Sights - Tangier - Morocco SIGHTS - TANGIER You have one of the best views of the world standing on the top of the hill on which Tangier is built. There arent many places where you can see two continents at once. This definately rates as a major attraction of Tangier. The road all the way up, is steep and colorful. While walking to the highest point you will get a good impression what the town is all about.
But Tangier has more to offer. It has nice markets, some excellent museums and hotels with stunning views. You will also find one of the largest trees I have ever seen in a park near the Petit Socco. Here you find a selection of whats offered.
The Grand Socco or Place du 9 avril 1947 It was in this square, on April 9th 1947, that sultan Mohammed V made a famous speech in which he referred to independence for Morocco. This vast marketplace is dominated on the south-west by the minaret of Sidi Abib mosque (1917), decorated with multi-coloured ceramic tiles.
The Grand Socco is the center of Tangier and a good place to start a tour as it links the medina and the new city. It was once full of snake charmers, musicians, storytellers much like the Djemaa el-Fna in Marrakesh. It is still busy on market days (Thursday and Sunday)when Riffian berbers come from the nearby Rif Mountains to the city to sell their wares. They add to the bright spectacle with their strange straw hats and colorful red and white clothes.
If you pass under the right-hand of the two medina arches leading out of the Grand Socco, you will be on the Rue des Siaghines. It is one of the busiest market streets in the medina. The old Jewish quarter or the mellah is off to the right. More than ten synagogues and a locked Spanish Catholic church reveal Tangiers richly diverse past.
The Petit Socco Located in the heart of the Medina, this little square is one of the most picturesque sites in Tangier. The noisy bustling crowd in multi-coloured clothing contrasts with those who have time to idle away over a cup of mint tea at the terraces of the cafs. The Petit Socco is at the end of the Rue des Siaghines.
This is an interesting place to have a cup of mint tea and ponder on this busy little squares colorful past. Not too long ago, this was the center for male prostitution, pornographic films and drug-related activities. The area still holds onto its sleazy atmosphere. Its not hard to imagine artists such as William Burroughs, Jean Genet, Jack Kerouac, sipping their tea and dreaming up their fictional worlds.
From the Petit Socco, there are two alleyways at the east end, Rue de la Marine, on the left and you will pass the grand mosque. The building itself is forbidden to non-Muslims, but is said to be built on a Roman temple site.
The American Legation Morocco was the first nation to recognize the United States in 1776. This building, purchased in 1821, is the oldest American overseas legation. The museum houses documents which retrace the history of the relations between Morocco and the United States since 1776. Other collections are also on display : furniture, ancient doors, maps, paintings. It is here that the Allied Forces prepared part of the 1942 landings in North Africa.
Forbes Museum of Military Miniatures Millionaire and press tycoon Malcolm Forbes (1919-1990) purchased the ancient palace of the mendoub in 1970. From 1978, Forbes decided to set in this palace his collection of military miniatures which he had started as a child. Today, the collection contains over 120 000 miniatures, arranged to feature famous battles of history, and was bequeathed to the city of Tangier. The garden offers an exceptional view of the Gibraltar Straits and Spanish coast.
Museum of Moroccan Arts or Dar el-Makhzen, a Moroccan arts and archeological museum in the Kasbah. The museum is open from 9 am to noon and 3 to 6 in winter and 9 am to 3:30 in summer and closed on Tuesday. Entry is Dr 10. Good firearm collection.
The Kasbah From the Petit Socco, take the first narrow alleyway turning after the Rue des Siaghines, pass an ornamental fountain on the left and you will reach the stairs to Bab el Assa, The gate of watchfulness. Through the gate you will find the Place de la Kasbah. The kasbah is on the highest point of the city and has an incredible view across the Straits of Gibraltar to Spain. The Dar el-Makhzen, a former 17th century Sultans palace, is on the left. There is a a museum devoted to Moroccan arts and archeology. Leaving the museum through the beautiful Andalucian gardens, you can reach the Cafe Detroit. It was established by the writer and friend of the Rolling Stones, Brion Gynsin. In the 1960s it was famous for its trance musicians, now its a bit of a tourist trap. The view of the Straits of Gibraltar is good, but the mint tea is pricey.
The Ville Nouvelle The ville nouvelle or the new city is worth a stroll as it has retained its early 20th century European architecture. The area near Boulevard Pasteur and Place de France is filled with cafes and can be a good place to stop to watch the world go by.