Tangier, mysterious Africa's mesmerizing gateway, reflects a history rich in the influence of the many cultures that have attempted to possess the highly coveted strategic prize of the Mediterranean. The city's cultural attractions offer innumerable intimations of a diverse past, with extant vestiges attributed to such peoples as the Phoenicians, the Berbers, and the Spaniards. Fated to forever be a diverse, cosmopolitan city, Tangier experienced a massive influx of refugees from every corner of the world when it was declared an international free zone in the 1950's. At their height, the migrations produced a foreign population reaching 60,000 in a city with a total of 425,000 inhabitants.
As with most Moroccan cities, Tangier possesses its centrally located Medina, a hub of activity containing picturesque markets known as the Grand Socco and the Petit Socco, both principal areas of commerce and trade. The markets display the craftsmanship which has won Morocco its reputation for producing artisanry of unparalleled quality and intricacy.
Atop one of Tangier's many rolling hills, the Place de la Kasbah offers its visitors an astounding panorama of the of the city, and, on a clear day, a beautiful view of the nearby shores of Spain floating on the Mediterranean horizon.
Because of its unique diversity and its unconventional beauty, Tangier has attracted a devout tourist following which has included many people of note. During the decade of the 50's, beat generation writer William S. Burroughs spent several years in Tangiers, frequently accompanied by his contemporaries Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. More recently, publishing mogul Malcolm Forbes purchased the Palais du Mendoub as a base for the Arabian operations of his well-known magazine.