Tangier’s strategic location has made it a highly sought-after locale since ancient times.The layout within Tangier’s Medina, like most throughout Morocco, was never planned in advance. As the need arose, a labyrinth of streets and small squares emerged that eventually became the various quarters there today.
The Grand Socco offers the most straight forward approach to the Medina, a gentle open space waiting to be value on an MSC Mediterranean cruise excursion. The arch at the northern corner of the square opens onto Rue d’Italie, which becomes Rue de la Kasbah, the northern entrance to the kasbah quarter. Through an opening on the right-hand side of the square is Rue es Siaghin, off which are most of the souks and at the end of which is the Petit Socco, the Medina’s main square.
Enjoy your cruise holiday in Tangier following the American steps, west of the port, where your MSC cruise ship awaits your return, up from Avenue Mohammed VI, walk round by the Grand Mosque, and Rue des Postes (Rue Mokhtar Ahardane) will lead you into the Petit Socco. Rue es Siaghin – Silversmiths’ Street – connects Grand Socco with the smaller Petit Socco, and was Tangier’s main thoroughfare into the 1930s. Many of the buildings along here were constructed by Europeans in the late 1800s, with windows and balconies looking out onto the street rather than the traditional inward-looking Medina architecture.
Looking at it today, the Petit Socco seems too small ever to have served such a purpose, though up until the nineteenth century the square was almost twice its present size, and it was only at the beginning of the twentieth century that the hotels and cafés were built. Up until the 1930s, when the focus moved to the Ville Nouvelle, this was the true heart of Tangier, and a broad mix of people would gather here daily.