Essaouira is one of Morocco’s most enjoyable and attractive towns on the coast. It’s charm is undeniable with its white washed and blue shuttered houses, art galleries, wood workshops, fishermen and colorful boats- all enclosed by ancient red walls. The town faces a group of rocky islands and is surrounded by an expanse of empty sandy beaches and dunes. Everything in the small center is within walking distance and the beaches are quite clean. In summer many people from the big cities come for a day or two to escape the heat and tension of the big cities.
Many tourists are attracted by the constant wind, good for wind-surfing and surfing. The windy city has become internationally famous for its contests and has brought windsurfers from all over the world.
Essaouira was founded by the Portuguese in the 18th century. Although Essaouira (then called Mogador) was home to a series of forts beginning in the 15th century, it was only in the 1760s that the town, then called Mogador, was established and the walls were constructed. The town’s blend of Moroccan and French architecture is due to the fact that a French captive architect, Theodore Cornut, designed it under the orders of the Sultan Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah.
In the 19th century, Mogador was the only port (outside of Tangier) that was open to European trade.
This protected trade status attracted British merchants, who settled in the Kasbah and a large Jewish community.
The town went into decline during the beginning of the 20th century as the French protectorate favored Casablanca and the Jewish community left. However, thanks to tourism and its fishing port, it is again on an upward swing.
Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah Museum