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History

DCF 1.0
DCF 1.0
 

History

Some facts about history you find here Essaouira, once called Mogador, is thought to be named after Saint Sidi Magdol (you will find his grave at the town’s entry). Some say the name Mogador has its origins in the word “Amegdol”, meaning “well-obtained”. Whatever its name, the site known today as Essaouira has been visited by traders for hundreds of years. Caravans are known to have brought ivory and gold dust here from Sub-Saharan Africa since the 11th century. Essaouira had also been, from time to time, a favored private baunt. The Portuguese built a fort here in 1506. The town you see today was founded in 1785; it was built according to the plans of the French engineer corunt, imprisoned during the reign of Mohammed Ben Abdullah. It is for these reasons that, in contrast to other Moroccan medinas, the main roads here run straight and at right angles. After the closing of the harbor at Agadir, Mogador gained in importance. Many Jewish merchants settled here. The caravans from Timbuktu brought ivory and gold in exchange for leather salt and sugar. Consequently, when the French occupied Timbuktu early in the 20th century, Essaouira lost its eminence as a center for trade.

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Economy

The economy of Essaouira peaked from the 17th to the early 20th century, thanks in particular to the massive presence of Jews called by Sultan Ahmed El Mansour Eddahbi and that of a large European community. Many sweets were built by the Saadian Morocco, particularly in the Haouz. It was at this glorious time that economic and trade grew with Europe ...

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City Map

The old medina was surrounded by doors that protected the city and were closed after sunset. The Kasbah is the oldest part of the city; it was the residential area of the Makhzen consisting of city leaders. Entry was through the door "Bab Sbaâ" by skirting the north there is "Bab Doukala" and to the east of it "Bab Marrakech" gives the new neighborhoods on the edge of the dunes. The north of the Kasbah was occupied by the consuls. The sultan built a house for each of them. The Kasbah was also complée by the house of Spain "Da Musica" designed by the Spanish plans. Denmark's house and the house of Holland were located at the end of the street Hoummane El Fatouaki; at the northern entrance of the Kasbah "Derb Laâlouj" was the residence of the envoy of Genoa. In 1775 the Sultan created a workshop for minting coins in Kasbah which also was, at the time, the house of Germany at the end of the street Ibn Zuhr which were built a church and the Portuguese consulate. The great mosque of Sidi Youssef Ben was at the limit of the Kasbah and médina.Les Jews, most of whom were traders, economic and political intermediaries or consultant representatives of foreign powers, lived in the Mellah neighborhood located beachfront, west side of the Kasbah. This neighborhood was built on the orders of Moulay Slimane to alleviate the Kasbah. The palace of the Sultan who was called "Dar Sultan", was built outside and south of the city, near the coast. It was furnished with European and featured five pavilions which it remains only a few ruins. In 1820, the palace Dar Sultan used to local authorities. Before being fully silted up, he was surrounded by tamarisk forest. In 1863 a new Kasbah is built on the orders of Sultan Mohamed Ben Abderrahmane. "Mohamed Barakat" meaning the blessing of the prophet, is a sacred term for the inhabitants of Essaouira. Just found this inscription over the city; on the four faces of the two towers of the Portuguese Sqala carved on all four sides of the first monument, at the entrance to the town by the coast. It is present also in handicrafts (on plates cedar) and in the works of painters and calligraphers.

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Essaouira today

Today, Essaouira is a healthy fishing harbor and beach resort. Although tourism has grown steadily, Essaouira retains its laidback atmosphere and local color. It remains off of most package-tour itineraries, yet it has plenty to offer the independent traveler. Currently, Essaouira's airport is served only by domestic flights from Casablanca; however, international connections are expected soon.

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