The fortunes and fashions of Tangier have never stood still, its history is one of change and evolution. It passed through the hands of myriad empires and peoples keen to control the strategic entrance to the Mediterranean, from the early Phoenicians to its 20th century incarnation as an International Zone. More recently the city has been working hard to throw off its seedier side (getting rid of many of the hassling hawkers and developing gleaming marinas and hotels) whilst retaining much of the charm that attracted international writers and artists throughout the years. The historic heart of the city is the attractive medina, with the famous Petit Socco square the focus of kasbah life. The modern city is less visually appealing but home to many of the better hotels. Tangier in its current incarnation is a wonderful mix of traditional Arab and Berber architecture and culture with international influences, and a much more appealing place to visit than perhaps its reputation suggests.