Morocco: A Day Trip to Essaouira

I’m not really a history buff or interested in visiting a military architecture, but our travel guide mentioning the fact that the fortified town of Essaouira was once called Mogador and known for a long time as the Port of Timbuktu piqued my curiosity.  I imagined a remote place, untouched by time. Indeed, Essaouira has retained its old world charm, but as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is also widely visited by tourists. 

The Fortified Town

We first visited the port, which became one of the major Atlantic commercial centers between Africa and Europe in the 18th century. Although it is still a busy fishing and trade center today, it has retained its small village charm with small old boats all painted in blue and a few big fishing boats made of wood. 

We then visited inside the well-preserved mid-18th-century fortified seaport. The streets were so narrow, so we walked alongside the fortified walls on one side and the medina on the other side until we reached the lookout for the best view of the sea.

The display of colorful fruits and goods from the vendors softened the hard image of a military fort. In addition, the sweet aroma of spices and oils softened the smell of a fishy and salty sea; one could only imagine the colorful goods that were traded there centuries ago.

We walked to the fortress esplanade with a row of cannons, where I found the best view of the sea.

We passed a wider street, which I thought the only wide street in the town center, lined with fascinating architecture. My co-traveler had a smile on his face as we walked the wide street. He said, “You won’t find this type of architecture anymore, anywhere else in the world.” He explained that the rich history and the existence of diverse ethnic groups, such as Arabs, Africans, and Europeans were evident in the architecture. 

NOTE:  All photos by the author.



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