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 multicultural placement of Muslim, Christian, and Jewish communities and the foreign immigrants attracted writers like Paul Bowles, William S. Burroughs, 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 Matisses Morocco paintings.

A railroad line connects the city with Rabat, Casablanca and Marrakech in the south and Fes and Oujda in the east. The service is operated by ONCF. The Rabat-Tanger expressway connects Tangier to Fes 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.

Local specialities
As well as being specialized in Berber craftsmanship and silver objects, the city of Taroudant is famous for its tannery. This is easy to understand when you visit the tanners’ souk. Around 40 craftsmen work the hides of sheep, goats and other more exotic animals in front of you. On the agricultural side, the area around Amagour, a pretty village located 32km south of Taroudant, is covered in argan trees. Argan oil, used in cosmetics and cooking, is therefore ubiquitous in the region. As is the precious and sought-after saffron, harvested from flowers whose meadows spread around Taliouine and which will enchant you.


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