A Travellerspoint blog

Cafe el Hafa, Marshan, Tangier, Morocco.

Worthy of investigation on a dry sunny day......

30 °C

This surviving relic of the notorious "Interzone" decades was established in 1921, carved out of the rocky slope on the plateau of Hafa in the upmarket Marshan district it features several plantation terraces with seating and tables, there is a restaurant on site with roof cover, but on my last two visits I've yet to see any culinary masterpieces emerging, even ordering a coffee was problematic as the cooker was broken. Nevertheless the cafe offers a spectacular view of the new ferry port and on a clear day with no low cloud the distant outline of the Spanish coast.

Part of the cafe's fame is its history of patrons such as the Rolling Stones, and 1950's beatnik poets and writers who lived in the Villa Muniria, Rue Magellan, nowadays most visitors seem to be students and perhaps expatriate Europeans. The cafe is accessed off Avenue Hadj Mohammed Tazi after exiting the Kasbah through the main gate at Place du Tabor, a signpost on the main road points to the right and down an alleyway leads to the front door of the cafe. A notice in French greets the visitor " la drogue est interdit" ....loosely translated means "smoking local weed is not allowed" .....but after a brief look around the terraces it seems to be universally ignored!

One pleasant surprise in this upmarket Marshan suburb is the absence of any hustlers or touts, the heavily-guarded king's palace is just along the main road and off limits to tourists.....

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Posted by Bennytheball 08:53 Archived in Morocco Tagged cafes tangier Comments (0)

A risky Tangier shortcut....

The Phoenician necropolis.....

30 °C

Most visitors and historians prefer to visit the ancient Necropolis either by the steep walk from the Medina through to the Kasbah, but there is another way much shorter but more risky using the ancient footsteps carved out of the rock face leading from the Route de Plage Mercala boulevard directly to the excavated tombs after exiting the port and turning right at the roundabout.

Part of the footpath has now collapsed and a deep chasm prevents further progress on foot, however it's still possible to bypass the collapsed section by clambering to the right on ascent over the boulder rock to where the footpath resumes up to the necropolis. The site is popular with locals and tourists alike, providing superb views of distant Spain over the Gibraltar Strait on a clear day with no cloud, and locals seem to have negotiating the shortcut down to a fine art, but tourists should take care, especially if there has been recent rainfall which will make the footsteps slippery.

A tourist trail information board is mounted at the entrance to the necropolis giving detailed history of the Phoenicians and the burial site, many of the recovered period artifacts have now been stored or on display in the Kasbah museum.....

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The tourist trail information board reads ( verbatim)....

The famous ancient graves that made the Punic-Roman necropolis of Hafa on the cliff of the plateau of Hafa is located approximately 450 metres from the rampart of the Kasbah. Most of the graves face the sea, but a small number is located on the south alongside Rue Ibn al Abbar ( once called Paseo Cenarra.)
By their location, the graves indicate the location of the old gates of Tangier that delimit the area of the ancient city on the west side. 96 graves were exhumed by the early excavations undertaken in 1910 and by the last ones accomplished in 1960. More than 50 of them were shaped in the form of a box engraved in the rocks. Each grave is approximately 70 centimetre depth, 1.80 metre long, and 60 centimetres large (wide) however today two dozens of them can be found. Punic and neo-Punic artifacts with Roman material were found in this site in the first century AD when the Romans occupied the region of Tangier. The necropolis was cleaned and emptied from its content to leave place to the creation of new burial places. The final phase of this occupation goes back to the Bas Empire, around the end of the 4th century AD (395-425AD)
Despite the fact that few archeological artifacts were found in the necropolis, those that were discovered are funery objects of great patrimonial importance, the unique sarcophagus of lead is exhibited contains the remains of child, an urn, a small broken glass vase, and fragmants of a small statue.

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Posted by Bennytheball 23:50 Archived in Morocco Tagged sites archeological Comments (3)

The smallest bar in the world?

Hole in the wall bar, Avenue Prince Heritier,Tangier.

This ( allegedly) smallest bar in the world has to be experienced to be believed, with a compliment of around twenty drinkers it's full up and standing room only, there are a few bar stools available for dedicated barflies grazing on tapas from an invisible source, but most prefer to stand in the crush, bottle of Flag or Stork beer in hand, and enjoy a physical proximity situation which can lead to friendly impromptu conversations with strangers.Tangier_Ho..ce_Heritier.jpgTangier Hole in the Wall bar cramped interior.....

Tangier Hole in the Wall bar cramped interior.....

Tangier Rue Prince Heritier  bottle shop.....

Tangier Rue Prince Heritier bottle shop.....

A tiny toilet is located close to the old "wild west" swing door, but threading a passage through a full compliment of bodies can be problematic in order to avoid spilling somebody's drink. this relic surviving from Tangier's notorious Interzone decades is definitely one for the connoisseur, however, for those of a nervous disposition there is a well-stocked bottle shop nearby in the same street.

Posted by Bennytheball 07:24 Comments (1)

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