Moroccan cities: Essaouira

In the series with Moroccan cities today we focus the spotlight on Essaouira.

Essaouira is a city in Western Morocco, the charming coastal town is located on a long narrow Rocky Peninsula on the Atlantic Ocean. Essaouira has a rich history as a trading place on the coast, a place where Arabs, Africans and Europeans met. It has a busy port with beautiful blue boats.

In the years 60 and 70 ´ ´ became much visited by artists and other artistic people. This coastal town seems like a photo from a French picture book with fortress walls, watchtowers, the busy fish market and the cosy city centre. The vibe that there is is pretty unique, you can relax in Essaouira but can also enough activities such as at ease walking through the old town, a cooking workshop or to the delicious fresh beach. By the tight wind that blows here, it is an ideal place for surfers.

The fishing town has about 77,966 inhabitants (2014).

The history of the city goes back to the 5th century BC, when the Carthaginian navigator Hanno a voyage along the west coast of Africa had created and founded a few trading posts.

The fishing town of stood in the Middle Ages known as Mogador. In 1506 Essaouira was occupied by the Portuguese, who built the fort Castelo Real there that they had to give in 1510.

The current Essaouira in 1760 was founded by the Alaouieten-Sultan Muhammad bin-abdullah. His name is still attached to the museum of Moroccan arts. The 18th century is Essaouira's golden age, mainly thanks to the trade with Europe. Essaouira became one of the main trading centers of Morocco and the main fishing port for Timbuktu.

This was an era that marked by the peaceful coexistence of different groups, including the Arabs, Berbers, Jews and Portuguese. Mogador was then the main point of contact between Africa and the rest of the world.

The end of the 20th century brings a surprising revival of Essaouira. The city become best known as one of the main attractions of Morocco with might be the best surfing conditions to its Atlantic coast. The medina of Essaouira is proclaimed by UNESCO as world cultural heritage.

Essaouira has a large, beautiful and vast sandy beach where you can enjoy the Sun. Essaouira has the nickname the ' windy city ', and that is also largely true. The trade winds keep the temperature in Essaouira always comfortable, perhaps around 25 degrees.

In addition to sunbathing on the beach and swimming in the sea there are plenty of sports activities. You can also Quad biking over the beach and the dunes, sloping ramps, tough obstacles and sharp turns. Are you not as the challenges and do you want it to do, rather then you can also choose to kite flying, by the high winds it is a challenge to him as long as possible in the air.

It used to be the main port of Essaouira Morocco because the city at the end of the caravans from Timbuktu. In the fishing port is there is a significant amount of fish, especially sardines. From one hour or three fishermen come back and they are auctioning their catch. It's nice to here during the day or around sunset a look.

Around sunset the fishermen prepare their nets again busy for the next day. You can further shipbuilders at work on their traditional wooden fishing boats and fishermen that their boats painting or entertain their nets.

You can buy fresh fish or seafood on the fish market. Near the sea gate you'll find stalls selling you after you purchase your fish, it can prepare and then directly on can eat. Fresher can not and it is a true culinary delight.

Essaouira offers many possibilities for water sports enthusiasts, for the wind-and kitesurfers is Essaouira is the place to be while by strong wind and high waves. Can not only advanced by the usually strong wind surfing in the sea, through the sheltered bay of Essaouira is also an ideal surf spot for beginners. There are also several surf schools and surf shops in Essaouira for any amenities.

It is possible to have a ride on a horse or camel in the nearby Diabat, and guided tour through the dunes. You drive along the mouth of the River, along the famous fort and through the beautiful dunes. A trip on the back of a camel or Dromedary is a unique experience.

The Medina of Essaouira is mentioned on the UNESCO World Heritage list, in part due to the fusion of Moroccan and European styles. The old town is surrounded by a large wall with bastions. During the day, anyone who can hold in the medina shopping fun at the many shops where tajines, souvenirs, handmade jewelry, dress, shoes, herbs and other stuff. In contrast to the Medina's in many other Moroccan cities is the heart of the medina of Essaouira no great maze, but a fine place for walking.

The main port is the Bab Doukkala, starting from this port, you go through the main street in directly towards the port. On both sides of the main street you will find various souks. Each neighborhood in the souk has its own special character and products out there.

The ramparts of Essaouira are located on the side of the Atlantic, the walls are built in the 18th century to protect the Harbour from intruders. This imposing bastion has 19 bronze cannons erected towards the sea. You can sit here and enjoy a beautiful view of the sea and its rocks, don't forget the picture to make the breathtaking sunset.

There are fun to follow workshops in which you will learn among other things some of the well known Moroccan cuisine cooking. The workshops are usually in French or English.

In Essaouira are mild winters with temperatures around 15 and 16 degrees. In summer the average temperatures between 22 and 25 degrees. Are you looking for an active vacation than fresh are the winter months. Would you like more of a Sun, sea and beach holiday but then not too hot? Then the summer months here suitable for, it is generally fresher by the wind compared to the Interior.

Essaouira has an airport, Aéroport de Mogador, go there several times a week flights to Europe. Essaouira has no train station, but a bus station. The bus station is a 20-minute walk from the port. There drive on taxis and there are possibilities to rent a car.

Morocco has so much beauty and features beautiful spots, more on this next week in the next city!

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