Apartment | 2 bedrooms | sleeps 6
ground floor apartment
situated close to bus station restaurants, and 5 minutes walk to beach and markets.
Essaouira presents itself as a city full of culture: several small art galleries are found all over the town. Since 1998, the Gnaoua Festival of World Music is held in Essaouira, normally in the last week of June. It brings together artists from all over the world. Although focussed on gnaoua music, it includes rock, jazz and reggae. Dubbed as the "Moroccan Woodstock" it lasts four days and attracts annually around 450,000 spectators.
Essaouira is also renowned for its kitesurfing and windsurfing, with the powerful trade wind blowing almost constantly onto the protected, almost waveless, bay. Several world-class clubs rent top-notch material on a weekly basis. Parasols tend to be used on the beach as a protection against the wind and the blowing sand. Camel excursions are available on the beach and into the desert band in the interior.
Additionally, there are quad biking excursions, cookery courses, photographic excursions and Berber massages available for the active visitor.The medina is home to many small arts and crafts businesses, notably cabinet making and 'thuya' wood-carving (using roots of the Tetraclinis tree), both of which have been practised in Essaouira for centuries.
|Size||Sleeps up to 6, 2 bedrooms|
|Nearest beach||1 km|
|Nearest Amenities||1 km|
|Family friendly||Great for children of all ages, Suitable for people with restricted mobility|
|Notes||No pets allowed, No smoking at this property|
Features and Facilities
|General||TV, Satellite TV|
|Utilities||Cooker, Fridge, Washing machine|
|Rooms||2 bedrooms, 1 bathrooms of which 1 Family bathrooms|
|Furniture||Single beds (2), Double beds (1), Dining seats for 6, Lounge seats for 10|
The Marrakech/Essaouira region
Essaouira is an exceptional example of a late-18th-century fortified town, built according to the principles of contemporary European military architecture in a North African context. Since its foundation, it has been a major international trading seaport, linking Morocco and its Saharan hinterland with Europe and the rest of the world.
Justification for Inscription
Criterion ii. Essaouira is an outstanding and well preserved example of a late 18th century European fortified seaport town translated to a North African context. Criterion iv With the opening up of Morocco to the rest of the world in the later 17th century Essaouira was laid out by a French architect who had been profoundly influenced by the work of Vauban at Saint-Malo. It has retained its European appearance to a substantial extent.
Essaouira - “the jewel of the Atlantic” - is a small fortified port on the same latitude as Marrakech, between Safi and Agadir. see Morocco map
Since the first century B.C., there has been a small settlement on the Purple Islands, so-called because the murex, a mollusc from which the colour purple was extracted, was found in its waters.
In the 15th century, the Portuguese then came and built the first fortifications. The Scala is worthy of special mention. The city was then given the name Mogador.
Later, in the 18th century, merchants from Europe also arrived and the city began to enjoy its Golden Age. The sultan of that time, Sidi Mohamed ben Abdallah, decided to make it the most important port of the kingdom. He permitted different tribes to inhabit the city and consulates to be established: Denmark first, then France, Brasil and Portugal. This intelligent and tolerant prince even welcomed an important Jewish community, which contributed greatly to the development of the city. Mogador became the first Moroccan port to trade with the non-islamic world. It also became the destination for caravans bringing African riches from Timbuctu.
The town-planning was entrusted to the Frenchman Théodore Cornut, disciple of Vauban, who gave the city its present look, building ramparts and straight, wide streets.
However, the end of the big caravans and the development of Casablanca caused the decline of the city and it became less and less important.
Finally, in the 20th century, after the independence of the country, the town was given the name Essaouira- 'the well designed'.
However, in the seventies, the hippies discovered the town again and it became a fashionable destination, where even pop stars of that time - Jimmy Hendrix, Cat Stevens and others - liked to stay. Fascinated by its natural beauty, the film producer Orson Welles made his famous movie 'Othello' there.
Today, Essaouira, recently classified by Unesco as part of the World Heritage, should not be missed when visiting Morocco.
Tolerance, a multi-confessional tradition, the mildness of its climate and the kindness of its inhabitants make a visit worthwhile.
The old city
When entering one of the monumental gates, Bab Sbâa, Bab Marrakech or Bab Doukhala, you find yourself in the midst of an animated and joyful crowd, where everybody is going about his own business. There are no motor vehicles here, everything is carried by carts sometimes drawn by mules. What fascinates visitors are the white-washed house walls, the blue doors and windows which are reminiscent of Mediterranean islands. Owing to the straight main streets, you will have no problem finding your way and even if you get lost in the numerous small lanes, sooner or later you will find a main street again... or a dead-end.
What is also worth seeing is the central market with its numerous butcher shops. Under the market arcades you can find all kinds of merchants selling vegetables, spices and seeds, meat and fish.
To get away from the hustle and bustle of the marketplace, a glimpse at the ocean view from the Scala - the fortified place of the city - is breathtaking with its beautiful battery of canons pointing out to the sea.
Sooner or later, you will come to Moulay Hassan Square lined by trees and coffee bars where you can drink a peppermint tea and watch the coming and going of the Souiris, the inhabitants of Essaouira, who are very fond of this square.
A bit further on, past the Gate of the Marine, you will reach the port and shipyard, where ships are still built in the traditional way.
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