The city of Essaouira is among the most beautiful and peaceful Moroccan cities. It is also the symbol of peaceful coexistence between Muslim, Jewish and Christian communities, as well as openness to various civilizations. This is what has made it a must-see destination for tourists from all over the world. The international festival “Gnaoua, World Music” has only strengthened its attractiveness.
It should be noted that Essaouira is the stronghold of Moroccan Jews. It is where the largest number of them have gathered, especially in the Mellah district which was built by Sultan Ahmed Al-Mansour Addahbi in order to bring the best Jewish merchants there to revitalize the city’s economy and make it the economic capital of the Kingdom.
“Mogador” is the old name of Essaouira. According to historians, it means “the city with the wall”. Its history dates back to the post-Christian era. It was occupied by Phoenicians, Romans, Portuguese, Mauritanians, Amazighs, Saadians and Alaouites, who rebuilt it in its present form.
A favorite destination of the “hippies” in the 60s and 70s of the last century, Essaouira is known for its walls, “Sqalas” and towers that were used for its defense against foreign invasion, in addition to its immense gates. The town is famous for its winds and seagulls, which is why it is nicknamed “the city of winds and gulls”. It is also popular with surfing enthusiasts who flock here from all over the world to enjoy their favorite pastime at any time of the year.
Essaouira is a simple city. Its tourists, whether foreign or local, have a mentality that is different from that of visitors from other cities. Most of them seek peace and quiet and escape the noisy nights. Most of them love the Gnaoua music that provides oxygen for the city’s inhabitants, just as they love the sea, the charm and nobility of the original restaurants of the ancient city, where one can find all kinds of objects, sculptures of juniper trees, silver and copper jewelry, as well as various creations of Moroccan craftsmanship.
The city is also known for its fish, especially sardines, which visitors greatly appreciate, just as they also enjoy tasting other species of fish served by the restaurants in the port of Essaouira, which has been known since ancient times for its marine activity and the abundance of its fish resources.
The city had the honor of receiving a royal visit, during which His Majesty King Mohammed VI personally inquired about the progress of many projects, such as the rehabilitation of the medina, especially the Jewish quarter, and the restoration of some churches.