Tangier Tourist Attractions
Tangier has been called the Gateway to Morocco and has been designated as the country's summer capital by King Hassan II. Overlooking the Straits of Gibraltar with a view of Spain's southern coast, Tangier is set on a bay and has been a magnet for travelers for millennia.
According to Greek mythology Tangier, or Tingi, was founded by the giant Anteus. Tingi is mentioned by Carthagenian travelers as early as 500 B.C. and is known to have been visited earlier by Phoenician sailors. After the destruction of Carthage, Tingi was affiliated with the Berber kingdom of Mauretania. It then became an autonomous state under Roman protection, eventually becoming a Roman colony in the A.D. third century during the reign of Diocletian, and ending as the capital of Mauretania Tingitana. In the fifth century Vandals conquered and occupied Tingi and from here swept across North Africa.A century later Tingi became part of the Byzantine Empire and gradually fell into obscurity until the city's capture by Moussa bin Nasser during the first years of the eighth century. The city's inhabitants were converted to Islam but many Berber tribes joined the schismatic Kharijite rebellion and seized the port city in 739. When Moulay Idris I established his kingdom at Volubilis in 788, Tangier became a focal point in the struggle between the Idrissid dynasty and the Umayyads. This struggle continued until the Fatimid dynasty from Tunisia assumed power in 958.Tangier came under the successive sway of the Almoravides and Almohades, after which the city fell under the influence of the Tunisian Hafsid dynasty before passing into the hands of the Merinids. By the 14th century Tangier became a major Mediterranean port frequented by European trading vessels bringing cloth, spices, metals and hunting birds in exchange for leather, wool, carpets, cereals and sugar. After an unsuccessful attempt to seize Tangier in 1437 the Portuguese finally conquered and occupied the city in 1471, converting the great mosque into a cathedral. For nearly three centuries the town was passed back and forth between the Spanish, Portuguese and finally the English, when it was given to Charles II as part of the dowry from Catherine of Braganza.The English granted Tangier a charter which made the city equal to English towns. In 1679 Moulay Ismail made an unsuccessful attempt to seize the town but maintained a crippling blockade which ultimately led to a British retreat. However, the British destroyed the town and its port facilities prior to their departure. Under Moulay Ismail the city was reconstructed to some extent but the city gradually declined until by 1810 the population was no more than 5,000. Tangier began to revive from the mid-19th century when European colonial governments fought for influence over Morocco.
Museum of Moroccan Arts
The Museum of Moroccan Arts is housed in the prince's apartments of Dar el Makhzen. Built in the 17th century in the Tangier kasbah, it was originally the governor's palace.The north of the country is represented by firearms decorated with marquetry and pottery bearing motifs of flowers or feathers.The Fes room contains silks and illustrated manuscripts as well as centuries-old dishes decorated from golden yellow to the famous "Fes blue".
Address: Dar el Makhzen, Place de la Kasbah, Morocco
Opening hours: 9:30am-12pm, 1pm-5:30pm; Closed: Tue
Museum of Antiquities - The Voyage of Venus
The Museum of Antiquities is home to the famous mosaic known as the "The Voyage of Venus" which depicts a goddess with a group of nymphs on a ship. The museum also includes Moroccan bronzes and mosaics from the Roman sites of Lixus, Cotta, Banasa and Volubilis.In room III, which is devoted to antique funeral rites, stands an amazing life-size model of a Carthaginian tomb, along with a group of small lead sarcophagi and a child's tomb buried in a clay jar.An Andalusian garden has a reproduction of an antique necropolis.
Museum of Antiquities - Bronzes and Mosaics
The former kitchens of the Dar El Makhzen palace contain bronzes and mosaics from the Roman sites of Lixus, Cotta, Banasa and Volubilis. The last was where the famous mosaic "The Voyage of Venice" was found.The history of Tangier and region is told on the first floor. In Room III stands a life-size model of a Carthaginian tomb, amid small lead sarcophagi and a child's tomb in a clay jar.
United States Legation
This museum traces the history of the relationship between the United States and Morocco. As Morocco was one of the first countries to recognize its independence, the U.S. established its legation in Tangier in 1821. It is the only historical monument to have remained in American possession since the birth of the American nation. On display is a letter from George Washington to Mouilay Abdallah, a collection of mirrors and works by Lecouteux and Ben Ali R'Bati, the first Moroccan "naif" painter.
Cape Malabata in one of the promontories projecting into the waters of the two seas. It looks towards the rising sun and is to be visited in the glow of the pre-dawn sky. The other is Cape Spartel which looks towards the Atlantic and the setting sun.
Cape Spartel in one of the two promontories projecting into the waters of the two seas. It looks towards the Atlantic and the setting sun. It is covered with rock-roses and cork-oaks. It is to be visited at dusk when the horizon is pink.The other promontory is Cape Malabata which looks towards the rising sun.
Gran Teatro de Cervantes
This theater was built when the Spaniards formed the largest non-Moroccan community in Tangier. Opened in 1913, the theater enjoyed its popularity in the interwar years. The building is now being restored with Spanish funding. The dazzling Art Deco facade is very impressive.
St Andrew's church was consecrated in 1905 on ground donated by the Sultan Moulay al-Hassan in the 1880s. People buried at this church include: Emily Kean, an English woman who introduced vaccination to Morocco and Walter Harris who was a British journalist and a military advisor to the sultans.
Forbes Museum of Military Miniatures
American billionaire Malcolm Forbes brought together more than 115,000 lead soldiers. These figures re-enact the major battles of history, from Waterloo to Dien Bien Phu. In the garden 600 statuettes bear homage to the Battle of the Three Kings.
The Grand Socco (the great souk) was once full of life, but still remains a busy place especially on Thursday and Sunday when Riffian peasants come to market. It is the center of things and the link between the medina and the new city.
Musee d'Art Contemporain
Terrace of the Idle
From the Terrasse des Paresseux look out at the spectacular view which has captivated so many artists. The harbor, the green and blue waters of Gibraltar and Andalusia in the distance.
This is the core of the new city and has been unchanged since the 1930s. There is an area with cafes and patisseries, a lively market that sells food, household products and all sorts of bits and bobs.
The Grand Mosque is said to have been the site of a Roman temple and at one time housed a church built by the Portuguese. The building itself is quite small.
The Marshan is situated on an elevated plateau where the rich once maintained their villas. It has remained somewhat unchanged and is home to many expatriates.
The Mendoubia gardens is a quite place to find shade beneath the centuries-old fig and dragon trees. There also stand 30 bronze canons in this garden.
The medina is the old city of Tangier.
The kasbah is built on the highest point of the city and is isolated from the rest of the medina by its walls. The gate opens onto a large courtyard which leads to the Dar el-Makhzem, the former sultan's palace and now home to the Museum of Moroccan Art and the Museum of Antiquities. Both are known as the Kasbah Museum.
The Kasbah is on the highest point of Tangier and is isolated from the rest of the Medina by its walls. The gate opens to the courtyard which leads to the palace museum devoted to Moroccan art. There is also a small archeological collection where most of the exhibits came from Volubilis.The palace was built in the 17th century and enlarged later by sultans. The carved wooden ceilings and a marble courtyard enhance the beauty of this palace.The Cafe Detroit on the second floor became famous for the trance musicians who played here in the 1960s. Musicians still play here while tourists drink mint tea and sing songs.Wealthy foreigners own most of the houses inside the Kasbah.
The Petit Socco is the center of Tangier's medina. It has cafes and restaurants that you can sit for hours sipping tea and people watching. The pension houses the local brothel and this area is still reminiscent of its "sleazy" past.
Church of Immaculate Conception
The Church of the Immaculate Conception was built in 1880 by the Spanish. At that time, the Spanish made up one fifth of the population. This church is now closed.
Map of Tangier Attractions