Magical Morocco 2011
May 6th – 16th, 2011
 


Monday, May 9th, Tangier

The Kasbah is built on the highest point of the city. Its gate opens on to a large open courtyard that leads to Dar el Makhzen, the 17th century former Sultans palace that now serves as a museum. The building boasts some beautifully carved wooden ceilings and a marble courtyard. There is also a museum devoted to Moroccan arts and archeology. From the open courtyard you have one of the best views of the world since the Kasbah is standing on the top of the hill on which Tangier is built. There aren't many places where you can see two continents at once. It has an incredible view across the Straits of Gibraltar to Spain.

Matisse

Begin your tour of the old city to visit the Kasbah taking the itinerary of Matisse, the French famous painter who stayed there between 1912 and 1913. "I have found landscapes in Morocco," he claimed, "exactly as they are described in Delacroix's paintings." http://home.att.net/~VTangier/mosaic.htm

The pictures of the green door which is over 200 years old and one that was painted by Matisse – inside it is supposed to hold part of a holy man who healed the sick and people still come very day to put their hands on the door and ask for healing.

The city tour of Tangier included a visit to an art gallery endowed by the late Marguerite McBey with works by her husband James McBey, Claudio Bravo, Lavery, Raphael Cidoncha and a corner dedicated to the late Paul Bowles who lived in Tangier for many years. http://www.paulbowles.org/tangier.html

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. Saved from destruction by a small but dedicated group now known as the Tangier American Legation Museum Society, (TALMS) the museum now operates with a locally-hired staff under the leadership of the Museum Director, Thor Kuniholm. The McBey Collection was donated by Marguerite McBey, the widow of the Scottish engraver and painter, James McBey. This collection, covering the period from 1901 to 1998 comprises 70 works by more than forty artists from 11 countries in a variety of media. Artists in the McBey collection include Oskar Kokoschka, Herbert Bayer, and James McBey. The collection also contains a water color by Emily Sargeant, the sister of John Singer Sargeant, and one of the Kasbah by noted English photographer and set designer, Cecil Beaton. http://www.legation.org/

We will continue our visit through the richest area of Tangier’s zone of villas and palaces passing via the king's palace and celebrities’ homes including Barbara Hutton - Hermand villa Sidi Hosni. Apparently purchased for 350,000 euros and has 45 rooms. 5 Years ago it sold so they say for 5 million euros. from Hutton’s parties were legendary, and Malcolm Forbes. The Forbes' Tangier home, still owned by the family, was the site of some of the late Malcolm's famously lavish parties attended by kings and tycoons. Forbes had his last birthday party in 1988 here with over 1000 people attending. He died 3 months later of a heart attack. Matt Damon’s “The Bourne Ultimatum” was filmed partly in Tangier.

And the Medina, the oldest and the most exotic part of this mythical city. An opportunity to be in direct contact with the friendly locals! The Kasbah in Tangier is an amazing place. It has so much to offer, from great food to great bargains on pottery, jewelry, and spices.

We enjoyed another lovely meal at the hotel, because it was close to where we were, before heading back out.

Grand Socco - The word socco is the Spanish version of souk , or market, which has stuck to this square in the heart of Tangier because of its Spanish heritage. The Grand Socco is located northeast of the medina. The square is, however, no longer a marketplace, but rather a city crossroads, fronted by cafes, outside the walled in, old part of the city. The Grand Socco really is the heart of Tangier and a good place to start a tour since it is also the point where the modern city's streets are forced to continue into the narrow streets of the old city. This area was once full of snake charmers, musicians and storytellers while today it is a meeting place and a transportation junction, principally for taxis. It is an interesting spot to spend time watching the passing parade of people including the Rif women in their colorful traditional costume. The rattle and hum of the Grand Socco has entranced all who watched .. ‘from morning to evening, the vendors, the customers and the plain curious milling around in sun and wind among the hundred colors of canopy and thousand tongues at work’... It was in this square, on April 9th 1947, that sultan Mohammed V made a famous speech in which he referred to independence for Morocco. In a place where life styles and house styles mix as much as at the Grand Socco, it only feels natural that the old gate to the old city is flanked by modern Western-style houses

Petit Socco - located in the heart of the Medina. This little square is one of the most picturesque sites in Tangier. The noisy bustling crowd in multi-colored clothing really contrasts with those who have time to idle away over a cup of mint tea at the terraces of the cafes. It’s not hard to imagine artists such as William Burroughs, Jean Genet and Jack Kerouac sipping their tea and dreaming up their fictional worlds. Also, the Petit Socco - where cafes and hotels crowd around is as good a spot as any to have a meal.

Hard to think of Tangier being older than Rome, but it is. Homer mentioned it. We also learned from our Tangier guide that when a husband dies Muslim women wear white for 4 months and 10 days. They are always buried within 24 hours on their side facing east. Don’t know why it was mentioned, someone must have asked about it… In 1923 Tangier was a free port with 8 countries ruling! You were safe living in the Kasbah, even if it had 11 gates like this one as every gate was locked at night. They closed at sunset.

Dinner this evening at Villa Josephine - This place was quiet, grand, and very special as we were the only ones eating at that time so we could make believe this was our house. Again, what can I say about the food..and the desert…how about iced pistachio nougat cream with a scoop of homemade vanilla bean ice cream and raspberry coulis….yum. Life is too short, eat desert first!



 

 

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