Grand Socco – Busy Marketplace and Central City Point
The once bustling marketplace called the Grand Socco, is located in the middle of Tangier. Not so long ago it was filled with traders and buyers, snake charmers, musicians and creative storytellers looking for interested listeners. It is still busy, noisy and congested, but has now become a meeting point and a good central point for travelers who want to explore the city.
The word Socco, or souk, means market and even though the Grand Socco in Tangier is not strictly a market place any more, visitors will still find a few traders and vendors here. A few fruit stalls, second hand trinket traders and arts and crafts vendors frequent the old market place. There are four main reasons why most travelers and visitors flock to the Grand Socco in Tangier, which is seen as the heart of the city. Firstly, it is a transportation hub. The entire Grand Socco swarms with taxis looking for a fare and, at first glance, it might seem to be in a state of uncontrolled chaos. However visitors soon realize that is quite normal behavior for traffic for Morocco.
Secondly, the Grand Socco is where old Tangier and new Tangier meet. One side of the city has wide streets and modernized buildings which eventually taper off at the point where the market divides the city. Visitors will then be greeted by narrow streets that wind their way through the original and historic side of Tangier. Another reason for the market’s fame is the beautiful Mendoubia Gardens that are located right next to the Grand Socco square. Here, visitors will find some peace and tranquility and be able to see a legendary banyan tree that is believed to be approximately eight hundred years old.
And finally, it is the atmosphere of the Grand Socco square that lures people here. Visitors are able to mingle with the locals or sit quietly at one of the many cafes that line the square. As they sit, they might observe with fascination and amusement as vendors negotiate prices over the deafening noise, taxis hunt for fares and locals thread their way through the madness, while sipping a cup of coffee or enjoying a light snack. It is truly a convergence of history, culture, tradition, modernization and transport.