Essaouira

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Morocco

Essaouira Reviews

HelenP HelenP
51 reviews
Essaouira..The Blue and White Cat Loving Town Jan 24, 2017
The two most distinctive things about Essaouira are the colour of it's buildings and cats.

The town is predominantly painted blue and white and everywhere you look there will be a feline somewhere in your field of view; sleek house cats napping in the sunshine, chancer moggies hanging out around town and lanky strays fighting it out for scraps with the seagulls at the harbourside.

Place Moulay Hassan

This large, open, square is the place to go if you want to people watch. Get there late afternoon and sit in the honeyed sunshine as both locals and tourists stroll by.

At the eastern edge cafes and souvenirs stalls abound. It is also here that my favorite pistachio ice cream can be located (in the Italian Cafe). The western border leads to the fried fish stalls and harbor. North are the ramparts and south the long curve of fine beach and new build apartment blocks.

The Old Town

The old town, or Medina area is nestled within the town walls and consists of a jumble of streets leading off from two main thoroughfares grandly named "avenues". Cars are banned which is just as well as avoiding bikes, hand carts and the odd moped is enough for anyone!

There is a definite French feel in places, such as the very Gallic cafe d'horlage (clock tower cafe), the bureau de tabac, baguettes, hot chocolate and patisseries. This is not surprising as was not only Morocco a French protectorate during the early years of the twentieth century, but it is still a popular destination for French tourists.

The Mellah

Although it is very hard to believe as you walk through the tumble-down alleyways and demolition site which is the present day mellah, this was once the beating heart of Essaouira. Muslims were not allowed to conduct financial transactions, so it was the large Jewish community who enabled the town to prosper as a trading port.

The area became neglected after most of the occupants emigrated to Israel in the fifties and sixties. Only the cemetery and two remaining synagogues along with the odd doorway sporting the star of David stand testimony to what was one a community of several thousand.

The Harbor

Although Essaouira is a popular tourist town, it is also a thriving fishing port. The catch is brought in mid-afternoon and sold directly at the quayside whilst seagulls swoop, screaming in excitement, and around the stalls a troupe of felines look on in barely concealed anticipation.

The Beach

The beach sweeps for miles in a wide, seem-less arc, backed by the modern promenade and gleaming white new-build apartment blocks. It is a popular spot with young men who gather there in the early evening to play football.

The Ramparts

The ramparts, built to protect the port and the ancient cannon are still in place, though now merely as props for tourist photos. A walk on the ramparts offers good views of the town. Sea views from at sunset are wonderful.

Along the sea wall runs The Skala, with its many tourist shops a d cafes.
The ramapart and Medina
Place Moulay Hassan, whith ice cre…
Ice cream Cafe
Vanilla and pistachio ice cream.. …
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