Sailing into Tangier, Morocco
Tangier is a fascinating Moroccan city to visit. It has many of the things that travelers 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 North Africa, was under the control of France for the first half of the 20th century, and is less than 20 miles from Spain across 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.
Atlantic Ocean Coastal View Near Tangier
Our shore excursion bus tour of Tangier rode through the city and past some of the spectacular mansions in the hills overlooking the city and the Mediterranean. These mansions are owned by famous (and very wealthy) politicians, entertainers, and royal family members from Morocco and other Muslim countries. About 10 miles outside of Tangier, we glimpsed our first view of the Atlantic Ocean. Tangier has 75 miles of wide, pristine Atlantic Ocean beaches that are undeveloped and lightly visited.
This photo shows the contrast between modern Morocco (the large timeshare condominium complex on the beach) and traditional Morocco (the donkey). This contrast is similar to the very rich, ornate mansions in the hills overlooking the city versus the poverty in the crowded streets below.
Cape Spartel near Tangier, Morocco marks the junction of the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.
Cape Spartel View Point
Atlantic Ocean Beach Near Tangier, Morocco
Morocco has 75 miles of beautiful Atlantic Ocean beaches such as this one.
The timeshare condominium in the upper right corner of the photo is one of the few developments along the Atlantic Ocean coastline near Tangier, Morocco.
Riding a Camel on the Beach
Participants in our Tangier shore excursion had the opportunity to ride a camel on the beach for 1 euro.
Caves of Hercules
Look closely. This entrance to the Caves of Hercules is shaped much like the continent of Africa. It's an interesting natural phenomenon.
Caves of Hercules Interior
The interiors of the Caves of Hercules have been used as dwellings for centuries, and there are several quarries and passages between them. Only a small percentage of the caves are open to visitors. The Caves of Hercules are reputed to have been the home of Hercules who founded Tangier and made the Straits of Gibraltar with one blow from his sword.
Most of the cave was carved out by the ancient Moroccans, who used the resulting stones to grind grains.
The Kasbah Fortifications
Although the Kasbah is a residential area of Tangier, its fortifications once protected the city's citizens.
Henri Matisse Door
French painter Henri Matisse fell in love with the city of Tangier, Morocco. He included many of the doors in Tangier in his artwork, including this one.
The Kasbah Door
Be sure to take notice of the many beautiful doors while strolling the streets of Tangier.
Entrance to the Kasbah Museum
The Kasbah Museum is located in a 17th-century palace that was once used by sultans. It includes examples of Moroccan art and some archaeological artifacts.
Although over 99 percent of Moroccans are Muslim, Christianity and Judaism are also recognized religions.
This Tangier Catholic Church is practically next door to the largest mosque in the city.
The traffic in Tangier is almost as bad as it is in Atlanta.
Tangier has many taxis, but they are in only two sizes -- petite taxis (3 passengers) and grand taxis (5 passengers).
The El Minzah Hotel
The El Minzah Hotel is one of the best hotels in Tangier, Morocco.
American Legation in Tangier
Morocco was the first country to recognize the United States as an independent country. As a result, the first American embassy in the world was in Tangier in 1777. The USA still has a legation in Tangier. It is in a building that was a gift to the U.S. in 1821 from Moroccan Sultan Moulay Suliman. Interestingly, the old building is the first piece of property acquired abroad by the U.S. government.
The American Legation building is in a perfect location, just steps from the market and inside the old walls of the Medina. The legation building houses a museum, and some of the most impressive pieces were donated by the late Malcolm Forbes, who had a home in Tangier. He donated hundreds of hand-carved miniature soldiers set up in two famous Moroccan historical battles. The intricacy of the carvings is amazing, and the battle looks very realistic in its case.
Vendors Selling Wares
A photo gallery from Morocco would not be complete with a picture of Moroccan vendors selling their wares. These enterprising vendors set up shop right on the cruise ship pier.