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Tangier Morocco.......

The historic Medina and defensive Kasbah....

sunny -30 °C

Tangier Kasbah entrance at Place Tabor

Tangier Kasbah entrance at Place Tabor

Tangier Kasbah view from port entrance

Tangier Kasbah view from port entrance

Tangier Kasbah entrance at Place Tabor

Tangier Kasbah entrance at Place Tabor

Tangier Kasbah Museum

Tangier Kasbah Museum

Tangier Kasbah palace courtyard

Tangier Kasbah palace courtyard

Tangier's Kasbah dates back to medieval eras, serving as a place of refuge for inhabitants of the adjacent Medina when threatened by attack and plunder from passing pirates and barbarians, today it assumes a more peaceful scene, only occasionally interrupted by the annoying presence of unofficial guides intent on giving visitors guided tours of the old fort for an extortionate fee, these offers are illegal because the false guides have no guide's licence, official guides wearing a plastic identity card suspended from the neck are available at the tourist office at 29 Boulevard Pasteur.

There are several entrances to the Kasbah, the main vehicular one is off Place du Tabor, leading onto Rue Sultan Riad emerging into the Kasbah Mechouar ( parade ground) here is the former Sultan's palace and now a museum.

By far the most interesting way to reach the Kasbah is from outside the the port entrance through Bab Dbagh leading uphill to the Petit Socco, then a right turn at Cafe Tingis up Avenue des Almohades, it's a steep climb through narrow cobbled streets passing several small squares where streets converge, but eventually arriving at Bab Haha or Bab el Assa, the two gates connecting the Medina to the Kasbah.Tangier, Bab Dbagh

Tangier, Bab Dbagh

Tangier Petit Socco (Zoko Chico)

Tangier Petit Socco (Zoko Chico)

Tangier Medina Rue des Almohades way to the Kasbah

Tangier Medina Rue des Almohades way to the Kasbah

Tangier Kasbah Bab Bahar

Tangier Kasbah Bab Bahar

Tangier Kasbah Bab Assa

Tangier Kasbah Bab Assa

Tangier Kasbah Bab Ha Ha

Tangier Kasbah Bab Ha Ha

Other nearby attractions are the tomb of Ibn Batouta, a 14th century world traveller and the famous Old American Legation, a busy day's explorations but well worth the effort.Tangier American Legation

Tangier American Legation

Tangier Medina, tomb of Ibn Batouta

Tangier Medina, tomb of Ibn Batouta

Tangier Medina,  Bab Fendoq Zraa

Tangier Medina, Bab Fendoq Zraa

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Also, by backtracking through the Kasbah gate at Place du Tabor and following the main road, Rue Assad ibn al Farrat then bearing right into Rue Mohammed Tazi the two thousand year-old Phoenician Necropolis can be reached , and on a clear day presents a superb view across the Gibraltar Strait to Spain.Tangier Phonic tombs entrance

Tangier Phonic tombs entrance

Tangier, Phoenician Necropolis on plateau de Hafa

Tangier, Phoenician Necropolis on plateau de Hafa

Leading off Rue de la Liberte is an interesting shopping experience on "Escalier Waller" an informal flea market on a street staircase, one of several on Tangier's hilly terrain. Many attractive bargains can be found, depending on the shopper's haggling skills!Tangier Escalier Waller street market

Tangier Escalier Waller street market


At the top end of Escalier Waller is one of Tangier's most popular restaurants, Saveur de Poisson, specialising in seafood.....Tangier Restaurant Saveur de Poisson

Tangier Restaurant Saveur de Poisson

Most Moroccans prefer to eat at home from the large communal plate with their families in the evening, but sometimes hunger pangs strike during the day and it's time to find a suitable eatery offering good snacks at budget prices, this small street kitchen at Bab Debagh is popular with the port workers enjoying their pancakes.....

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Another choice can be the fish restaurants on Avenue Mohammed V1 close to the port gate, however these mainly cater for tourists arriving on the hydrofoil ferry from Tarifa, Spain and the menus are adjusted accordingly to match the pockets of foreigners, the price displayed on menu cards is not always the price on the bill!

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But for those "in the know" a cheap quality snack can be found at Eric's Hamburger Shop in the Arcade Mentoubi, opposite the tourist office on Avenue Pasteur, sit in or take away, the menu prices are prominently displayed on overhead neon banners, popular with office workers and late-night revellers alike, large_50465960-c0c8-11e8-9bb8-71891f369970.jpg spilling out of the many nearby discotheques and night clubs, open 24/7.....

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For those demanding a more historical cafe, a suitable venue would be at the west end roundabout of Avenue Pasteur, Cafe de Paris, a long-established upmarket, haunt of world war 2 spies and other well-heeled eccentrics, the interior offers comfortable leather armchairs, but for street level people-watching only wicker chairs are available on the pavement, these fill up quickly towards lunchtime so an early arrival is advisable.

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In recent years a wind of change has blown through old Tangier, there have been many positive changes, one of which has been the redevelopment of the city beach and esplanade along Ave Mohammed V, all the old infamous beach bars have gone to make way for the new marina and the beach itself is now cleaner with camel rides and other recreational activities available, I even spotted a lone quad bike on the beach, perhaps a forerunner of more to come if demand justifies the investment.......

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The old railway line used to run along the top end of the beach parallel to the road, but has now disappeared completely, the only remnant of the railway is the station building "TANGER" at the entrance to the port on Ave Mohammed V, this has now been converted to accommodate ferry ticket agencies and an information centre for the new marina.........

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Another centre of activity is the Grand Socco, also known and mapped as Pl. du 9 Avril 1947, here the Medina borders onto the new city, on the south side is the Rif Cinema and on the opposite side the BMCE bank with Atm, and a clutch of informal restaurants offering not only dinner but also panoramic views from the roof terraces. A more appropriate title for this location might be "hustler central" opposite the bank's Atm an older generation of false guides might try to inveigle the unwary tourist into being accompanied on a tour of the adjacent Medina, ......
large_5d02cfb0-d48e-11e8-b458-fbd8a5daea27.jpglarge_b2d5ca00-d48e-11e8-b458-fbd8a5daea27.jpglarge_e4cdd7a0-d48e-11e8-8b24-6dc82c7b9abd.jpgbut more persistent are waiters bearing menu cards determined to get tourists into their restaurants, altogether, an assault on the senses at lunchtime!

If suffering sensory overload, a quiet peaceful place to retreat to is the nearby St Andrews Anglican church, there are several Christian churches in Tangier but this is the most accessible, if the caretaker is on site a free guided tour of the inside of the church is available, it is also still used for regular Sunday services for Tangier's Christian community. A walk around the surrounding graveyard reveals an interesting insight to the many Europeans who lived in Tangier and are buried here. Outside the front gate is a daily vegetable Souk, where local women bring their various commodities and lay them out for sale..........

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After a satisfactory tour of the city the hunt for precious souvenirs begins, which requires some careful planning, perhaps a visit to the official tourist office at 29 Avenue Pasteur could be one choice, where a licensed guide could be hired for a day or half a day.....

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However, the only drawback of being accompanied by a guide when shopping is that any item purchased will carry a covert surcharge to include the guide's commission, to avoid this additional expense it's entirely possible to make a mental note of anything of interest and return to the shop after the guide has been dismissed at the end of the tour.

One excellent shop for souvenir hunting is Bazar Tindouf, in Rue de la Liberte, opposite the the Hotel Minzah, a veritable "Aladdin's Cave" of antiquities and art works, the proprietor will follow a customer around the shop and answer any enquiries, photography is unrestricted and there is no sales pressure, the shop is closed on Sundays.....

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There are of course many impromptu shopping opportunities to be discovered just by walking around the colourful Medina streets, this one in Rue Sbou.......

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Another street Rue es Siaghine leading from the Petit Socco to the old Jewish Quarter also offers many souvenirs for the tourist....

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There are countless numbers of shops selling leatherware, this one in Rue Dbagh close to the port entrance to the Medina always boasts a colourful display, but price-haggling can be a tiring experience, and shopkeepers have endless patience !......

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Following on Tangier's renaissance from the bad old days when fake guides ruled the roost, there are now tourist map boards appearing at all the main tourist attractions and new street name signs are being erected to assist with orientation. A new deep water port is being constructed to accommodate cruise liners.....

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Until more recent years Tangier's old Medina was a visibly forbidding grimy place for the tourist to explore, fake guides dominated their own territorial "patches" and preyed on gullible lone travellers, at that time local police turned a blind eye to the false guides, using them as a source of small revenue ( Baksheesh bribes) for their cigarette and coffee expenses in return for a tacit no arrest policy, however when the new king Mohammed V1 acceded the throne a wind of change blew through the ancient city, false guides are now on the back foot, ( except at the Kasbah) and many old buildings are being demolished, those which survive have been modernised and given a fresh coat of paint, the main Medina mosque in Rue La Marine is a prime example, along with the 19th century facade on Ave Mohammed V1............

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In the Muslim Arab world in the daily struggle with adversity and penury, the Mantra appears to be " today will take care of itself, and tomorrow Allah, the all-powerful and all-merciful will always provide. "

I noted one example of this philosophy in Tangier's Medina when a local man in obvious need of some new trousers appeared and hustled me for a light for his cigarette, in this instance Allah had not exactly delivered "in spades" regarding the trousers, but at least he was smoking a tailor-made cigarette while his contemporaries had been reduced to smoking strange-smelling roll-ups!

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The Tangier Medina is a shopper's paradise, not only for tourists and day trippers on the ferry from Spain but also locals looking for that elusive bargain Tangier Medina Bazar Bouchta

Tangier Medina Bazar Bouchta

Tangier Medina Rue Sbou

Tangier Medina Rue Sbou

If working up a thirst on a warm Tangier day, out of the Medina off Avenue Pasteur is Lisba Bar, an enduring relic from Tangier's notorious "Interzone decades".....friendly clientele and the cheapest cold beers in town, the bar was once owned by an Englishman, reflected in the period wood interior decor and furnishings, with a deer's head and antlers mounted on the wall opposite the bar.Tangier, Lisba bar

Tangier, Lisba bar

Tangier, Lisba bar in the quiet of early evening....

Tangier, Lisba bar in the quiet of early evening....

Tangier, Lisba Bar, Ateefa the hostess

Tangier, Lisba Bar, Ateefa the hostess

Tangier Lisba Bar home of Flag and Stork beers

Tangier Lisba Bar home of Flag and Stork beers

Posted by Bennytheball 07:41 Archived in Morocco Tagged tangier Comments (0)

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