It's official: Lonely Planet has ranked the World's Top Ten Cities for 2011, and this city on the tip of Africa has made it to runner-up position, just after the Big Apple. Here's what they say:
From its extraordinary position perched on the northwestern-most tip of Africa, Tangier looks in two directions: one face towards Spain and Europe, and the other into Africa. The ‘white city’ announces a culture excitingly different from that of its close cousins across the water. With the recent arrival of a new city governor, the town beach now sparkles, the hustlers are off the streets and even the taxi drivers are polite. A stylish new Tangier is being created with a dynamic arts community, renovated buildings, great shopping and chic new restaurants.
While we locals appreciate the plug, the hype might have gone a bit overboard, especially that bit about the hustlers. But there is a definite "buzz" about Ibn Battuta's home town.
Local Woman Hits Big Time
Another bit of news is the selection of Yto Barrada, Tangier woman of culture (Cinémathèque, photographer, educator), as Deutsche Bank's Artist of the Year 2011. Yto, who was interviewed the other day on Tangier's international radio "Médi 1," was modest about her achievement, but passionate about her devotion to cinema and the visual arts.
I knew we were fortunate to have the Cinémathèque, which shows classics, new releases, and documentaries, a 5-minute walk from the Legation. What I didn't know was what a rare institution this is on the south side of the Med. We are very happy for Yto, and see this prize as just recognition of her talents.
(Strait of Gibraltar image: NASA)