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Tourist attractions in Essaouira

Bab Doukkala

The main thoroughfare of Essaouira is a street with three names. It leaves the harbor as the Avenue Okba Ibn Nafi, it later becomes the Avenue de Istiqlal and ends up as the Rue Mohammed Zerktouni. At the east end of the medina, this main road reaches Bab Doukkala, one of three town gates. In the afternoon, crowds gather outside the Bab Doukkala to watch storytellers and musicians perform.

Watchtower (Horloge)

On the Avenue Okba Ibn Nafi, you cannot miss the watchtower. It looms before you after you pass through Bab as-Sebaâ. It is unique and beautiful as well as a useful landmark.

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The habour

Essaouira’s history as a maritime trading center dates back to the time of Hanno, a Carthaginian Admiral circa 465 B.C.The harbor sits on the jetty that stretches from the beginning of Avenue Okba Ibn Nafi.To reach it, you pass the customs house or you lead through the Marine door, which was built in 1764. The area around the harbor is one of the liveliest in Essaouira. In the afternoon the activity reaches a frenzy, as the fishermen return to unload their catch. Arrive around 4pm and, with a bit of bargaining, you can bring home some of the day’s catch for yourself. There is also a fish auction in the late morning. In June, the sardine fishery opens in Essaouira. Perhaps the most fascinating is to watch the fishermen at their craft. Seeing them building their boats or repairing their nets makes you feel like time has stopped.Heading back towards the medina, you will find a number of open-air restaurants that serve seafood grilles over hot embers.They are open from midday to sunset everyday.

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Scala du Port

Adults 10 DHChildren  (less than 12 years) 3 DHschool classes 2 DH

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Scala de la Kasbah

Heading north along “Rue de la Sqala”, away from the Place Moulay Hassan you will come to the access point for the ramparts of the old Portuguese fort. The ramparts are still “protected” by towers and some very well maintained 18th and 19th century bronze cannons. They date to as early as 1743 and were cast in Spain.At the fort of the wall is a cluster of handicraft shops selling wooden objects made from the renowned Thuya tree. Thuya is Essaouira’s most important artisanal product and can be found all over town.Also on the way to the “Sqala de Kasbah”, on the “Rue Laaloui”, you will find the small museum of popular art Sidi Mohammed Ben Adallah.

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Ile de Mogador

During the first century A.D. Juba II manufactured a highly valued dye in Essaouira. The red dye, made from the purple snail, gave the islands their name. You can see a ruined Portuguese Fort that was later used as a prison and further along you will notice the ruins of an old mosque. Nowadays the islands serve as a sanctuary for Eleonora’s falcons. To visit, you will need to convince a fisherman to take you, as there are no official tours. You will also need to obtain permission from the commissariat.

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The markets of Essaouira

Between Avenue l’Istiqlal and the Bab Doukkala you find a huge variety of shops dealing in just about everything. Here you can find fine thuya wood products, hand-woven carpets and intricately embroidered traditional clothing like the Jellaba. Going further on you will get to see the bustle of the fruit and vegetable market. This is fallowed by the fish market and then the Berber market where chickens, ducks, doves and rabbits are all for sale. There is also a big weekly market or “souq” which takes place in “Nouvelle Sqala” every Sunday.

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Fishmarket

Between Avenue l’Istiqlal and the Bab Doukkala you find a huge variety of shops dealing in just about everything. Here you can find fine thuya wood products, hand-woven carpets and intricately embroidered traditional clothing like the Jellaba. Going further on you will get to see the bustle of the fruit and vegetable market. This is fallowed by the fish market and then the Berber market where chickens, ducks, doves and rabbits are all for sale. There is also a big weekly market or “souq” which takes place in “Nouvelle Sqala” every Sunday

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Marché au grain

The wheat market can be found next to the old cavern. Here they deal in second-hand merchandise. If you are around near 5pm you will see callers pedding their goods. This is a tradition that has been kept for centuries.

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Juwelers market

You will find the jeweller’s market near Mohammed El Gorry street. When the Jewish community in Essaouira was strong, this market was famous for its quality output. However, since most of the Jewish silversmiths departure, there are but a few tradesmen who still make their own jewelery.

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