CEUTA, Spain — From the highest of Alfonso Murube Stadium, you’ll be able to see the peninsula of Ceuta stretching out into the Mediterranean Sea. Out on the water, ferries shuttle forwards and backwards throughout the slender Strait of Gibraltar to the shoreline of southern Spain, simply 30 quick minutes away. Stroll half an hour in the wrong way and also you get a really completely different view: two 20-foot fences topped with razor wire that mark the border with Morocco.
Ceuta, a sliver of land seven sq. miles in measurement, hangs on to the sting of Africa, as skinny as a toenail. However it’s not a part of Africa, not formally. That is Spanish soil. Ceuta, and the close by metropolis of Melilla, are the one two cities on the African mainland which are formally a part of Europe, a quirk of political geography that additionally makes them the one land borders between Africa and the European Union. That standing is why, yearly, 1000’s of migrants method Ceuta’s partitions and wire fences, and attempt to scale them or swim round them, in hopes of getting one step nearer to Europe itself. A whole bunch have died making an attempt.
Ceuta’s location, although, isn’t the one characteristic that units it aside. It’s a rarity for Spain, too, as a metropolis the place the Muslim and Christian populations are of comparable measurement. It has vital Jewish and Hindu minorities. Darija, an Arabic dialect, is broadly spoken amongst its 85,000 residents, and relying on the time of day each the decision to prayer and church bells will be heard within the quiet, slender streets round Murube Stadium.