The Grand Socco or Place du 9 avril 1947:It was in this square, on April 9th 1947, that sultan Mohammed V made a speech in which he referred to independence for Morocco. The square links the medina (the old part of the city) to the new city and is by far its busiest quarter. It is especially animated on Thursdays and Sundays when the farmers, dressed in traditional costume, come to sell their fruit and vegetables. This vast marketplace is dominated on the southwest by the minaret of Sidi Abib mosque (1917), decorated with multi-colored ceramic tiles.
The Petit Socco:From the Bab Fahs, the south gate of the old town, the Rue es Siaghin widens and opens onto the Petit Socco, a small square bordered by cafés and old residences. 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-colored clothing contrasts with those who have time to idle away over a cup of mint tea at the terraces of the cafés. One of these is the "Tingis" Café where Jean Genet had his own table. In the center of the square is the Fuente Hotel where musician Camille Saint Saëns resided. The Petit Socco leads into the Rue de la Marine, the medina's busiest street. The shops lining the street are occupied by tailors and carpenters.
The Great Mosque:Built by the sultan Moulay Ismail to commemorate the withdrawal of English forces at the end of the 17th century, the mosque stands in the next street beyond the Petit Socco. The site was once occupied by a Portuguese cathedral. Opposite the mosque is a 19th century Spanish church with a copy of the Spanish painter Bartolomé Esteban Murillo's Immaculate Conception in the choir.
The American Legation
8, rue d'Amérique
Mon., Wed., Thurs. 10-1 and 3-5.
This building, purchased in 1821, is the oldest American overseas legation. Morocco was the first nation to recognize US sovereignty in 1776. The museum houses documents which retrace the history of the relations between Morocco and the United States since that time. Other collections are also on display : furniture, ancient doors, maps (there is a separate room of superb maps by Mercator) and works of art. It was in the Legation that the Allied Forces prepared plans for part of the 1942 landings in North Africa.
The Dar el Makhzen (Sultan's Palace)
(entrance on the place de la Casbah)
Open every day except Tuesdays, 9 - 11:45;3-6.
This ancient palace of the sultan was built under the reign of Moulay Ismail,after the withdrawal of the English in the 17th century. It was added to during the 18th and 19th centuries. It contains beautiful apartments decorated with mosaics and sculpted plaster, and includes a patio bordered by marble columns.
Tangier's Museum of Moroccan Arts:
Rooms containing displays include:
Carpets from Rabat
silks and ceramics from Fez.
Dar Ech Chorfa (Museum of Antiquities):
Daily 9-11:45 and 3-6
Contains a collection of archeological treasures found on the site of Volubilis. The building is a former courthouse.
Forbes Museum of Military Miniatures:
30 min. on foot from Grand Socco
10-5, closed Tuesdays
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.
The Café Hafa or Café des Tilleus:Located nearby the Forbes Museum, this charming café offers a magnificent view of the Mediterranean. Several small terraces with flowers welcome the visitor for a few moments or hours of peace and tranquility. Paul Bowles, the expatriate American writer, used to come and drink mint tea in this café.
Boulevard Pasteur:This is modern Tangier's main street. It starts at the palce de France, where the French consulate was built. At the entrance to the boulevard an esplanade overlooks the port, the medina, and the straits of Gibralter. On the boulevard are a number of residential blocks, some dating from the early 1900's. There are also banks and luxury shops. The Boulevard Pasteur runs into the Boulevard Mohammed V, which continues out of the center city into the western suburbs of Tangier where new apartments and condominiums are being built at a rapid rate.
El Minzah Hotel:This hotel opened in 1933 and is located on the street linking the Place de France and the Place du Grand Socco. It was built by French architects and is the former residence of the 18th century British Prime Minister, Lord Bute. It features an Andulusian patio, a Moorish interior, and exquisite fountains and gardens. It serves the finest of Moroccan cuisine. Winston Churchill and Rita Hayworth were among its most illustrious guests. Several films directors have chosen the hotel for scenes in their productions.
Grottoes of Hercules:
6 1/2 miles south of Tangier
The caves are under water at high tide. According to Greek mythology, it is in these caves that Hercules found some rest after accomplishing his Twelve Labors. These caves, which are flooded at high tide, are partly natural: limestone has always been extracted from the cliffs in order to make millstones. A curiosity of this site is the shape of the opening on the Ocean, which draws a map of Africa!
Cap (Cape) Malabata:By following the S704, the visitor may carry out an excursion to Cape Malabata. 6 miles east of Tangier is the strange castle of Malabata which, despite its medieval architecture, was built in the early 20th century. It is topped by a lighthouse and offers wide views across the town and bay of Tangier to the Gibraltar Straits.
Future Resort:On the right, before reaching the lighthouse, is a striking medieval style castle which dates from the beginning of the 20th century. A major coastal resort is being designed and built with this castle as the centerpiece. Hotels, holiday villages, villas, apartments, a conference center, a casino, and a 600 slip marina will circle a 64 acre man made lake. The Moroccan government has invested in this enterprise to accommodate the anticipated increase in tourists once the tunnel is completed.
Parfumerie Madini Essential oils. This perfumery is famous throughout the Muslim world.
Ensemble Artisanal (arts and crafts area)
Casbah and rue de Belgique
Leather goods, shoes, carpets, textiles.
Marché des Pauvres
Follow rue de la Liberté, and take the first stairs on the right. Very picturesque and colourful market : goods of all sorts.
On the first floor, Weavers' Souk.
Marché de Fès
Rue de Fès
Small covered market where you can find anything : chicken, spices, almonds...
Moroccan nightlife is very limited. Cafés are an exclusively male domain and close around 9pm. Very few establishments have a license to serve alcohol. If you do obtain some, do not drink it in public. Beer is brewed in Tangier under the La Flag Spécial label. Stork is brewed in Casablanca and Fez, and Heineken in Casablanca. There are also three main vineyards in Morocco that produce fine wines. Coffee in Morocco is very strong. It is served with a glass of boiled water. If you want it black, ask for kawa kela. Mint tea is the national drink.
110, rue Sidi-Bouabid 93.73.33
The decor is reminiscent of the colonial past.. Spanish specialities.
(El Minza Hotel)
85, rue de la Liberté 93.58.85 - Fax: 93.45.46
Closed on Mondays
Excellent Moroccan restaurant. Speciality : seafood-stuffed sea bream.
15, rue Ahmed-Chaouki 93.84.51
Speciality : fresh pasta.
20, rue du Mexique 93.80.97
Chic restaurant dedicated to French and Moroccan cuisine.
Rue El Boussouri 93.80.86
Very good restaurant serving specialities of Far-east cuisine.