Things to do, attractions and places to visit in Tangiers, Morocco
Tangier (Tanger in French,Tanja in local dialect) is located in the northern part of Morocco just 14 kilometers from Spain and 60 kilometers from Gibraltar at the intersection of the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. Tangiers is a combination and mixture of Moroccan, European and African flavor. There are pleny of tourist attractions and activities you can do in this beautifu city which Moroccans would like to describe as the "Bride of the North".
It was an international zone up till late fifties and a mecca for freedom and romance seekers from Europe and the USA.
Artists, writers, politicians and all kinds of adventurers have found in Tangier the ideal shrine for their dreams. The Rolling Stones,Williams Tennessee,Matisse,Richard Diebenkorn,Oscar Wilde,Cecil Beaton,Winston Churchill are sample names for the sake of an example.
The Grand Socco (The Large Market)
This is the dynamic heart of Tangiers. As the name suggests, it used to be a marketplace and a casual entertainment center in the crowdier traditonal sense similar to Jamaa-el-Fna in Marrakech. It's now more of a place to leisurely stroll,get a feel of the city,relax on a nearby cafe and do some people watching in preparation for your tour off to the Medina gate to the Rue d'Italie.
This place is also the bridging point between the old medina and modern town. More importantly, this spot holds a nationalistic pride for Moroccans in general since it witnessed the historically famous call for independence speech made by late king Mohamed V in 1947.
The Old medina
Old medinas are rich of history and culture and are unique. Most of these are located in the hot non-coastal regions of Morocco. But then again Morocco itself is an ancient country and old medinas, to a lesser depth, are also found in coastal cities, and Tangiers happens to be one of them.
Yep,Tangier(also Tangiers) still cheriches its old organs. Taxi drivers are knowledgeable about their hometowns and know its history wholeheartedly. They can take you there, sit back and relax while glancing to see old tanks and hearing about the Spanish and Portuguese pirates and how tangiers tried to protect itself from the shore.
Part of the old medina is The Kasbah,it stands on an upper level hilly site of town which gives it a great access view point over to the Straits of Gibraltar,neighboring Spain and the Tangier port to its right. The Kasbah,whose fortifications are amazingly in very good condtion, embodies a 17th. century Dar el Makhzen (The House of the Governor). It now serves as a museum for Moroccan arts and archeology.Beyond its front gates,hide nice carved ceilings and beautiful gardens. For photography fans, the place looks nicer at sunset and sunrise.
The American Legation (cultural centre and museum)
Right in the heart of the old Medina, stands a historic American landmark attesting to Morocco'old diplomatic and cultural relations with the United States. Morocco was the first country to recognize the independence of the United States. In fact, this is even United States'only historic landmark overseas.
The American Legation was established back in 1777. The building is listed on the Secretary of State’s Register of Culturally Significant Property.
Important enough since it is the first American property outside the US territory. It is located at 8 Zankat America (Avenue of America).
The building contains a museum,library and a conference center. So if you are into into history,old documents,arts(it holds artists meetings and exhibitions), this place worths its visit.
The Caves of Hercules (La Grotte d'Hercules)
Driving about 14 kms west of Tangier at Cap Spartel,a rendezvous with a stunning archeological point of interest is awaiting you - The Caves of Hercules.
On the way, Get your camera ready,sit back and relax while enjoying a look down on the fascinating atlantic beach scenery and Tangiers'mountaineous landscape.
You can do a camel ride on your way to Hercules Cave. Camels are supposed to be in the desert. But for the sake of ease and flexibility,they are often brought from their environment to the coastal cities during the high tourist season.
A camel ride in Tangiers does not replace a camel trekking excursion in Erg Chebi/Merzouga. But it can give you that romantic feeling being on top of a camel.
Hercules refers,of course,to the mythical figure Hercules who founded Tangier and carved out the Straits of Gibraltar with one blow from his sword. the caves apparently used to be his rest place after finishing his 12 labors. It is not conclusive how these caves have been formed.
Apparently,they have been carved in part by nature and in part by man. The caves have been reported to be used as dwellings by some ancient civilizattion who quarried stone since the Archaeological excavations have produced evidence of human bones and flints remnants the findings of which can found at the Kasba museum. For safety reasons, only a small percentage of the caves are open to visitors.
The caves are situated at about 100 meters above the Robinson Plage that stretches off to the south. Views from inside the caves looking out over the ocean are of great beauty. The opening itself matches the map of Africa.
Historically, we're talking about a Neolithic habitation 6000 BC. The caves were discovered in 1878 and opened to the public in 1920.in 1952,it became a National Heritage site.
The other neighbouring caves(the Cave of Ace Sayfia,Al Alia Cave and Al Khil Cave) also found to contain prehistoric remains from the Neolithic period.Also worth a visit are the nearby Roman ruins of Cotta- A 2nd century Roman town. It's no more than 5 minutes walk from The Caves of Hercules. Some section of the site still shows signs of the typical Roman baths and temples. Shopping in Bazaars and Souks
Great place for bargains in leather,carpets,copper and othe hand-made crafts and souvenirs.
As per wikipedia:
"Forbes Museum of Tangier was a museum founded by the American publisher of Forbes magazine, Malcolm Forbes. The museum had been located in Malcolm Forbes' Palais Mendoub, a grand 10-acre (40,000 m2) property located on the Marshan in Tangier, and had a collection of a total of 115,000 models of lead soldiers.
These figures re-enacted the major battles of history; from Waterloo to Dien Bien Phû, realistically recreated with lighting and sound effects. Entire armies stood on guard in the showcases, while in the garden, 600 statuettes bear silent homage to the Battle of Three Kings.
After Forbes' death in 1990, the property was put up for sale by the children and is now owned by the government of Morocco as a residence for visiting dignitaries.
Film Location - The Forbes Museum was chosen for the villain's lair for the 15th James Bond Film The Living Daylights 1987 starring Timothy Dalton.
Brad Whitaker played by Joe Don Baker was an international arms-dealer who also had a fetish for warfare and collecting military items."
That if your visit coincides with the international jazz festival Tanjazz festival
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