Tangier – Confluence of Africa and Europe
At the junction where Africa meets Europe, there stands a port town called Tangier. Tangier is Africa’s gateway to Europe, and is situated at the confluence of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, standing tall over the Strait of Gibraltar and the neighboring European country Spain.
Over the years, Tangier has been colonized or ruled by various entities – the Romans, the Arabs, the Portuguese and many more. Needless to say, the cross-cultural influences are evident till date. There was a time when Tangier was literally a free zone, and controlled by several European states. There was unrestricted movement of people, and illegal activities could be openly undertaken. But today, this two millennium old city is today an industrial hub and an important port for the Moroccans.
After King Mohammed VI took over the reigns in 1999, Tangier started experiencing a massive facelift. The port became an important source of foreign income, historic structures started seeing restoration for both touristy and heritage preservation purposes, and work is currently on to install a high speed train line. Today, in spite of being a port destination, the major source of Tangier’s income is tourism.
Despite the urbanization and modernization, Tangier has preserved its café culture and the beaches. These two things single handedly attract a bulk of western tourists who want to indulge in good aromatic coffee and unwind at the beach, European style. In fact, there is one more thing that draws them in – it is the only electro music festival of Tangier, called Nuits Sonores Tanger.
Tangier deserves 24 hours of your time, because there are some unique sights and experiences to have had here. Here are a few must visit places that you should cover –
- Kasbah: The Kasbah of Tangier is situated at a height. Once you reach the top, you will get the most picturesque view of the Strait of Gibraltar as well as Spain’s southernmost tip Malaga.
- Souk: The entire country of Morocco is famous for the street side marketplaces, or souks, as they are called. Native artisans, chefs, and shop-keepers setup their stores here. It’s a perfect place to enjoy the native cuisine, shop for some souvenirs, and smell some traditional perfumes! The Souk in Tangier may smell of meat, but you should continue to talk and not pay much attention in those stretches.
- Medina: The Medina’s entrance and exit both marked by a mosque. The lanes are narrow but interesting, and the whitewashed houses are a sight to behold. You can even check out the Sultan’s Palace while you are walking in those narrow alleys of Tangier.
There are lots of other places to visit and see in Tangier. There’s the magnificent Church of St. Andrew which stands as a testament of brotherhood between two different faiths Islam and Christianity. You can spend your evenings at the beaches, and finally retire with a great cup of coffee at the local cafes.