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Tarifa of two cultures


Tarifa is known as the wind capital. Its 38 kilometers of sandy beaches and clear water are the main tourist spot. Your environment is surrounded by the Natural Park of the Alcornocales and the Natural Reserve of Los Lances.

The city of Tarifa has been marked by the strong influence that Muslims and Christians traditions have had. The Muslim period begins with the entrance of Tarif Abu Zara on the island of Las Palomas in 710, while the Christian period begins with the surrender of the city by King Sancho IV of Castile on September 21, 1292.


The city takes its name from Tarif Ben Malluk, a Berber who occupied the area in July 710 AD. The Arabs called the place “Island of Tarif”, hence the name Tarifa. Under Muslim domination it did not have much population, even with a busy port.”El-Andalus” (Vandals) used this port to land and rest their troops on their way to North Africa, which is only 14 kilometers.

During 500 years of domination by the Moors, the city was captured several times by Alfonso IV in 1083, Alfonso VIII and Fernando II in the twelfth century. Until 1291 Tarifa lived many battles between Muslims and Christians.

puerta de jerezDefended by Guzman el Bueno

The most famous episode was when Sancho IV of Castile captured Tarifa during the siege of 1291-1292 (his statue is located at the entrance of the castle), killing his opponent Abu Ya’qub Yusuf.

The Moors attempted to retrieve it later on many occasions, but all failed. In 1294 it was defended by Alonso Perez de Guzman. Known as “Guzman El Bueno” with a statue in his name in the Alameda of Tarifa.

On the coast of Tarifa, as in the rest of the coast of Cadiz, from the Middle Ages were built and distributed numerous watchtowers to implement the defensive system, especially from pirates. A militia ran the coast riding daily, from Ayamonte to Gibraltar. After the War of Independence many of these towers were abandoned.


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