Best things to do in Laayoune
Find out more about those top places in Laayoune
Relatively unknown Laayoune (also called El-Aaiun) is the capital of Western Sahara - the city founded by the Spanish colonizer Antonio de Oro in 1938, was designated capital of the Spanish Sahara in 1940. Quite until recently Laayoune was at the center of a territorial conflict which affected it growth massively. But post-conflict the city is steady rising and is a great place for tourists to explore – its attractions might not be many or mind-blowing but it still makes a good destination to visit.
Situated near the old medina of Tiznit, the Place Mechouar is one of the most popular places in Western Sahara. Built at the end of 19th century the park has played a major part in the history of the nation, often being the location for royal ceremonies, religious ceremonies and rallies. Surrounded by restaurants and cafes, it comes alive during the market day which is held every Thursday giving it a totally different outlook when compared to the other days of the week - the market offers the best opportunity to buy all what you desire.
If you are searching where to spend your weekends, then visit the Stade Sheikh Mohamed Laghdaf stadium. It is a 15,0000 capacity stadium that is considered a multi-purpose one, although it is mostly used for football matches with the occasional events and rallies at the stadium. Built in 1984, it was renovated in 2010 – it is the home stadium of JS Massira Football Club - it is best to visit when the national side has a game because that is when the stadium really comes alive.
One of the best architectural works in the city, the New Mosque is simple but elegantly designed with an Islamic style. Located near the Place Mechouar the mosque is surrounded by a few lonely palm trees - it was built in a bid to foster community spirit and increase peace in the capital. Visitors are generally allowed to visit the mosque but there is a need to comply with the Islamic dress code.
A little similar to the New Mosque in its simple design, the cathedral is quite a symbolic one being one of the few churches in a Muslim country. Built in a 60s modernist architectural style, it is one of the reaming fragments of the city’s Spanish colonial era. If you decide to visit, you are most likely to be welcomed by one of the priests and given a tour of the cathedral.
Western Sahara might not be the most exciting of places, but the same cannot be said about its variety of dishes. Influenced by neighboring countries (Morocco, Algeria) and Spanish colonization, its cuisine offer a rich blend of choices. Its main dishes include the Tajin made solely from dromedaries, Ezzmit and Melfrisa – they can be purchased from most of the local restaurants around.