Tangiers, known as the "gateway to Africa", is one of the most vibrant, mysterious and intriguing cities inMorocco.
Located 60 kilometres from Gibraltar and just 14 kilometers from Spain, it's not entirely Moroccan, European or African; it's a dynamic mix of all three... It has a strong international flavour along with a reputation for inspiring shady deals and attracting foreign misfits.
Over the years, Tangiers has been home to various international playboys, along with many artists, writers and all kinds of adventurers. Truman Capote described Tangiers as the "Ragamuffin city".
Tangiers, or what the Arabs call "Tanja" reached its "peak" during the 1950s when the city was home to some 60,000 ex-pats. People came from all over Europe and the USA, infatuated by its exotic and charming appeal; all in search of the "free life" they could no longer find back home.
Tangiers attracted such literary greats as Oscar Wilde, Andre Gide, Jack Kerouac, Tennessee Williams as well as artists like Henri Matisse, Cecil Beaton and numerous political figures including England?s Winston Churchill.
With its old-world bazaars, makeshift shops, snake charmers, musicians and mosques, Tangiers is a compelling destination.
The Petit Socco, located right in the heart of the city is normally the first stopping point. This is the city's main focus of attention. Then there's the Kasbah area, the 17th-century Dar el-Makhzen and the American Legation museum - a reminder that Morocco was the first country to recognize American Independence.
Other places worth checking out include the white-walled Kasbah and the Sultan's Gardens. The gardens are stunning; a mixture of fragrant herbs and shrubs along with rows of orange and lemon trees - perfect for a romantic stroll.
If you have a car, you should take a day trip up to the High Atlas town of Tineghir. This is unquestionably one of Morocco's most pristine natural sights. It's surround by lush valleys and mud brick huts. There's also the nearby Todra Gorge - an amazing rock structure, some 300m high but only 10m wide at its narrowest point, with a crystal clear river running through it.
Most visitors traveling to either the south or north of Africa will pass through Tangiers. It's the only part of the continent that almost touches Europe. It's an easy excursion for people living on the Costa del Sol, Costa de la Luz or in Gibraltar.
Located at Africa's very northern tip, just 14 kms from Europe, Tangiers is a city of cultural extremes and dynamics; it's like nowhere else on earth - an exotic adventure not to be missed!
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