Photographer's Note

Harbour of Essaouira - a lady wating for the fisherman to come back.

Archaeological research shows that Essaouira has been occupied since prehistoric times. The bay at Essaouira is partially sheltered by the island of Mogador, making it a peaceful harbour protected against strong marine winds.
Essaouira has long been considered as one of the best anchorages of the Moroccan coast. During the 5th century BC, she was visited by the Carthaginian navigator Hanno, who established a trading post there. Around the end of the 1st century BC or early 1st century AD, Juba II established a Tyrian purple factory, processing the murex and purpura shells found in the intertidal rocks at Essaouira and the Iles Purpuraires. This dye was used to colour the purple stripe in Imperial Roman Senatorial togas.
During the Middle Ages, a muslim saint named Sidi Mogdoul was buried in Essaouira. In 1506, the king of Portugal ordered a fortress to be built there, named "Castelo Real de Mogador". The fortress fell to the local resistance of the Regraga fraternity four years later.
During the 16th century, various powers including Spain, England, the Netherlands and France tried in vain to conquer the locality. Essaouira remained a haven for the export of sugar molasses and the anchoring of pirates.
The actual city of Essaouira was only built during the 18th century. Mohammed III, wishing to reorient his kingdom towards the Atlantic for increased exchanges with European powers, chose Mogador as his key location. He hired a French engineer, Théodore Cornut, and several other European architects and technicians, to build the fortress along modern lines. Originally called "Souira", "The small fortress", the name then became "Es-Saouira", "The beautifully designed".
Mohammed ben Abdallah encouraged the establishment of Jewish and other foreign traders. They numbered approximately one thousand by 1780. He also forced European nations to establish consulates in the city, but the city did not flourish, as she was too far from the traditional caravan trade routes.

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Additional Photos by Michel Detay (mdetay) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 487 W: 1 N: 1045] (4929)
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