Holidays to Tangier
The city may have a slightly seedy past, but holidays in Tangier offer cultural delights. The Dar el-Makhzen Museum is a former sultan’s palace which is now home to a collection of Moroccan art. Built in the 17th century the palace was enlarged by later sultans. Its private apartments, which are arranged around an inner courtyard, have beautiful carved wooden doors and ceilings as well as beautiful tiles and plasterwork. The salons contain a range of Moroccan crafts including Fes pottery, leatherwork, metalwork, weapons, Berber kilms, musical instruments and Chefchaouen embroidery. There is a small archaeological collection which includes a well-preserved Roman mosaic depicting the voyage of Venus. The gardens have beautiful pomegranate and citrus trees and a central fountain.
Holidays in Tangier offer a chance to explore its fascinating history. The Musee de la Fondation Lorin is housed in a former synagogue and is a little gem. Its large, peaceful rooms are filled with a collection of newspaper cuttings, photographs and posters of Tangier dating from 1890 up the 1960s. Here the tourist will find a host of characters from history including Winston Churchill, Mohammed V, the artist James McBeay and Emily Keane. Fascinating items include street scenes and an early brochure for the El Minzah Hotel.
Holidays in Tangier also offer a glimpse of the port’s colourful past. In the 1950s the Kasbah was the location for the famous 1001 Nights Café established by Brion Gysin. Gysin is best remembered for introducing William Burroughs to the cut-up writing technique. In its heyday the café was famous for its house band of trance musicians who released a record produced by Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones. Today it is boarded up.
The Gran Teatro Cervantes is remarkable for its beautiful Art Deco façade but, like the café, it has long been closed. The Grand Hotel Villa de France to the north of Place de France was once the haunt of French impressionist painters such as Eugene Delacroix and Henri Matisse. Matisse was inspired by the African light and produced a number of paintings of Tangier, including a view from his window in the hotel looking out over St. Andrew’s Church. The Petit Socco was once the place where William Burroughs would graciously decline offers from young boys and men, but those days are long gone and now the square is somewhere to sit with a mint tea and watch the world go by.
Holidays in Tangier would not be complete without a visit to the covered markets, located to the south of the Grand Socco. They sell wonderful, fresh produce. Riffian women in their traditional hats sell fruit, vegetables and delicious goats’ cheeses. For relaxation, visitors can try the El Minzah Wellness Spa which is a luxury spa with a sauna, Jacuzzi, exercise facilities and a wide range of therapeutic and massage treatments.