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Sidi Ifni

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SIDI IFNI is uniquely interesting: an enclave relinquished by Spain only in 1969, after the Moroccan government closed off landward access. Built in the 1930s, on a clifftop site, it is surely the finest and most romantic Art Deco military town ever built. Many of its 1930s buildings have been the victims of neglect, but with a realization by the authorities that they attract tourists, steps are now being taken to conserve the town’s heritage, and many are also being bought up by foreigners.

The site, then known as Santa Cruz del Mar Pequeño (“Holy Cross of the Small Sea”), was held by the Spanish from 1476 to 1524, when the Saadians threw them out. In 1860, the Treaty of Tetouan gave it back to them, though they didn’t reoccupy it until 1934, after they (or rather, the French) had “pacified” the interior.

Sidi Ifni’s main attractions are its Spanish feel and Art Deco architecture. The beach, with a marabout tomb at its northern end, is not that great (the beaches at Legzira and Mirhleft are better) and is prone to long sea mists. On Sundays a large souk takes place just east of the abandoned airfield.

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