Tag Archives: Marocco

Discovering Tangier

When it comes to holidays in Morocco is thought especially in Marrakech that is among the best known tourist destinations in Morocco. But we want to discover Tangier, which certainly has nothing to envy to other cities.

Tangier-500x375Public Domain

We start by saying that  the Strait of Gibraltar separates Morocco from Spain and, therefore, Africa and Europe. Here blend the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.
Given its strategic location, the city of Tangier has always played a very important role, and this even more so from 1923 to 1956, when it was declared an international city.
Its history is one of invasion and occupation by various peoples and nations and this has meant that the city is truly cosmopolitan, they speak Arabic, French and Spanish.
Besides, Spain is just 14km. Tangier is very easy to reach by ferry (click here). The port is near the train station and the bus then move in the city and its surroundings is really easy.

Mostly Mediterranean climate is particularly pleasant in all seasons. In winter, there may be some rain, but not of relevant intensity. Temperatures this season are around 8 degrees in the minimum and 17 degrees max. In summer it goes from 20 degrees to about 30 during the hottest hours; rarely exceeds these values. The humidity instead is quite high. The water temperature is around 14 degrees in winter and 22 degrees in summer.

Exploring the city

We now start to explore the city: from the port you arrive fast enough to the Kasbah which is a portion of the fortified Medina.
Here we find the Museum of the Kasbah, called Dar Al Makhzen or Sultan’s Palace; It was built in the seventeenth century and served as a residence for various sultans. Then, in 1992, the palace became a museum, or rather two, since there is the Museum of Moroccan Arts and the Museum of Antiquities. Here it is contained the testimony of the encounter between the different cultures that have enriched the city.
There are many rooms in which they are exposed, in addition to the exhibits, also local crafts such as jewelry, pottery, embroidery and Berber kilim rugs ; it is worth stopping to admire the magnificent carved wooden doors and fantastic mosaics.

Continuing along the Medina are the Great Mosque: it seems that it was originally a Roman temple and later the Portuguese built a church.
In the heart of the Medina is a small square, or Small Socco Petit Souk, surrounded by restaurants, bars and cafes; Here many artists have sought and found inspiration. Some famous examples are: Delacroix, Matisse, Joseph Kessel and Paul Bowles.

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Photo CC BY-SA 3.0 Hedwig Storch

Also in the Medina it is the Old American Legation Museum, which is also a center of research and study.
We move a little to get to the district of Marshan. Here we find the Forbes Museum, the Palace Dar El Mandoub. This building is a real gem of Moorish architecture of the XIX century. The museum is named after American billionaire Malcolm Forbes who built the palace.
Forbes had gathered an incredible collection of more than 100,000 lead soldiers, in representation of the most famous battles, such as that of Waterloo.
Unfortunately today this collection can be no longer admird entirely because partly was sold by the heirs of Forbes but the rest was donated to the city. The building was bought back by the state and now houses the various heads of state visiting Tangier. A curiosity again: Forbes celebrated his birthday here with Liz Taylor, his partner at that time; the party in great pomp attended by many politicians and international celebrities .

The new town is crossed by the Boulevard Pasteur, which is the main street of the modern city; Here are all the most elegant shops. Then there is the Grand Socco square (Grand Souk) where a large market full of colors gives the incredible smells: the scent of spices mingle with the smells of grilled meat.
Not far away is one of the most beautiful hotels in Tangier; have stayed here, among many others, Winston Churchill and Rita Hayworth. Bernardo Bertolucci filmed here some scenes of the film “The Sheltering Sky,” based on the novel by Paul Bowles.
Also in the new city, there is a viewpoint, the “Terrasse des Paresseux”. By day there is a fantastic view of the harbor, the Medina, the strait and the Spanish coast; at night it becomes a lively place from the nightlife.

Beaches close to Tangier

As for the beaches, however, the choice is wide: you can choose to stay on the Mediterranean Sea or the Atlantic Ocean. Choosing the Mediterranean side, after Cap Malabata, less than 10 km, we will enjoy the long stretches of sand. Instead heading towards Cape Spartel, on the Atlantic, we will reach the beach of Sidi Kacem, from which we can also get to the Cave of Hercules; these are natural caves formed by the movement of the waves on the stone. Legend has it that the caves were home to Hercules when he separated Europe from Africa. The visit of the caves is cheap but, being a place much visited by tourists, in its surroundings it is full of souvenir sellers.

Further on there are some beaches a little more hidden like that of Las Cuevas, where we can also find niches nice, unpretentious, eat broiled fish, freshly caught.
However, there are many other beaches, like Tangier Beach and Dalia Beach. It is not uncommon to see the camels on the beaches. They are beloved by tourists for walking.
You can also do various tours by boat and many water sports. There are schools for surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing.
Another proposal yet for the more adventurous; it comes to off-road and 4×4 tours: a blast! The quad-biking can be rather interesting for families.

Cousine

As for the gastronomic side of the holiday, there is such a variety of types of food that they have no other issue will be spoiled for choice.
The city’s history has obviously influenced her cooking. So we find a mix of European and African food cultures.
The Arab influence brought all the spices; the Spanish olives and olive oil; the bread is due to the French, etc.
Many dishes are made from sheep, lamb and goat are bred on site in large quantities. For example there is the tajine (name of the terracotta pot with a lid to tip) where various cooked meats and poultry; you can not miss the couscous with meat and vegetables, but it is a city of sea fish is very present, as well as seafood.
There is still a great choice of restaurants, each with its own food culture and especially with their prices, from the cheapest to the most expensive one.