Essaouira Part III – The City

This is the final part of a three part series about Essaouira. Be sure to read Part One and Part Two first.

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)

Narrow tunnel leading out of the Jewish Quarter on the back side of the medina.

Narrow tunnel leading out of the Jewish Quarter on the back side of the medina.

Sunset over the Atlantic as seen from our AirBNB Apartment.

Sunset over the Atlantic as seen from our AirBNB Apartment.

Pastries for sale at La Maison Gourmande

Pastries for sale at La Maison Gourmande

Project 91, a non-profit resale shop that employs locals and recent immigrants.

Project 91, a non-profit resale shop that employs locals and recent immigrants.

A cat sleeping in a basket on the main street in the center of the medina.

A cat sleeping in a basket on the main street in the center of the medina.

The view from our table at one of the many beachside cafes, looking out toward the sea.

The view from our table at one of the many beachside cafes, looking out toward the sea.

Street art in an ally in the center of the medina.

Street art in an ally in the center of the medina.

Street art in an alley in the center of the medina.

More street art.

More street art in the center of the medina.

An example of the impressive detail and shading present in some of the street art.

An example of the impressive detail and shading present in some of the street art.

More street art (can you tell we liked the street art?)

The courtyard just outside the southern end of the medina, well manicured and cherry.

The courtyard just outside the southern end of the medina, well manicured and cherry.

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!

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