Ceuta one of Spain's remaining outposts in Africa
Ceuta is one of Spain's two remaining outposts in Africa, (the other bein Melilla) , located on the southern side of the straights of Gibraltar. Melilla was conquered by the Spanish in 1496; Ceuta by the Portuguese in 1415. When Morocco regained independence in 1957, Spain held on to Ceuta and Melilla; both cities are still claimed by Morocco. Ceuta covers an area of 19 square km, has 69.000 inhabitants and is separated from the Kingdom of Morocco by a small, fortified neutral zone. It offers good shopping for jewellery and electronic devices, etc. and can be an interesting stopover before entering the African continent. Be sure to check the ferry timetable before you leave. An interesting landmark in central Ceuta is the old stronghold of colossal Royal Walls. The external walls of the former fortress are framed on one side by a waterway (Foso de San Felipe) that acts as a moat. The sturdy walls date back to the Portuguese and Spanish periods from the 16th to 18th centuries. The ensemble of thick walls continues to undergo a restoration program. The complex, which includes the Museo Revellín de San Ignacio, is now part of the Museum of Ceuta. The flag of Spain flies at the corner point, a good spot to take a photograph. The modern Plaza de Armas is a pleasant promenade that passes adjacent to the Foso de San Felipe. Many other relics dot Ceuta today. There are the archaeological remains of a late Roman Basílica and necropolis dating from the 4th century. The Arab Baths are from the 13th century. The military fortifications of Monte Hacho, constructed from the 17th to 19th centuries, are majestically positioned on the hill. Wander around town and you may run into other old remnants as well. These may not be the greatest ruins in the world, but they are still interesting to see.