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Tangier, the gateway to Africa, never ceases to mesmerize its countless number of visitors each year. Here we list the top 10 things to see and do in this fascinating Moroccan town.
Enter through the beautiful Bab Haha gate and wander through the cobbled residential and commercial alleyways of the Kasbah walls. The most enjoyable and least stressful way to see the sites is not by looking for them, but by stumbling across them. In the likely event of getting lost be sure to keep walking uphill and you will be sure to find one of the babs, (doors) that allow you to exit the premises. You will at some point during your stroll come across the famous 17th-century palace, now transformed into a museum and located off the Place du Menchoar. It is home to an interesting array of relics aging from the Stone Age to the 20th century. The hilltop locations of the Kasbah give visitors sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea.
During the fifth century this was the site of a Roman temple. After the Portuguese conquest it was converted into cathedral and during the eighth century its central location seemed suitable for place of Muslim prayer; it was turned into a mosque. It has since been converted back to a church and then back again to a mosque. The series of conversions it has undergone during its time make it a fascinating example of Morocco‘s rich and varied history, as well as an architectural point of interest.
With a sub-tropical Mediterranean climate, oranges have become somewhat of a celebrity item within Morocco in general. Available in abundance everywhere a freshly squeezed glass of orange juice should be easy to find and worth the money. However if you want ice ensure it is made from bottled water.
Over the years as the tourism industry grows, funding has been invested in sustaining the cleanliness of cities and sites around Morocco. The beaches of Tangier have especially reaped the benefits of this. They are an oasis outside of the city, with golden sand and sparkling blue waters. The beaches’ proximity to the port mean that an ambiance of hustle and bustle always exists. Being the gateway to Africa from Europe is something that keeps the place busy and colorful.
St Andrew’s Church is one of Tangier’s most mesmerizing sites. Completed in 1905 as a gift from King Hassan I of Morocco, this popular tourist site is a fusion of different architectures and styles, reflecting Morocco’s multicultural population. The church is a focal point for Christians in Tangier. It also exhibits Quranic inscriptions on its Moorish interior and marks the direction of Muslim prayer to Mecca. A visit to this religious holy site gives a new meaning to the interfaith experience.
Historically, the Petit Socco was known as a place of drug dealers and prostitutes. Fortunately, the region is now a harmless square where people drink mint tea or orange juice as they watch the world go by. Unlike the packaged teabag versions, Moroccan mint tea is made with fresh mint leaves and a touch of sugar. This results in a deliciously refreshing drink.
Where the old and new meet, the Grand Socco is where the wide road diverges into narrow cobbled streets. With a mosque to one side and cinema on the other, this place is a crossroads between the ages. Spend your cash at the traditional market stalls which sell a variety of kaftans, dried nuts and fresh foods. The central fountain is surrounded by benches, making it a perfect place to experience this meeting point of eras.
Located in the vicinity of the Grand Socco , this cinema is not hard to find, and is a popular hangout for locals. Streaming both mainstream and independent films in a colonial style building, a trip to this cinema is an authentic Tangier experience. This cinema seems to glorify its mixed cultural roots and, like Tangier, serves as a crossroad of cultures, showcasing films in French and Arabic.
An Aladdin’s Cave of treasures and curiosities for every bibliophile, the Librairie des Colonnes has been a Tangier institution since 1949. It was once a favorite stomping ground of some of the 20th century’s greatest writers: Samuel Beckett, Truman Capote, Jean Genet and Tennessee Williams among them. The exterior of the building is charming and old-fashioned, while the inside is lined with shelves upon shelves of books, few of them in English and all of them entirely fascinating.