In the neighborhood of the Medina is the most authentic Tangier. Here are hidden an ancient history, unique customs and a wisdom that is passed down from generation to generation. It is a mythical space that invites travelers to enjoy the heart of a cosmopolitan city through its narrow streets of whitewashed houses. Artists of the stature of Matisse and Delacroix, and writers like Paul Bowles and William Burroughs, who were struck by the charm of the snowy alleys of the great souk, located at the foot of the walls of the Kasbah, and when they looked up, as now, they came across a great fortress, the citadel that crowns the medina.
The traditional markets are the main protagonists of the Medina of Tangier, the Great Souk and the Little Souk. They will come to meet you, because you will hear, yes or yes, the echoes of the glorious past of this lively city and the sound of the tools of local craftsmen. The merchants get up very early to offer their wares in a space full of color and photogenic stalls. Here you will find a myriad of small stores with a variety of items, mainly handicrafts and gifts: traditional footwear, handbags, clothing, carpets, bags, etc.. You will also see stalls selling vegetables, spices, fruits and other commonly consumed products, allowing you to enjoy everyday scenes of local Tangier life. You will discover that the market is dotted with numerous cafes with nice terraces, from which you can watch the bustle of the locals going about their daily business. It is an experience that has a lot of charm for the traveler, because here you can take the pulse of the city, as it is the most important commercial point of Tangier.
Stamps of beautiful colors
In the Kasbah or walled enclosure of the old city you will discover beautiful pictures and houses painted in bright colors. From here the whole city is dominated and you will be able to appreciate the best panoramic views of the Strait of Gibraltar. If you have time, it is time to enter the Museum of the Kasbah of Tangier, which occupies the space of the former palace of the sultan and houses handicrafts from all geographical points of Morocco. There are ceramics from Fez, Amazigh kilims, embroideries from Chefchaouen… Its decoration also surprises the traveler, who discovers in it an infinite variety of coffered ceilings, carved wood and plaster filigree. The last resident sultan in this palace-museum was Moulay Hafid, who stayed here until 1912. And don’t forget to look up and notice the early 18th century hand-sculpted dome, which still preserves part of its original painting, and to discover its Andalusian garden, where trees more than eight centuries old survive.
The medina of Tangier offers an urban landscape full of contrasts. There is hustle and bustle, chaos, agitation, but also tenderness, order and beauty. And if you want and look for it, you will also find spaces of peace and calm, such as the incredible and beautiful Mendubia Gardens that surround the Mendub Palace and allow the traveler to rest from the hustle and bustle of the city. It is a green territory where you can breathe peace and calm and which is presided over by a large ficus that, they say, has exceeded 800 years of life. In the highest part of the park, you will find more than 30 antique bronze cannons in public view. Behind it is the Muslim cemetery, now transformed into a large public park, where you can see some tombstones and tombs that recall its primitive use.
Blue and white facades
When daylight fades, the traveler is advised to slow down and enjoy the daily scenes that are improvised on every corner. Children, adults and the elderly of Tangier also slow down and stop to chat in friendly scenes that you want to record in your retina, because the scenery they offer could not be more beautiful, with the wooden doors in the background and its blue and white facades.
But before leaving the Medina the traveler has to know that in Tangier history is written in capital letters, even that which is related to countries beyond the Atlantic. It is striking that Morocco was the first nation to recognize the United States as a new country and that they even signed the Moroccan-American Friendship Treaty in 1786. There is a building in the medina that commemorates this fact, the American Legation, the first American-owned property to be built outside the United States. Today it is the headquarters of the American Legation Institute and contemporary art exhibitions are periodically organized here.
Tangier’s medina is a micro-world in which life flows down every street, fascinating monuments are found around every corner and the soccos will tempt you with their interesting products
On a couple’s getaway, you can’t afford to miss out on these romantic plans in Tangier. These experiences allow you to get to know this interesting Moroccan city in depth.
Tetouan in northern Morocco has 300,000 inhabitants and its historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.