After crossing the Strait of Gibraltar from the Spanish mainland, I reached the port of Ceuta. So was I in an African town already? Not really. Technically I was still in European Union.
Ceuta is not a town of any African country, but a Spanish autonomous city on the north coast of Africa. It's sharing a land border with M'diq-Fnideq Prefecture in Morocco. Together with another Spanish enclave Melilla on the northern shores of Morocco's Mediterranean coast, they form the EU's only land borders with Africa.
It was a gorgeous sunny day. Blue sky and no clouds. The original plan was to go on to the south to cross the border, but the beautiful weather and cityscape attracted me to explore a bit here. So I strolled a couple of hours in this small town and snapped some shots. The beach was nice and quiet with only a few sunbathers. If I was not mistaken, there were much more sea urchins in the crystal clear water than humans . ;)
Due to its strategic location, Ceuta had been an important naval base since Carthaginian and Roman times. Its early form of fortification since the 5th century was strengthened by the Portuguese in the 1540s.
Today, part of the Royal Walls including the ditch and bastions remain intact. After the restoration in recent years, they have been open to the public. I walked around this heritage site oozing with history where the past battle scenes seemed to be replaying.
Ceuta was actually acquired from Portugal by Spain at the end of the Iberian Union in 1640 when the 2 countries had the same King, and it served as a free port till Spain joined the EU.
Later I saw a large number of Moroccans crossing the border from their country to shop and work here, and then return to Morocco in the evening. I didn't see anyone climbing the wired fence over the border, but there's news report about it and the crackdown of attempts to illegally emmigrate to Europe seeking for a better life.
图文 by Donica多
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