The City of Essouira
Location, demographics and climate. The city of Essaouira is a port city of the Kingdom of Morocco located on the west coast overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The city is halfway between Safi and Agadir (https://goo.gl/maps/6U7DQMAiPaRf5QuA8). The city is the capital of the province of Essaouira attached to the administrative region of Marrakech-Safi.
The city of Essaouira has 77,966 inhabitants.
The climate of the city is of steppic type. The average annual temperature is 13.9 °C. January is the coldest month in the city of Essaouira. January has an average temperature of 11.3 °C, while September, the hottest month, has an average temperature of 20.1 °C. The average annual rainfall is 285 mm.
History. Known in the Middle Ages as ‘Mogador’ (a name derived from an Amazigh word for ‘safe anchorage’), the city was first occupied by the Phoenicians and then by the Carthaginians. It is mentioned in the chronicles of the Carthaginian explorer Hanno in the 5th century B.C. It is also shown on medieval maps as Mogador. The city of Essaouira is almost an island city since it is located on a peninsula at a height of 3 to 6 metres above sea level. Islets shelter its port.
The city was founded by the Sultan Sidi Mohammed Ibn Abd Allah in 1765 to make it a competing port to that of Agadir. The plans of the city were drawn up by a French captive, Theodore Cornut. Its fortification was built in the style of the French military engineer Sebastien Le Pestre de Vauban.
A colony of Moroccan Jews was installed there for the expansion of trade.
The city is surrounded by sand dunes dotted with broom, dunes which themselves overlook forests of argan trees, a unique species in Morocco.
The medina of Essaouira or old town was classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001.
Tourist places. The city of Essaouira is a world-renowned tourist city. Among the most important tourist places, we have retained: the souks of the city, the medina, the port of Essaouira, the argan trees around Essaouira, the ramparts of the kasbah of Essaouira, the art galleries that dot the alleys of the city, the marquetry of Essaouira, the beach of Essaouira, the coastal road, the synagogue of Simon Attias, Dar liouba, Sidi Kaouki (furf beaches) and Dar Ti’Nid.
Every year in June, the city also hosts the Gnaoua and World Music Festival.