Former Mogador might be named after the saint and Berber patron saint Sidi Magdoul (tomb on the entrance to town). The title may additionally come from the phrase Amegdoul, “the well-protected one”. The origins of the port and buying and selling heart return to the Carthaginian admiral Hanno (round 465 BC), who arrange a base right here. The Nubians King Juba II maintained purple producers within the 1st century AD. The reddish dye obtained from the purple snail gave the offshore islands their title (purple islands) and was equipped to the Romans at excessive costs.
At first of the sixteenth century, the Portuguese underneath King Manuel I constructed a primary fort on the Atlantic (1506). They baptized town of Mogadouro. At occasions, town additionally served as a haven for pirates.
Town didn’t get its present kind till the center of the 18th century. Essaouira was in-built 1765 on behalf of the Alaouite Sultan Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdallah and with the participation of the French fortress architect Théodore Cornut as a port that would compete with Agadir and Salé. Cornut was a pupil of Vauban, who in flip (amongst different issues) fortified La Rochelle, Essaouira’s sister metropolis on the Atlantic. In distinction to the opposite Moroccan (previous) cities, the streets are lifeless straight.
After the closure of the port of Agadir (1765), Mogador grew to become an necessary port and buying and selling heart. Jewish merchants settled within the metropolis. Within the Nineteenth century, Mogador managed 40% of the nation’s abroad commerce. Caravans from Timbuktu introduced gold and ivory from the south and exchanged it for leather-based items, salt and sugar from Morocco. 7 Days Morocco Journey
It was solely within the twentieth century that its significance as a buying and selling metropolis declined, when the French occupation of Timbuktu interrupted commerce within the Sahara and different giant ports akin to Casablanca and Agadir all the time made Thehr competitors.
Vacationers are primarily within the medina, the harbor and the lengthy sandy seashore in Essaouira. The adjoining new city has nothing particular to supply guests. The principle streets of the previous city are Av. Oqba Ibn Nafi (or Okba Ben Nafi) and their extensions Av. de Istiqlal and Av. Mohamed Zerktouni. The principle entrance gates into the medina are the Bab Sbâa and the Bab Marrakech. On the north finish of Av. Mohamed Zerktouni is town gate Bab Doukkala.
Coming into the medina by way of the Bab Sbâa, one walks straight onto the outstanding clock tower (L’horloge) within the metropolis partitions at Av. Oqba Ibn Nafi to. It was accomplished in 1928 and continues to be a very good landmark as a landmark at the moment. From there, you’ll be able to flip proper onto Avenue de l’Istiqlal, which takes you on to the full of life souks (Suq Djedid, Avenue Mohamed Zerktouni). Locals purchase contemporary fruits, greens, spices, meat and fish right here, in addition to garments, materials, family items and electrical home equipment. The internal courtyard of the Marché aux grains (previous grain market) with good cafés for tea or a small lunch is value seeing. Distributors promote jewelry, clothes and handicrafts within the courtyard. Instantly reverse (on the opposite facet of the market alley Suq Djedid) is the fish and spice market with every kind of outlets for spices, herbs and helpful issues for the hammam (olive cleaning soap, peeling gloves, clay masks rhassoul and so on.) underneath the arcades.
For those who flip left from the clock tower, you attain the principle sq. of the medina, the Place Moulay Hassan with terrace eating places, banks and a small inexperienced space with fish stalls grouped round it. Particularly within the night hours there’s a number of hustle and bustle with strolling locals and vacationers having fun with the environment earlier than sundown with a view of the ocean. Throughout the sq. one marches south to the walled fishing port flanked by fortress towers, which one enters by way of the Porte de la Marine. Sardine fishing begins right here in June. 8 Days Morocco Journey
The hustle and bustle on the harbor (together with the fish public sale, often within the morning) and the bringing in of the nets in addition to the standard boatyards, which nonetheless produce the gorgeous, blue picket boats, are value seeing. Again at Place Moulay Hassan, take Rue de la Sqala to the Sq(okay)ala de la Kasbah (entry day by day 9 a.m. to eight.30 p.m.). You may stroll on the large partitions between the fortress towers, admire the bronze cannons made in Spain (Seville, 1743) and luxuriate in an exquisite view of the Atlantic cliffs and the sundown. Within the arcades beneath the Sqala Wall, craftsmen promote their inlaid thuja and lemon tree wooden for which Essaouria is understood.
On Rue Laâlouj, which additionally results in Sqala or which takes you again to Av. Oqba Ibn Nafi and the clock tower, is the small museum Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdallah (irregular opening occasions, formally day by day 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., entry: 70 DH). This Nineteenth-century riad hosts altering exhibitions on folks tradition themes because the finish of 2013, for instance in regards to the historical past of tea as a nationwide drink in Morocco. Within the museum you may as well be taught so much in regards to the Gnaoua (Gnawa). The musicians of West African origin are identified for his or her ecstatic dances and rhythms. The Maâlems conjure up the spirits with their non secular rituals. Gnaoua music is popularly believed to have the ability to heal ailments and transmit “baraka”. The Al-Qacha district between Sqala and Rue d’Oujda is the middle of Gnaoua musicians. For those who’re
fortunate, you’ll be able to (watch out when taking photographs, ask earlier than!) If you would like, you may as well be taught to play one of many conventional devices in Essaouira.
Through the Rue Touahen or the Rue Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdallah you’ll be able to stroll from the Sqala or the Rue Laâlouj by way of the alleys within the north of the medina to the Mellah (previous Jewish quarter). Right here town presents itself utterly otherwise than within the vacationer space across the Place Moulay Hassan: the previous homes and stone arches are decaying, the garbage is gathering within the ruins. It’s higher to keep away from the facet streets of the district at evening. A brand new museum on Jewish historical past in Morocco and Jewish life in Essaouira is the Maison de la Mémoire/Bayt Al Dakyra on Rue Mehdi Ibn Toumert (Sei-Rengasse of Rue Laâlouj).
Artwork lovers shouldn’t miss to go to one of many galleries within the medina. One of the best identified is the Van Damgaard Gallery on rue Oqba Ibn Nafi, the place canals from town and throughout Morocco exhibit their balder and sculptures. Additionally, go to
Attar Kabir’s Kasbah Gallery on Rue Tétouan (see “Procuring/Galleries”) is a gallery with interesting and cheap photos, together with these by much less well-known artists. wooden sculptures, ceramics, carpets and brass.
Exterior the previous city, it’s value having a look on the Complexe Business, which was constructed a couple of years in the past within the well-kept park between Bab Sbâa and Bab Marrakech. Galleries and the Middle de la Bijouterie Artisanale (silver jewellery) have settled there. 10 Days Morocco Journey
From Bab Sbâa, Bd. Mohamed V leads south as a large avenue alongside the lengthy sandy seashore. On the gorgeous seashore promenade, cafés and eating places invite you to linger. Seaside holidaymakers can hire loungers and parasols. Within the “windy metropolis” of Essaouira. Breeze a median water temperature of 18°C between November and April it’s usually too chilly for swimming. The promenade ends within the south on the surf heart and terrace restaurant Océan Vagabond. There you’ll be able to watch the wind and kite surfers within the waves or experience a camel or horse throughout the seashore or be guided.