Tangier: Wikis


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طنجة Ṭanja
Tangier is located in Morocco
Location in Morocco
Coordinates: 35°46′N 5°48′W / 35.767°N 5.8°W / 35.767; -5.8
Country Flag of Morocco.svg Morocco
Region Tangier-Tétouan
Population (2008)
 - Total 700,000

Tangier or Tangiers [pronounce[1]] (Ṭanja طنجة in Berber and Arabic, Tánger in Spanish, Tânger in Portuguese, and Tanger in French) is a city of northern Morocco with a population of about 700,000 (2008 census). It lies on the North African coast at the western entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar where the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Spartel. It is the capital of the Tangier-Tétouan Region.

The history of Tangier is very rich due to the historical presence of many civilizations and cultures starting from the 5th century BC. Between the period of being a Phoenician town to the independence era around the 1950s, Tangier was a place —and, sometimes a refuge— for many cultural diversities. However, it wasn't until 1923 that Tangier was attributed an international status by foreign colonial powers, thus becoming a destination for many Europeans and non-Europeans alike such as Americans and Indians.

Nowadays, the city is undergoing rapid development and modernization. Projects include new 5-star hotels along the bay, a modern business district called Tangier City Center, a new airport terminal and a new soccer stadium. Tangier's economy will also benefit greatly from the new Tanger-med port.



The modern Tanjah (Anglicised as Tangier) is an ancient Berber and Phoenician town, founded by Carthaginian colonists in the early 5th century BC. Its name is possibly derived from the Berber goddess Tinjis (or Tinga), and it remains an important city for the Berbers. Ancient coins call it Tenga, Tinga, and Titga with Greek and Latin authors giving numerous variations of the name.

According to Berber mythology, the town was built by Sufax, son of Tinjis, the wife of the Berber hero Änti (Greek Antaios, Latin Antaeus). The Greeks ascribed its foundation to the giant Antaios, whose tomb and skeleton are pointed out in the vicinity, calling Sufax the son of Hercules by the widow of Antaeus. The cave of Hercules, a few miles from the city, is a major tourist attraction. It is believed that Hercules slept there before attempting one of his twelve labours.

The commercial town of Tingis came under Roman rule in the course of the 1st century BC, first as a free city and then, under Augustus, a colony (Colonia Julia, under Claudius), capital of Mauritania Tingitana of Hispania. It was the scene of the martyrdoms of Saint Marcellus of Tangier. In the 5th century AD, Vandals conquered and occupied "Tingi" and from here swept across North Africa. A century later (between 534 and 682), Tangier fell back into Roman empire, before coming under Arab (Umayyad) control in 702. Due to its Christian past it is still a titular see of the Roman Catholic Church.[2]

The American Legation courtyard

Tangier was ruled by Umayyads, Abbasids, Idrisids, Fatimids, Caliphate of Cordoba, Maghrawa Emirate, Almoravids, Almohads, Marinids and Kingdom of Fez before Portuguese conquest. When the Portuguese started their expansion in Morocco, by taking Ceuta in 1415, Tangier was always a primary goal. They failed to capture the city in 1437 but finally occupied it in 1471. The Portuguese rule (including Spanish rule between 1580–1640) lasted until 1661, when it was given to Charles II of England as part of the dowry from the Portuguese Infanta Catherine of Braganza. The English gave the city a garrison and a charter which made it equal to English towns. The English planned to improve the harbour by building a mole. With an improved harbour the town would have played the same role that Gibraltar later played in British naval strategy. The mole cost £340,000 and reached 1436 feet long, before being blown up during the evacuation.[3]

In 1679, Sultan Moulay Ismail of Morocco made an unsuccessful attempt to seize the town but imposed a crippling blockade which ultimately forced the English to withdraw. The English destroyed the town and its port facilities prior to their departure in 1684. Under Moulay Ismail the city was reconstructed to some extent, but it gradually declined until, by 1810, the population was no more than 5,000.

The United States dedicated its first consulate in Tangier during the George Washington administration.[4] In 1821, the Legation Building in Tangier became the first piece of property acquired abroad by the U.S. government—a gift to the U.S. from Sultan Moulay Suliman. It was bombarded by the French Prince de Joinville in 1844.

Garibaldi lived in exile at Tangier in late 1849 and the first half of 1850, following the fall of the revolutionary Roman Republic.

Tangier's geographic location made it a centre for European diplomatic and commercial rivalry in Morocco in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. By the opening of the 20th century it had a population of about 40,000, including 20,000 Muslims (with Berbers predominating over Arabs), 10,000 Jews, and 9,000 Europeans (of whom 7,500 were Spanish). The city was increasingly coming under French influence, and it was here in 1905 that Kaiser Wilhelm II triggered an international crisis that almost led to war between his country and France by pronouncing himself in favour of Morocco's continued independence.

In 1912, Morocco was effectively partitioned between France and Spain, the latter occupying the country's far north (called Spanish Morocco) and a part of Moroccan territory in the south, while France declared a protectorate over the remainder. The last Sultan of independent Morocco, Moulay Hafid, was exiled to the Sultanate Palace in the Tangier Kasbah after his forced abdication in favour of his brother Moulay Yusef. Tangier was made an international zone in 1923 under the joint administration of France, Spain, and Britain, joined by Italy, Portugal and Belgium in 1928. The International zone of Tangiers had a surface of 373 square kilometers and, by 1939, a population of about 60,000 inhabitants[5] After a period of effective Spanish control from 1940 to 1945 during World War II, the statute of 1923 was officially restored on August 31, 1945.[6] Tangier joined with the rest of Morocco following the restoration of full sovereignty in 1956.

Ecclesiastical history


Tangier was a Roman Catholic titular see of former Mauretania Tingitana. Originally the city was part of the larger province of Mauretania Caesariensis, which included much of Northern Africa. Later the area was subdivided, with the eastern part keeping the former name and the newer part receiving the name of Mauretania Tingitana. (Thus one official list of the Roman Curia places it in Mauretania Caesarea).

Towards the end of the third century, Tangier was the scene of the martyrdom of Saint Marcellus of Tangier, mentioned in the Roman Martyrology on 30 October, and of St. Cassian, mentioned on 3 December. It is not known whether it was a diocese in ancient times.

Under the Portuguese domination, it was a suffragan of Lisbon and, in 1570, was united to the diocese of Ceuta. Six of its bishops are known, the first, who did not reside in his see, in 1468. In the protectorate era of Morocco Tangier was the residence of the prefect Apostolic of Morocco, which mission was in charge of the Friars Minor. It had a Catholic church, several chapels, schools, and a hospital. The city is a host of the Anglican church of Saint Andrew.

Espionage history

Tangier has been reputed as a safe house for international spying activities.[7] Its position during the Cold War and other spying periods of the 19th and 20th century is legendary.

Tangier acquired the reputation of a spying and smuggling centre and attracted foreign capital due to political neutrality and commercial liberty at that time. It was via a British bank in Tangiers that the Bank of England in 1943 for the first time obtained samples of the high-quality forged British currency produced by the Nazis in "Operation Bernhard".

The city has also been a subject for many spy fiction books and films. (See Tangier in popular culture below).


A painting by Louis Comfort Tiffany depicting a market outside of the walls of Tangier.

The multicultural placement of Muslim, Christian, and Jewish communities and the foreign immigrants attracted writers like Paul Bowles, William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Tennessee Williams, Brion Gysin and the music group the Rolling Stones, who all lived in or visited Tangier during different periods of the 20th century.

It was after Delacroix that Tangier became an obligatory stop for artists seeking to experience the colors and light he spoke of for themselves - with varying results. Matisse made several sojourns in Tangier, always staying at the Hotel Villa de France. "I have found landscapes in Morocco," he claimed, "exactly as they are described in Delacroix's paintings." The Californian artist Richard Diebenkorn was directly influenced by the haunting colors and rhythmic patterns of Matisse’s Morocco paintings.

In the 1940s and until 1956 when the city was an International Zone, the city served as a playground for eccentric millionaires, a meeting place for secret agents and all kinds of crooks, and a mecca for speculators and gamblers, an Eldorado for the fun-loving "Haute Volée". During World War II the Office of Strategic Services operated out of Tangier for various operations in North Africa.[8]

Around the same time, a circle of writers emerged which was to have a profound and lasting literary influence. This included Paul Bowles, Tennessee Williams and Jean Genet as well as Mohamed Choukri (one of North Africa's most controversial and widely read authors), Abdeslam Boulaich, Larbi Layachi, Mohammed Mrabet and Ahmed Yacoubi. Among the best known works from this period is Choukri's For Bread Alone. Originally written in Classical Arabic, the English edition was the result of close collaboration with Bowles (who worked with Choukri to provide the translation and supplied the introduction). Tennessee Williams described it as 'a true document of human desperation, shattering in its impact.' Independently, William S. Burroughs' Naked Lunch was written in Tangier and the book's locale of Interzone is an allusion to the city.

After several years' gradual disentanglement from Spanish and French colonial control, Morocco reintegrated the city of Tangier at the signing of the Tangier Protocol on October 29, 1956. Tangier remains a very popular tourist destination for cruise ships and day visitors from Spain and Gibraltar.


A satellite image of Tangier

For main article see Economy of Tangier

Tangier is Morocco's second most important industrial center after Casablanca. The industrial sectors are diversified: textile, chemical, mechanical, metallurgical and naval. Currently, the city has four industrial parks of which two have the status of free economic zone (see Tangier Free Zone).

Tangier's economy relies heavily on tourism. Seaside resorts have been increasing with projects funded by foreign investments. Real estate and construction companies have been investing heavily in tourist infrastructures. A bay delimiting the city center extends for more than seven kilometers. The years 2007 and 2008 will be particularly important for the city because of the completion of large construction projects currently being built. These include the Tangier-Mediterranean port ("Tanger-med") and its industrial parks, a 45,000-seat sports stadium, an expanded business district, and a renovated tourist infrastructure.


Agriculture in the area of Tangier is tertiary and mainly cereal.

The infrastructure of this city of the strait of Gibraltar consists of a port that manages flows of goods and travellers (more than one million travelers per annum) and integrates a marina with a fishing port.

Artisanal trade in the old medina (old city) specializes mainly in leather working, handicrafts made from wood and silver, traditional clothing, and shoes of Moroccan origin.

The city has seen a fast pace of rural exodus from other small cities and villages. The population has quadrupled during the last 25 years (1 million inhabitants in 2007 vs. 250,000 in 1982). This phenomenon has resulted in the appearance of peripheral suburban districts, mainly inhabited by poor people, that often lack sufficient infrastructure.

The city's postcode is 90 000.

New Developments

New developments include a new terminal at the airport, a football stadium seating 69,000 spectators, a high-speed train, and a business district called Tangier City Center.

Notable landmarks

Grand Socco
American Legation entrance
Tangier mint tea at hafa café


A railroad line connects the city with Rabat, Casablanca and Marrakech in the south and Fès and Oujda in the east. The service is operated by ONCF. The Rabat-Tanger expressway connects Tangier to Fès via Rabat (250 km) and Settat via Casablanca (330 km). Another expressway will connect the city with Tanger-med. The Ibn Batouta International Airport (also known as Tangier-Boukhalef) is located 15 km south-west of the city center.

The new Tanger-med port is managed by the Danish firm A. P. Moller-Maersk Group and will free up the old port for tourist and recreational development.

Tangier's Ibn Batouta International Airport and the rail tunnel will serve as the gateway to the "Moroccan Riviera" the coast between Tangier and Oujda. Traditionally the north coast was an impoverished and underdeveloped region of Morocco but it has some of the best beaches on the Mediterranean and is likely to see rapid development.

The Tangier-Boukhalef Airport is being expanded and will become larger with more flights. Easyjet flies to Tangier from Paris and Madrid, and will soon fly via London. Ryanair flies from Milan, Marseille, Brussels and Madrid. The biggest Airlines at the Airport Atlas Blue (Royal Air Maroc) flies from 7 cities to Tangier, from Barcelona, Amsterdam, Brussels, London Gatwick and Heathrow, Paris Orly and CDG, Madrid and Casablanca. In addition, a TGV high-speed train system is being built. It will take a few years to complete, and will become the fastest train system in North Africa.


Arabic is the official language, but eight other languages are also spoken including Berber, French and Spanish. English is generally understood in the tourist areas, but French is the most widely spoken.


Tangier offers five different types of educational systems: Arabic, American, French, Spanish and English. Each of these systems offer classes starting from Pre-Kindergarten up to the 12th grade, Baccalaureat, or High school diploma.

Many universities are located both inside and outside the city. Universities like the "Institut Superieur Internationale de Tourisme" (ISIT), which is a school that offers diplomas in various departments, offer courses ranging from business administration to hotel management. The institute is among one of the most prestigious tourism schools in the country. Other colleges such as the "Ecole Nationale de Commerce et de Gestion" (ENCG-T) is among the biggest business schools in the country as well as "Ecole Nationale des Sciences appliquées" (ENSA-T), a rising engineering school for applied sciences.

Primary Education

There are more than a hundred Moroccan primary schools, each dispersed randomly in the city.

International Primary Institutions

  • Ecole Adrien Berchet
  • Colegio Ramon y Cajal (Spanish primary school)
  • English College of Tangier

International High Schools

  • Lycée Regnault (French High School)
  • Instituto Severo Ochoa (Spanish High School)
  • English College of Tangier
  • Mohammed Fatih Turkish School of Tangier

Tangier in popular culture

Tangier was the subject of many artistic works, including novels, films and music.

The flag of the Tangier province.


  • Silent Day in Tangiers by Tahar Ben Jelloun.
  • "Streetwise" by Mohamed Choukri
  • Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs - relates some of the author's experiences in Tangier. (See also Naked Lunch (film))
  • America by Allen Ginsberg
  • Desolation Angels by Jack Kerouac relates him living with William Burroughs and other Beat writers in Tangier.
  • Interzone by Burroughs - It talks about a fictionalized version of Tangier called Interzone.
  • Let It Come Down is Paul Bowles's second novel, first published in 1952
  • The Loom of Youth by Alec Waugh - a controversial semi-autobiographical novel relating homosexual experiences of the author in the city of Tangier.
  • Two Tickets to Tangier by Francis Van Wyck Mason, an American novelist and historian
  • Modesty Blaise; a fictional character in a comic strip of the same name and a series of books created by Peter O'Donnell - In 1945 a nameless girl escaped from a displaced person (DP) camp in Karylos, Greece. She took control of a criminal gang in Tangier and expanded it to international status as "The Network". After dissolving The Network and moving to England she maintained a house on a hillside above Tangier and many scenes in the books and comic strips are located here.
  • Carpenter's World Travels: From Tangier to Tripoli - a Frank G. Carpenter travel guide (1927)
  • The Thief's Journal by Jean Genet - Includes the protagonist's experiments in negative morality in Tangier (1949)
  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  • The Crossroads of the Medterranean by Henrik de Leeuw- chronicles the author's journey through Morocco and Tunisia in the early 1950s and includes many pages describing Tangier, notably the Petit Socco as a food market with mountain dwellers (the jebli) selling their produce and 'the street of male harlots', where they ply 'their shameful trade'.
  • The Gold Bug Variations by Richard Powers
  • The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain includes a mixed bag of comments on his visit to Tangier, ending with: "I would seriously recommend to the Government of the United States that when a man commits a crime so heinous that the law provides no adequate punishment for it, they make him Consul-General to Tangier."
  • Seed by Mustafa Mutabaruka - An African American dancer struggling with the death of his father meets an enigmatic young woman and her companion in Tangier.


  • Antaeus (magazine) was first published in Tangier by Daniel Halpern and Paul Bowles before being shifted to New York
  • Tangier Gazette was founded by William Augustus Bird (aka Bill Bird) in Tangier


A view of Bay of Tangier at sunset as seen from the Malabata suburb.



People born in Tangier

People who settled or sojourned in Tangier

People who died in Tangier


  • One of the Lathyrus tingitanus plants is called Tangier Pea.
  • As a great collector of toy soldiers, the American billionaire and publisher of Forbes magazine Malcolm Forbes brought together a total of 115,000 models in what was the Forbes Museum of Tangier. These figures re-enacted the major battles of history; from Waterloo to Dien Bien Phû, realistically recreated with lighting and sound effects. Entire armies stand on guard in the showcases, while in the garden, 600 statuettes bear silent homage to the Battle of Three Kings. The museum was closed after the death of Malcolm Forbes and is now used by the Moroccan government as a private residence for visiting dignitaries.
  • One of the inherited disorders of bloodstream is called the Tangier disease, albeit named for Tangier Island, which was named for Tangier.
  • The name tangerine comes from Tangier from which the first tangerines were shipped to Europe. The adjective tangerine, "from Tangier", was already an English word (first recorded in 1710).
  • The poem called "Herb's Herbs" of unknown origin describes a capitonym:
A herb store owner, name of Herb, Moved to a rainier Mount Rainier.
It would have been so nice in Nice, And even tangier in Tangier.


  • Tanjazz - An annual international Jazz festival.
  • Festival National du Film - An annual Moroccan film festival (8th edition in 2006).
  • Le Festival International de Théâtre Amateur - An international amateur theater festival.


Town twinning

See also

References and notes

  1. ^ The name Tangier is pronounced, in the English manner, as "Tan-jeer" or in the French manner, as "Tahn-jer" depending on regional accent.
  2. ^  "Tingis". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913. http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Catholic_Encyclopedia_(1913)/Tingis. 
  3. ^ E.M.G. Routh — Tangier: England's lost Atlantic outpost, 1912; M.Elbl, “(Re)claiming Walls: The Fortified Médina of Tangier under Portuguese Rule (1471-1661) and as a Modern Heritage Artefact," Portuguese Studies Review 15 (1-2) (2007; publ. 2009): 103-192.
  4. ^ Power, Faith, and Fantasy: In the beginning, for America, was the Middle East, Matt Buckingham, Wweek, February 14, 2007.
  5. ^ "City states". http://countries-cities.generalanswers.org/. Retrieved 2008-09-21. 
  6. ^ text of the Final Act of the Conference Concerning the Reestablishment of the International Regime in Tangier, Department of State Bulletin, October 21, 1945, pp. 613-618
  7. ^ Pennell, C. R. (1999). "Wars: The second World War in Morocco". Morocco since 1830: A History. New York University Press. pp. 257. ISBN 1-8506-5426-3. 
  8. ^ The American Legation at Tangier, Morocco
  9. ^ The Guardian, 28 April 2008

External links

Coordinates: 35°46′N 5°48′W / 35.767°N 5.8°W / 35.767; -5.8

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Tangier (طنجة) is an important port city in Morocco.


Tangier is a fascinating Moroccan city to visit. It has many of the things that travellers love--a sense of exotic mystery, interesting history, beautiful vistas, unspoiled beaches, and friendly people.

Tangier is an interesting mix of north Africa, Spain, and France. It is located in northern Morocco, and was under joint international control until 1956. Tangier is separated from Spain only by the 20 miles of the Strait of Gibraltar.

Frequent ferries make the short crossing from Europe each day, and many cruise ships sailing between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic often include Tangier as a port of call.

Get in

By plane

Tangier-Boukhalef Airport (TNG) is located 12 km (7.5 miles) from the city (travel time about 20 minutes). Taxi 100 Dh (10€) from Tangier, 150 Dh (15€) at night or from the airport to Tangier. At present Royal Air Maroc, British Airways, Easyjet, Ryanair, Iberia, and Regional Airlines fly here. All persons entering or leaving Morocco are required to complete an entry/exit card.

Coming in by plane is the easiest and hassle free way of coming to Tangier: there are no touts at the airport and the prices of the taxis are more or less fixed. Beware of long queues at passport controls before flights bound for the Schengen area.

By rail

ONCF opened a new train station, Tanger Ville, in 2003, which is now the end of the line. While it's closer to the city center than Tanger Morora, the original end-of-the-line, it's still quite a long walk so take a petit taxi for 15dhs or so.

The country has an excellent railway system with 1,893km (1,176mi) of track and a fine intercity passenger service utilizing 669,637 passenger cars. Overnight train services running throughout Europe can connect with Morocco. Most of the time, non stop trains are fine but those which are not direct sometimes make unscheduled stops en route but do not panic as you will reach your destination eventually.

There is a night-train leaving from Tangier to Marrakesh at 9:05PM costing 350 Dirhams for a couchette. There is a daily Train service to Fez for 155 Dirhams for a first class fare (5 hour journey)

When travelling overnight by train, it is usually cheaper to buy a couchette ticket than a first class ticket.

By car or motorcycle

When coming into Tangier by car, be careful of hustlers on motorbikes who will ride alongside you and attempt all manner of dodginess.

You can come by car by ferry from Algeciras and Tarifa in Spain or through the Spanish enclave of Ceuta (reached by ferry from Algeciras and ports in Spain). The ferry crossing varies from 1 hour to 3 hours. Shortest and cheapest will be from Tarifa to/from Tangier taking around 40 min. Tarifa is probably the most laid-back option as far as ports are concerned.

Coming by car or motorcycle can be a daunting process especially if you are new to Morocco. You have to complete a temporary import form for the customs ("Douane" in French). Sometimes this is done on the ferry (usually in the busy summer months) and at other times at arrival in Tangier. Like at the airport all persons entering Morocco also have to complete an entry/exit card. The Police and the Customs will both search your car - often not together so you need to be patient.

In recent years, things have improved considerably for tourists and you are not likely to be bothered too much but you will have to go through all the formalities of bringing your car into Morocco like everyone else. You can only bring your car in for 6 months in any one year. You are not allowed to leave it in Morocco unless you are prepared to pay the tax for the car which can be up to three times the actual cost of the car. This applies even if your car breaks, but if your car is written off, you will need to notify the customs authorities to avoid paying tax on a car as an import. There are strict regulations on bringing a car. For example, customs will not allow someone else to the leave the country with a car entered under someone else's name. Exceptions applied for relatives.

You must have "green card" insurance for your vehicle when driving/riding in Morocco. You can get this insurance from many companies in Europe, or in Morocco at the port in Tangiers. If you are stopped, you must show this insurance to the police. (Police have had a recent directive not to hassle tourists, so you may not be stopped at all, but still you'd better have the insurance in the unlikely event of an accident.) If you do not have insurance from your home country, then local insurance can be purchased at small insurance booths situated at the port. The insurance companies are reasonably reputable and will pay out if you have an accident. Note that this insurance policy has limitations and you are likely to have much more comprehensive cover from insurers from your own country. Most European insurers will cover Morocco and many include it under their standard level of European cover.

Contact details for Moroccan customs (Douane) are:

Administration des Douanes et Impôts Indirects,
Avenue Annakhil, Centre des Affaires, Hay Riad, Rabat
Tél : +212 (0)537717800/01 - +212 (0)537579000
Fax : +212 (0)537717814/15
Email : adii@douane.gov.ma
Web site: [1]

It's recommended to contact the above authority, if needed, in either Arabic or French.

Motorcyclists will benefit from the vast amount of information in the Morocco Knowledge base for BMW GS'ers in the UK. [2]

If you have problems with your motorcycle in Morocco, Peter at Bikers Home [3] in Ouarzazate can help you get it back in working condition or by trailer to a ferry back to Europe.

By bus

Tangier has two long distance bus stations. The first, at the CTM offices near the port, is the arrival point of most CTM buses. Some other CTM buses, and those from other companies, arrive at the station on Place Jamia el-Arabia.

  • C.T.M. - Place d’ Espagne. Gare routière - Tel. 00212 (0)39 931 172 - CTM website
  • TRAMESA , 29. Av. Youssef Ben Tacheffine. Tel. 00212 (0)39 943 348 - Tramesa website

By boat

The port is located beside the Medina, and a few hundred metres from the ville nouvelle. Although the government has been partially successful in reducing the number of touts, money changers, taxi drivers and faux guides hassling people arriving by boat, expect to be mobbed. Look like you know where you're going, politely refuse any offers of help or ignore the "the fake guides" completely, or if you really feel like you need to escape jump in a taxi to escape the throng; just make sure that the taxi driver is no worse than the mob you are trying to escape. The taxi rank is inside the port area - you are likely to be mobbed by requests from many drivers. There is no queuing system - just take the taxi which you have agreed a fare with and are comfortable with. The blue coloured petit taxis are substantially cheaper and used more by locals and are preferable to the cream coloured grande taxis who are mostly unmetered. The grande taxis generally also will still try and charge you more even if you have agreed price, be insistent and get all your change back.

There are many boats daily (almost hourly between 7am-9pm) from Algeciras or Tarifa in Spain (about 35 Euros one way, as of November 2009). Some are very slow (takings 2.5 hours one way), while faster boats take 1.5 hour one way), but the prices for fast and slow boats are the same. Passengers should be aware that the boats often run slower than the advertized time (because they depart later than scheduled time or simply take longer to get across). So give yourself an ample time cushion (1 hour minimum) if you plan to catch another transportation after you get off the ferry. For example, one speed catamaran between Tangier and Tarifa advertizes one hour travel time between Tanger and Algeciras on their brochure (35-minute boat travel between Tangier and Tarifa, then 15-minute bus travel from Tarifa to Algeciras), but in reality, this trip will take over 2 hours. Example: the boat frequently leave later (by 15-30 minutes) than the scheduled time, then once at Tarifa, the bus does not depart until everyone on the boat clears customs (which takes 30-45 minute), then the bus will take 20-25 minutes to travel from Tarifa to Algericas.

Get around

Walking is perhaps the best way to see the relatively compact Tangier. Petit taxis are common, but if it is unmetered make sure you agree on a price first. Tangier is very easy to navigate around; the two main roads are Boulevard Mohamed V which runs from near the Medina through the ville nouvelle and Boulevard Mohamed VI (formerly Ave des FAR) which runs along from the beachfront from the port to Malabata. The Medina area is a complex array of alleyways some of which can only be accessed on foot. Mohamed V has a whole range of clothes shops, pharmacies and cafes as well as Hotel Flandria, Hotel Rembrandt. Hotel Minzah lies just off this road. Mohamed VI runs along the beach front where you will find numerous hotels (Rif, Ramada, Sherezade, Solazure, Tariq, Movenpick), bars, discos, restaurants and cafes. Most hostels are situated on the roads heading uphill near the port area.

Most locals in Tangier will be unfamiliar with what we call the "ville nouvelle". To help with agreeing fares and generally with navigating using taxis - the central main thoroughfare is simply known as the "Boulevard", the beach area as "Playa", the port as "Marsa", the medina as "souk barra", the hilly area to the west of Tangier with the Golf Course and Race Track as "California", the residential area heading towards the main road to Tetouan as "Idrissia", the thieves market as "Casa Barata".


Take a simple walk along the beach (Ave Mohamed VI) to enjoy what the city is famed for.

  • The Kasbah
  • The tomb of Ibn Battouta, a 14th century famous traveller who was born in Tangier. Pay tribute to a fellow traveller.
  • Teatro Cervantes, rue Salah Eddine et Ayoubi. Closed and falling to pieces but take a photo from outside the gates as you pass by on the way up to the Grand Socco.
  • The American Legation, 8, Rue America, [4]. The Tangier American Legation Museum (TALM), a thriving cultural center, museum, conference center and library in the heart of the old medina in Tangier, is housed in the only historic landmark of the United States located abroad. The museum exhibits a large collection of art and historical items. It also houses the Paul Bowles Museum dedicated to the writer and composer who lived most of his adult life in Tangier.  edit
  • Musée d'Art Contemporain de la Ville de Tanger
  • The Kasbah Museum, the former Sultan's palace deserves to be seen not only for it's collection of artefacts from the Phoenician to modern times, but also for the building and garden. There is a small fee for entrance (about 5 euros) and varying opening times winter and summer.
  • People watching on the Terrasse des Paresseux, boulevard Pasteur or on Sunday along the beachfront Av. Mohamed VI.
  • Drink a mint tea in rustic café of El Hafaa 1925 and enjoy the view of a wide wide ocean .
  • Mnar Park aquatic park with a tremendous view of the coast. Open in 2005 it costs 5€ for children and 10€ Adults has aqua slides, karting circuits, café, romantic restaurant. (Excellent pancakes!).
  • Get happily lost in the madina, which is most active in evening and night.
  • Visit the American Legation Museum in the walled city. http://www.legation.org/ (Morocco was the first country to recognize the United States, in December 1777 with the hope of promoting commerce with the new republic. This act by the Moroccan sultan was the first public recognition of the U.S. by a head of state.)
  • Go to the souk on Thursday or Saturday mornings to see the Rif mountain women in their colorful costumes selling their produce and dairy products all along the wall of the English Church.


Most brasswork is made in other towns but is available here. Leather goods are also available. Stay away from the tourist traps and you may find the price quite agreeable. There is a infamous market in Tangier called "casa barata" (the house of cheap things) - there are bargains to be had here but be wary of forgeries and stolen goods (these are sold along vegetables, electronics, clothing, shoes, spices, carpets, ironmongery and everything else one can think of!). There are other markets notably the souk in the medina (mainly vegetables, clothes and tourist items) and in Ben Mekada (vegetables). The latter does not cater for tourists at all and is known as one of the "rough spots" of Tangier and back in the 1980's there were bread riots here.

Colorful leather slippers with pointed toes are great gifts to take home and cost about 600D a pair, more if they have soles suitable for walking outside. Mens and womens clothing can be had for reasonable prices too, in the madina.


There are many choices of different cuisine available. Many of the luxury hotels offer a good selection of both Moroccan and Continental Fare. There are also many restaurants along the Ave Mohamed VI (the beachfront) where one can enjoy a nice meal with a glass of wine on the beachfront.

In the evening, go to the plaza next to CTM bus station. There are several cafe and restaurants facing the plaza. The price and services are good because of the keen competition.

Some of the popular restaurants and places to eat in Tangier are as follows:

  • El Minzah Hotel (Moroccan) - located near the French Consulate at top of Boulevard Mohamed V
  • Otori Sushi (Japanese) - located near the Grande Poste, Avenue de la Resistance
  • San Remo (Italian) - located near the town centre
  • Pagoda (Chinese) - located near the town centre
  • Sable d'or (Indian) - located on the beachfront, Ave Mohamed VI
  • Continental Hotel (continental)
  • Marhaba (Moroccan)
  • Restaurant Al Andalous (Moroccan) opposite the Al Andalous Mosque.
  • McDonalds located in the Dawliz complex and on the beachfront
  • Pizza Hut located near the beachfront
  • Oslo (Pizzas and snacks) located on the Boulevard and on the beachfront
  • Restaurant Populaire (Moroccan)
  • Many cafes also serve snacks and many bars on the beachfront serve tapas


There are many places in Tangier to drink - people have their own favourite haunts. Much depends on the current owner who tends to give the place a certain ambiance. Favorite bars/discos with foreign (and local) clientele include Casa Pepe, Sable D'or, Morocco Palace, Marco Polo (popular with truck drivers) and hotel bars such as Ramada and El Minzah.

You could opt for a coffee instead - there are no shortage of cafes; some of which are the best in the country. Some have amazing views (cafe Hafa), some good coffee, some are popular (cafe Tropicana, cafe Celine Dion), some with music (cafe in the Dawliz complex), some have good cakes (cafe Oslo), some are places to relax after a hard day shopping (cafe Madam Porte, cafe Vienna), and some are just plain sleazy - the choice is yours.

Fresh fruit juices are sold by street vendors during the summer months. The cafes also serve fresh juices and often have what is called a panache - a mix of fruit juices often with milk, apple and almond - try it - its delicious.

Street Food

You may quickly bore of tagines and street food is a great option for snacking throughout the day. Fresh orange juice costs about 5D; sandwiches of egg, peppers, and sauce are about 10D. Yogurt mixtures can be particularly creative, such as avocado and almonds, or fruit mixtures. Tiny stalls in the souk sell cooked vegetables like eggplant, with rice, and other tasty treats and a meal there can cost 10D or so. In the early evening you may find squares of chickpea cakes sprinkled with salt and paprika.


In the morning a "locals" cafe will give you a cafe au lait for 5D. (Cafes where tourists congregate will charge you 10D.) Usually there is a bread vendor at the cafe (by the port or the madina) who will serve you bread with cheese and honey for another 5D. It's perfectly okay to buy your bread/breakfast elsewhere and eat it outside at teh cafe. If the bread guy is next to the cafe the waiter will often collect.


Vegetarians will find plenty to eat in Tangier and Morocco in general, but vegetarian tagines can become boring after a couple of days and often contain lamb stock. Street food is a lot more creative and fun. If you've brought a camping stove, shop at the souk and make your own. Or you can opt for Pizza, Chinese or Indian all of which are available in Tangier.



There is an enormous quantity of small hotels and hostels in or near the medina. (50 - 300 Dh)

  • Ave des FAR. Biarritz, Family and others.
  • Rue de la Liberation, between the Grand Socco and av. Pasteur: Pension Gibraltar (150 Dh the triple, free hot shower), just in front of the 5* Hotel El Minzah.
  • Rue Sahab Eddine El Ayoubi. Packed with them: Valencia, Madrid, Miami, Detroit, Atou and others.
  • In the medina go near the Zoco Chico, there are the Becerra, Fuentes and a whole lot more. Try also the street which starts on the stairs of the La Gitana restaurant, on the port entrance to the medina, and the area around the Petit Socco just in the center of the Medina.
  • There are also a lot of small hotels at the port, which is walking distance to both the medina and the new city. To find these little hotels you exit the port of Tangiers and in about 100 meters you'll see the Hotel Biarritz (white with hand-lettering in blue). Turn right up the rutted, dirty little alleyway next to it (yes, this is a street) and wind your way uphill to find several small hotels off the main drag on the unmarked Avenue Magellan.
  • Magellan Hotel is one of the hotels here, quiet and very basic, hot showers, has a garage for your car or motorcycle, and costs 150D/night w/20D for parking. Front rooms 2nd floor have Bay of Tangiers view and cooling breeze.
  • Hotel Continental, 36 Rue Dar El Baroud, Tel: 039 93 10 24. This hotel, situated in the medina and within easy reach of the port, is very much in the 'former glory' category, with past guests including Degas, Churchill, Kerouac and friends. Definitely spend extra for a nicer room if given the opportunity, it is not a lot extra and the best rooms were absolutely palatial. Get one facing the port if you can. It has a really nice terrace out front where you can enjoy mint tea with spectacular views of the harbour. Make sure not to confuse it with the Intercontinental which is a more modern hotel and not as central. The price of 365-420 dirhams for a double translates to around €33-38.
  • Hotel Sherezade, Ave des FAR - next to Ramada. On the beachfront, clean and comfortable, cheap and cheerful (30-35€)
  • Hotel Solazure, Ave des FAR. On the beachfront but caters mostly to package tourists. Poor service and not particularly clean or cheap. About 50-60€
  • Dar Jameel, No.6 rue Mohammed Bergach, Dar El Baroud, Tel: 00-212-61092780. This new guesthouse/ boutique hotel is a stone's throw from the Hotel Continental and needs to be seen. A former restaurant and gallery, the house has been amazingly restored with typical Moroccan style. The view from the large terrace and penthouse is 360 degrees, taking in the medina, the bay of Tangier, Gibraltar and Spain. The 8 rooms/suites vary in price from 45 euros to 120 euros a night.
  • Hotel Marco Polo, on the corner of Ave. d'Espangne and Rue Marco Polo. Clean, modern and decent sized rooms with air conditioning and satellite television. A double room will set you back around 600 DH although this can be negotiated down to 450 DH. The reception will let you use the spare computer for internet access free of charge. Breakfast is sadly not included.
  • Hotel Ramada on beachfront - 4 star hotel. Modern and reasonably priced with sea facing rooms (about 80-100€).
  • Hotel Movenpick in Malabata - Expensive but modern luxury hotel with an adjoining Casino. 5 star Hotel (about 160-180€)
  • Hotel El Minzah near the Medina - centrally located. Decor is traditional Moroccan arabesque. This is the most famous 5 star hotel in Tangier.
  • Hotel Omnia el Puerto opposite Ramada - not on the beachfront but is clean and comfortable 4 star hotel. (about 70-80€)
  • Hotel Intercontinental, Near the big Mezquita. Good service and clean. Not part of the Intercontinental chain. About 50-70€
  • Hotel Le Mirage in Cap Spartel. This is a 5 star hotel on the Atlantic coast. It is a little far from Tangier and an ideal secluded spot. Popular with Royalty and the discreetly rich
  • Hotel Rif on Ave Mohamed VI (on beachfront). Recently renovated and reopened. 5 star Hotel. Famous former guests include Winston Churchill and Jean Claude Van Damme.
  • Villa Josephine on the Old Mountain is an 11-room luxury residence with fine dining, bar and swimming pool. It is located away from the crowds downtown.

Stay safe

Generally, Tangier is a very safe city compared with many places in Europe. The only trouble you may encounter is the persistent touts whom you should ignore, or the con-men ready to fleece you. There are policemen everywhere and you will probably feel safer than at home.

Dressing like a local - as opposed to white shorts, shoes, and a backpack - will help you blend in and get good reception from merchants, who will often quote you actual prices instead of inflated tourist prices. There are lots of expats in this city that speaks Spanish first, then English and then French. A polite no thank you and then simply ignoring touts does get rid of them.

If you are lost in the medina, you can easily find your way out by going uphill (souk/English church/Nouvelle Village) or down (port). Kids and young men may ask you for money to lead you out (a couple of dirams), or to the Cafe Central, but if you are asked if you are lost and do not want help, say "Yes, but happily," and usually that gets a laugh and solitude.

Tangier is a safe place for solo women travelers.

Get out

You can buy train, bus and ferry tickets at the stations and ports listed above, although you may find it easier to purchase ferry tickets from travel agents rather than face the gauntlet of touts at the port. If you plan on leaving by ferry, it is important to note that the ferries to Algeciras often do not follow a set schedule, and departure times can change even within a day of having purchased tickets. One alternative is to take a fast ferry to Tarifa, because these are more likely to run on time and at least one of the companies provides a free bus to the port at Algeciras. You can also flag grand taxis at the major bus stations and ferry port.

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

TANGIER (locally Tanjah), a seaport of Morocco, on the Straits of Gibraltar, about 14 m. E. of Cape Spartel, nestles between two eminences at the N.W. extremity of a spacious bay. The town, which has a population of about 40,000, presents a picturesque appearance from the sea, rising gradually in the form of an amphitheatre, with the citadel, the remainder of the English mole and York Castle to the right: in the central valley is the commercial quarter, while to the left along the beach runs the track to Tetuan. Though rivalry between European Powers led to many public works being delayed, through the action of the public Sanitary Association the streets, which are narrow and crooked, have been re-paved as well as cleaned and partially lighted, and several new roads have been made outside the town. In some of the older streets European shops have replaced the picturesque native cupboards; drinking dens have sprung up at many of the corners, while telephones and electric light have been introduced by private companies, and European machinery is used in many of the corn-mills, &c. The main thoroughfare leads from Bab el Marsa (Gate of the Port) to the Bab el Sok (Gate of the Market-place) known to the English as Port Catherine. The sok presents a lively spectacle, especially upon Thursdays and Sundays.

Tangier is almost destitute of manufactures, and while the trade, about £750,000 a year, is considerable for Morocco, it is confined chiefly to imports, about two-fifths of which come from Great Britain and Gibraltar, and one quarter from France. The exports are chiefly oxen, meat, fowls and eggs for Gibraltar and sometimes for Spain, with occasional shipments of slippers and blankets to Egypt. Most of the trade, both wholesale and retail, is in the hands of the Jews (see further Morocco).

The harbour formed by the Bay of Tangier is an extensive one, the best Morocco possesses, and good in all weathers except during a strong east wind, but vessels of any size have to anchor a mile or so out as the shore to the west is shallow and sandy, and to the east, rocky and shingly. Since 1907 a basin with an outer and inner mole has been built. It. does not, however, accommodate large vessels. The climate is temperate and healthy, and good for consumptives.

As the seaport nearest to Europe, Tangier is the town in the empire in which the effects of progress are most marked, and since the end of the 18th century it has been the diplomatic headquarters. The nucleus of a cosmopolitan society thus formed has expanded into a powerful community enjoying privileges and immunities unknown to natives not receiving its protection. The steadily increasing number of visitors has induced the opening of first-class hotels, and necessitated extensive building operations, resulting in the immigration of some thousands of artisans, chiefly Spanish. The number of European inhabitants (1905) was about 9000 (7500 Spaniards); of Jews about 10,000.

The Roman Tingis, which stood in the immediate vicinity of the site of Tangier, was of great antiquity; under Augustus it became a free city, and when Otho placed the western half of Mauretania under a procurator, he called it Mauretania Tingitana after its capital Tingis. It was held by Vandals, Byzantines and Arabs, and when Mulai Idris passed from Tlemcen to Fez in 788, Tangier was "the oldest and most beautiful city" of the Maghrib. After many futile attempts the Portuguese obtained possession of it in 1471, but it passed to Spain in 1580, returning again to the Portuguese in 1656. In 1662 as part of the dowry of Catherine of Braganza on her marriage to Charles II., it came into the possession of the English, and they defended it against Mulai Ismail in 1680, but in 1684 it was decided, on account of expense, to abandon the place to the Moors. El Ufrani writes that "it was besieged so closely that the Christians had to flee on their vessels and escape by sea, leaving the place ruined from bottom to top." It was bombarded in 1844 by the French, then at war with Morocco. In the early years of the 20th century the sharif Raisuli terrorized the district round Tangier and made captive several Europeans. As one result of the Algeciras conference of 1906 a regular police force was organized, and the control of the customs passed into European hands (see Morocco: § History). See A. Cousin, Tanger (Paris, 1902); Archives Marocaines (Paris, 1904-6).

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also tangier




  • (RP) /tænˈdʒɪəz/, SAMPA: /t{n"dZI@z/
  • (US) enPR: tănjîrzʹ, /tænˈdʒɪrz/, SAMPA: /t{n"dZIrz/

Proper noun




  1. Alternative spelling of Tangiers.


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