On the west side of Gibraltar - Tangier
We can end or begin our adventure with exoticism in the point, where Europe meets Africa. There’s Tangier waiting for us, the gate to the hot continent, separated from Europe by 14 km of the sea.
A tea with mint, which will divinely cool your body, is a very popular drink in Morocco. On the other hand, if you would like to have a very sweet and strong coffee, you should visit Tangier. The city constitutes the gateway through which we enter into the country, and the center, where we say goodbye to it. Sitting at a table overlooking the Strait of Gibraltar, we can admire contours of the Spanish coast silhouetted in the distance. There’s only 14 km of the see between us and Europe.
The city viewed from the side of the coast makes the biggest impression. People can then see high minarets and rows of blue and white houses interspersed with green palm trees.
The exoticism and past of Tangier intertwine with Europeanism, inflowing from the sea. The city is experiencing a rapid development, which can be seen at first glance, especially when we get here by plane or by boat. The modern airport terminal and modernized port are huge advantages of Tangier.
Once you set foot on African land, you can visit the Bay of Tangier, to see the northwesternmost point of Africa, the Cape Spartel. There’s located a nineteen century lighthouse, and the famous cave of Hercules, a natural rock formation which has increased as a result of many years of exploitation. It overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and is one of the biggest attractions of Tangier. The shape of her mouth to some might look like a face, while to another - the African continent. A place that also should be visited by tourists is the tomb of the Arab traveler and writer - Ibn Battuta (the whole name is Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Abdullah Al Lawati Al Tanji Ibn Battuta). The pilgrim was born in the fourteenth century and spent more than 30 years of his life on travelling the world, in the era in which the distances seemed to be a lot bigger than it is today, and people were limited by the lack of transport.
Another point is the Church of St. Andrew. In the building you will find beautiful and colorful mosaic representing an effective combination of Moorish and English art. Behind the altar, on the wall there’s an Arabic inscription of a prayer "Our Father" and next to the church there’s a cemetery with the graves of people of merit for the city.
The city’s bustle
Tourists, who went to Tangier during weekend, have a chance to see the attractions of the local market. On Saturday mornings it’s visited by women from the Rif Mountain - dressed in colorful traditional costumes selling fresh homemade products. It’s worth remembering that they come to the market also on Thursdays. Tourists, who love shopping, will fill like in a paradise among stalls on the square Grand Socco. They can spend hours wandering between them, looking through souvenirs and trying to get rid of the touts, who only wait for the opportunity of earning few dirhams. Grand Socco slashes the city in two parts – the old and the new one. It’s full of cafes, where you can sit and relax. The center of the new part of Tangier is the Place de France, a place, where’s located a famous, more than 90-year-old cafe Gran Cafe de Paris. In the past it was visited by local artists, and the cafe was considered the most fashionable in the city. The spirit of the past is still floating in the air over the tables.
In the close vicinity of the square stretches Mandubijja garden with a charming fountain and picturesque alleys. There grows a giant, few hundred years old ficus,.
Medina of Tangier
Just behind the Grand Socco there’s a medina, which is an old part of the city. Heading northeast, we will arrive at Rue Es-Siaghine, which connects the square with Petit Socco. In the past, it was notorious for debauchery – there were plenty of casinos, brothels, and other suspicious shrines. The term Tanger-danger seemed to fit here perfectly. When in Morocco prohibited the sale of alcohol, the local taverns has fallen down, but even today this place isn’t too safe, especially at night.
Wandering on, we’ll go down the Rue de Marine to bastion of Burj al- Hadżawi. Along the way we’ll come across the Great Mosque, which unfortunately cannot be visited. The bastion has an amazing view of the harbor and two giant, weighing about 20 tons cannons. At the top of the old part of Tangier is Kasbah, which is the Muslim fortress (citadel).
Next to it there’s Mosquee de Kasbah the palace Sidi Husni, while the biggest attraction and most important point of Kasbah is a seventeenth-century sultan palace Dar al- Machzan. Currently it houses Musee des Arts Marocains ed des Antiquites. Museum can be visited every day except Tuesday. The Kasbah has a splendid view of the city – it’s the perfect place to take some photos.
Where to stay in Tangier?
Tourists wishing to stay longer in the city and relax before exploring further attractions can find an accommodation both in expensive and cheap hotels. Those, who decided to come to Tangier with their own vehicle, should consider the offer of the Camping Miramonte. It’s located in the suburbs, less than 3 km from the city center. The accommodation for an adult and child, and the place for the camper costs the same - 25 Dh. The access to the electricity we’ll pay 30 Dh.
After a rest, we can move further to Africa, or back to Europe. Tangier says goodbye with a bustle and aroma of the spices and perfumes floating over the medina.
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