Tangier is a major city in northern Morocco with a population of about 1,850,000 (2014 estimates). It is located on the North African coast at the western entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar where the Mediterranean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Spartel. It is the capital of the Tangier-Tetouan Region and of the Tangier-Asilah prefecture of Morocco.
The history of Tangier is very rich, due to the historical presence of many civilizations and cultures starting from before the 5th century BC. Between the period of being a strategic Berber town and then a Phoenician trading center to the independence era around the 1950s, Tangier was a refuge for many cultures. In 1923, Tangier was considered as having international status by foreign colonial powers, and became a destination for many European and American diplomats, spies, writers and businessmen.
The city is currently undergoing rapid development and modernization. Projects include new tourism projects along the bay, a modern business district called Tangier City Center, a new airport terminal and a new football stadium. Tangier's economy is also set to benefit greatly from the new Tanger-Med port.
In the 1940s and 50's, when the city was an International Zone, a circle of writers emerged which was to have a profound and lasting literary influence. This included Paul Bowles, who lived and wrote for over half a century in the city, Tennessee Williams and Jean Genet as well as Mohamed Choukri (one of North Africa's most controversial and widely read authors), Abdeslam Boulaich, Larbi Layachi, Mohammed Mrabet and Ahmed Yacoubi.
After several years of gradual disentanglement from Spanish and French colonial control, Morocco reintegrated the city of Tangier at the signing of the Tangier Protocol on October 29, 1956. Tangier remains a very popular tourist destination for cruise ships and day visitors from Spain and Gibraltar.
Tangier is Morocco's second most important industrial centre after Casablanca. The industrial sectors are diversified: textile, chemical, mechanical, metallurgical and naval. Currently, the city has four industrial parks of which two have the status of free economic zone.
Tangier's economy relies heavily on tourism. Seaside resorts have been increasing with projects funded by foreign investments. Real estate and construction companies have been investing heavily in tourist infrastructures. A bay delimiting the city centre extends for more than 7 kilometres (4 miles). The years 2007 and 2008 were particularly important for the city because of the completion of large construction projects; These include the Tangier-Mediterranean port ("Tanger-Med") and its industrial parks, a 45,000-seat sports stadium, an expanded business district, and a renovated tourist infrastructure.
Agriculture in the area of Tangier is tertiary and mainly cereal. The infrastructure of this city on the strait of Gibraltar consists of a port that manages flows of goods and travellers (more than one million travellers per annum) and integrates a marina with a fishing port. Artisanal trade in the old medina (old city) specializes mainly in leather working, handicrafts made from wood and silver, traditional clothing, and shoes of Moroccan origin. The city has seen a fast pace of rural exodus from other small cities and villages.