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TANGIER (Morocco)


Tangier At the crossroads of civilisation, where the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic Ocean, Tangier flaunts its magnificent bay below lush green hills. From the "Place de la Kasbah", the highest point in the medina, you can visit the sultan's palace where every aspect of moroccan art can be seen in the rooms round the courtyard. Or you can stroll down alleyways of the medina to the terrace overlooking the straits of Gibraltar. Close by, various excursions can be made including Cape Spartel -the extreme north- westerly point of Africa, close to the famous Caves of Hercules and Cape Malabata.

Its strategic position making it a crossroads of the civilisations, Tangier, gateway to the African continent, looks across at Europe from the shores of Atlantic and Mediterranean alike. As a meeting point of routes to so many different destination, Phoenicians, Berbers, Portuguese and Spaniards had all left their indelible mark on the city before it passed into Moroccan hands.

As do most of the Kingdoms towns, Tangier, the White City, possesses its Medina, the old Arab town containing a pair of picturesque markets : the Grand Socco and the Petit Socco (the Spanish word for "souk").

And apart from the well-known journalist Joseph Kessel, who in 1952 devoted a remarkable book "To the Grand Socco", a whole host of other great names from the world of the arts have been captivated by the sights and sounds of the city on the Straits. Many have spent long periods there, some have even made it their home. The rattle and hum of the Grand Socco bas entranced all who watched" .. from morning to evening, the vendors, the customers and the plain curious milling around in sun and wind among the hundred colours of canopy and thousand tongues at work..."

Tangier is also renowned for the Mendoubia gardens, with their eight-hundred-year-old trees, the Sidi Bouabid Mosque, its minaret decorated with multi-hued faiences dominating the Medina, the Kasbah Square with its portico of white marble columns, and the great Mechouar where the pashas were once wont to give audience. The status of international free zone which the city enjoyed for a number of years added to Tangier's celebrity, and it bas become an obligatory stop-off for any tourist in search of the real Morocco.


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