe, and click the shutter whenever a moment moves you. Your photographic narrative will be as rich and multifaceted as the city itself, a mosaic of images that captures the spirit of Andalusian Morocco.
Having explored the captivating streets and snapped a myriad of photos, you’re now ready to reflect on your unforgettable journey through Tetouan’s Andalusian charm. You’ve wandered through markets that buzz with life, listened to the enchanting tales of local storytellers, and felt the rhythm of street performances that give this city its heartbeat. Tetouan’s festivals likely danced their way into your memory, each one a vibrant thread in a cultural tapestry that’s been woven over centuries.
You’ve discovered that Tetouan isn’t just a destination; it’s a celebration of freedom, community, and the enduring spirit of Andalusian Morocco. Whether it’s the shared laughter at community gatherings or the silent camaraderie of a shared sunset, you’ve connected with something larger than yourself.
Here’s a table that capsulizes the essence of your journey:
|Colorful parades, rich traditions
|Unity in diversity
|Enthralling tales under the stars
|Cultural heritage alive
|Spontaneous music and dance
|Pulse of Andalusian vitality
As you prepare to leave, you’re not just taking souvenirs; you’re carrying with you the spirit of Tetouan. The city has offered you a glimpse into an authentic tapestry of Moroccan life, one that you can’t find in guidebooks or online galleries. It’s a place that must be lived to be understood, and you’ve done just that.
So, have you fallen for Tetouan’s allure yet? From its Andalusian echoes to the vibrant streets that whisper tales of history, this city has surely etched memories in your heart. Whether it’s the flavors that danced on your tongue or the sights that filled your camera lens, Tetouan invites you to carry a piece of its soul with you. Go ahead, let the stories of this Moroccan gem inspire your next adventure. After all, isn’t life about collecting such precious moments?
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