Essaouira city
Last Updated: May 14, 2023

Mohssin Mazar

Essaouira city in Morocco attracts visitors with its coastal beauty and vibrant atmosphere. The city prides itself on its pristine beaches and ancient blue-and-white walls that offer stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. It’s also a paradise for water sports enthusiasts, with opportunities to windsurf and sail. The bustling harbor is a hub of activity, where fishermen bring in their daily catch and visitors can sample fresh seafood at local restaurants. Also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Essaouira is full of narrow alleyways, colorful souks, and traditional crafts such as woodwork and silver jewellery. The city is also known for its music scene, hosting the annual Gnaoua World Music Festival. Essaouira’s unique blend of coastal charm, cultural heritage and lively atmosphere makes it a must-visit destination in Morocco.

About Essaouira city

Its UNESCO World Heritage-listed medina, the islet of Mogador, its 18th-century port, and its beaches, which enable water sports, make the province an attractive tourist destination.

Essaouira is a port community and municipality in Morocco located on the Atlantic coast, with approximately 78,000 residents. It is 173 kilometers north of Agadir, 174 kilometers west of Marrakech, and 406 kilometers south of Casablanca.

The old town of Essaouira, a charming port and lively seaside resort overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, is a veritable labyrinth of streets with old-style yet modern architecture, with charming hotels located in traditional Moroccan riads.

Want to discover Essaouira city?

There are a million different ways to try. Thanks to its natural, historical and cultural assets, Essaouira has great tourism potential and has become a prominent tourist destination.

Music from Essaouira

Today, music and art are two of the biggest year-round attractions in this laid-back Moroccan centre. Here, Jimi Hendrix once stayed. There are also persistent rumors that he composed “palaces of the sand” in Essaouira. He published his album in 1967, but Jimmy didn’t visit Essaouira until 1969 – a full two years later! Proof that the claims are simply that. However, blues, rock and local Gnaoua music first collided here in the turbulent 1960s, resulting in an unusual fusion of music.

The Gnaoua World Music Festival is an annual music festival at the end of June. Where on the ramparts, you can hear musicians performing traditional Gnaoua music throughout the year. Also, many painters and sculptors reside in Essaouira. The many shops and galleries scattered throughout the city also feature works by some of the most famous artists. In 2013, Voyages ranked Essaouira as one of the “Ten Happiest Destinations” on the planet.

The storied metropolis of Mogador

Essaouira conceals all the mysteries of the legendary city of Mogador behind its formidable ramparts, on an island almost swept by tropical trade winds. The city’s year-round average temperature of 20 degrees Celsius and the tranquil allure of its medina contribute to the city’s appeal. Since the seventh century B.C.E., Essaouira has been inhabited at the juncture of the four elements.

The commercial activities of this thriving port date back to antiquity, when Juba II of Mauritania selected it as the location for his Tyrian purple factories, a valuable dye whose lucrative trade with Rome began there. In the centuries that followed, the capital acquired many names.

Originally referred to as Amogdul, which translates to “well protected,” this term was corrupted by the Portuguese, who pronounced it Mogdura, while the French preferred “la mythique Mogador.” Depending on which translation you choose, the name Essaouira means “the pretty picture” or “well-drawn.”

Traveling to the metropolis of Essaouira city

The museum of Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdallah contains priceless collections of art and local customs from the Essaouira region. Its woodworking and jewelry-making galleries disclose the extent of the country’s ancestry and the dexterity of the city’s artisan creators. (From the kasbah, take Derb Laalouj.)

It is impossible to visit Essaouira without visiting its medina! The cobblestone streets lined with white and blue residences that reflect all of the hues and light of the ocean are a visual treat for any traveler. Don’t be intimidated by the city’s maze-like appearance; you can wander aimlessly without getting lost!

Take the Avenue Mohammed Zerktouni from the medina; on either side of the street is a picturesque market. Take the rue Syaghine near the mosque, and you’ll discover the jewelry souk, a true gem!
The artists’ square is located near the Bab Doukkala gate at the end of Mohammed Zerktouni Avenue. The city’s painters and musicians have set up their enterprises in this relaxed atmosphere.

It is a small location with a lot of personality

To reach the Kasbah of Essaouira, proceed from the Porte de la Marine (Sea Entrance) towards Place Moulay El Hassan. Further follow the ramparts on your left which will lead you through a passage. Then on the other side is the artisan area. Brass also adorns the most expensive objects carved from ebony or lime tree wood that you will encounter while wandering through workshops and vendors. Unimaginable art! Further continue up to the vast square at the summit of Skala, and allow yourself to drift off into daydreaming as you take in this panorama of sky and sea. Let the seabirds bob between the waves and the trade winds carry you away.

In the southwest corner of the city, at the point of the peninsula, is a bustling port. Visit this site to see flocks of seagulls and ships returning to port at the end of the morning. Criée is also starting soon! In addition, the port has a marine yard for the construction of traditional wooden trawlers. Also pass the large sea gate, the square and harbor fortifications and the small pointed bridge on your way there. The “chemin de ronde” or patrol path offers a stunning view of the purple islands and Essaouira beach.

Essaouira’s shoreline

Magnificent! It stretches as far as the eye can see and offers breathtaking views of the ocean. This is the only location from which you can see the ruins of an ancient Portuguese marine fortress. Due to the strong winds, the beach is a better location for walkers than for swimmers. Here, athletic tourists will want to rent a bicycle or go horseback riding!

2 Comments

  1. Abdellah

    I visit Essaouira every year and I can only say, it is a charming and yet affordable city to visit. The beach is clean and nit crowded.

    Reply
  2. Mahacine

    I have family in Essaouira and I have visited it. IT is one of the most visited cities in Morocco. You can hve fun there.

    Reply

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