Essaouira Part III – The City
The people we met in Essaouira and the food we shared all added to our enjoyment of what is, at the end of the day, a really wonderful, charming city. Built at the northern end of a 2 mile crescent-shaped beach, the medina of the city compact – large enough to get lost in but small enough that you’ll find your way quickly. There’s a central market where vegetables, fish, and meats are sold, and the western edge of the medina houses a huge fish market where fishermen pull their boats up and customers can buy fresh fish and wait as it’s cleaned and cooked on the grill right in front of you.
The back side of the medina, around the historic Jewish quarter, is in ruins. We haven’t been able to determine why – some have said that the buildings collapsed in 1960 during the same earthquake that leveled nearby Agadir, but we haven’t been able to confirm that. Moving inward, scattered throughout the medina are pieces of street art and graffiti, with a high quality not unlike that we saw in Casablanca. And of course, as with all cities in Morocco, there are cats everywhere.
Leaving the medina and walking south along the beach, there are cafes and restaurants about every 100 yards lining the beach. We spent plenty of afternoons aimlessly wandering down the beach, stopping into these cafes for tea or lunch while we watched the kiteboarders and windsurfers ply their trade in the non-stop winds of the beach.
Descriptions of the city don’t really do its beauty justice, so I’ll let the pictures below do the talking. If you’re planning to visit Morocco, we highly recommend adding Essaouira to your itinerary. It’s a small town with a lot going on though, so be sure to give yourself ample time to explore and enjoy everything the city has to offer. (You can also check out our 8 (Not So Obvious) Tips for Enjoying Morocco)
We loved our time in Morocco and hope to come back in the future, but we were definitely ready for the next leg of our ‘Around the World’ adventure – South Africa!