Essaouira Day Trip from Marrakesh
Essaouira is an exceptional example of a fortified city of the late eighteenth century, built according to the principles of contemporary European military architecture in a North African context. Since its founding, it has been an important international maritime port of commerce, linking Morocco and its Saharan hinterland to Europe and the rest of the world.
Formerly known as the Mogador, it is famous for its many shades of blue: blue sky, deep blue sea, blue trawlers and sardines loaded with their catch of the day, tiny blue boats huddling against each other, Blue shutters and doors on bright white walls.
Essaouira, which means “well-designed” in Berber, is a fortified city dating back to the time of the Phoenicians, who called it Migdol or small fortress. In 1506, the city became the seat of a Portuguese fortress and was reinforced by the construction of ramparts.
Today’s Essaouira goes back to 1765, when the Alaouite sultan Sidi Mohamed ben Abdallah decided to build a port for the city to open to the world. He then appealed to Theodore Cornut, French specialist in military fortifications and pupil of Vauban, inspired by the lines of the fortifications of St Malo. He built the famous Scala, a 200-meter-long esplanade with cannons and a fort in the European tradition. The medina of Essaouira is the only one in Morocco built on plan.
Subsequently, Mogador became an important hub for commercial activities with the South. Nicknamed “Port of Timbuktu”, the port of Essaouira hosted caravans loaded with gold and spices from sub-Saharan Africa. For many years, Essaouira was the only Moroccan port open to foreign trade and it is via Mogador that tea was introduced in Morocco in the eighteenth century.
Nowadays, the city represents one of the main attraction of the country and that is what you will discover via this Essaouira day trip from Marrakesh.