This place is ancient. Countless generations lived here; even more passed through. Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans. Then Vandals, Goths, the Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, Spaniards. Germans and the Allied forces. All left a piece, a memento of their passage.
This is a city of convoluted alleys and of buildings in constant state of flux. A wing is refurbished while the other crumbles into a mouldy heap. A new window opens up in a decrepit wall. A fresh lick of paint over rusty iron.
This is also a place where old and new clash together in a deafening clangour, yielding results that satisfy no one. A city where the perfume of pastries just pulled from the oven fist-fight with the stink of horse piss. A city both filthy and spotless. A city where Brobdingnagian monstrosities tower above the old town like space invaders.
This is a place of contradictions, where street signs promise 40-day relief from sin in exchange for a prayer. This is a place intriguing, maddening, fascinating and frustrating at the same time.