Essaouira (in Arabic Al Saweera, meaning “fortress surrounded by ramparts”) was renowned for the production of purple dye during the Roman Empire. It was renamed Amogdoul after its Berber leader Sidi Mogdoul and served as an important transit center for merchandise passing from the Souss and the Southern region. In the 15th century Essaouira was renamed once again as Mogador by the Spanish. In the 16th century, Essaouira served as an important site for sugar-cane production and for a large influx of Portuguese immigrants. From the 17th centuries on, various tribes that make up the socially diverse Moroccan population were drawn to Essaouira.
Known as Morocco’s most romantic city, Essaouira is home of a large community of artists (known for “naïve”, “tribal”, and “trance” art and serves as an important center of Moroccan handicrafts, particularly for woodwork. It houses an important festival that brings folkloric troupes from the Tamanar region. The best way to explore Essaouira is perhaps by taking a walk along the fascinating 18th century Portuguese ramparts. The port, built in 1769, is particularly bustling with its beautifully colored fishing boats and nets piled up on the quayside. The Medina becoming a vibrating commercial center offers a magnificent look at both Moroccan and Portuguese architecture from jewelry workshops, woodworking shops to Moorish cafes. Essaouira offers some great seafood restaurants. Many travelers to Morocco make Essaouira their last destination city of their Morocco Trips.
The Mellah, the old Jewish quarter bordered by a market stretching to Bab Doukkala is also known for Jewish’s gold and silversmiths. The Ethnological museum features a collection of items portraying ritual life of Essaouira (musical instruments, carpets from different parts of Morocco, wood-carving techniques and motifs etc...). The art galleries such as “Gallerie d´Art Frederic Damgaard” and “Espace Othello Gallerie d´Art” display magnificent work by local and international painters and sculptors. Essaouira is considered a MUST as part of your honeymoon vacation package to Morocco.