Plan of Essaouira was designed and partly fulfilled by French military architect Theodor Cournut. While port zone was built by Ahmed El Inglizi – the Englishman who had joined Berber pirates in Sale and abandoned Christianity for Islam. He was also known as Ahmed El Alj (Ahmed the Renegade).
(Porte de la Marine)
GPS coordinates: 31°30’36″N 9°46’25″W (31.509986, -9.773597)
In 1770 Ahmed El Inglizi had erected fortifications in port of Essaouira and the gate Bab el-Marsa. Pediment of gate (facade facing port) is decorated with Arabic inscription. It informs about the order of sultan Mohammed ben Abdallah to Ahmed el Inglizi to start building of the port. Actually both names of the gate have the same meaning.
Sqala du Port
(Also Scala du Port and Skala du Port)
GPS coordinates: 31°30’37.3″N 9°46’26.8″W (31.510372, -9.774120)
Entrance: 10 MAD (in 2019)
Sqala du Port is an artillery platform that was built in 18th century like Bab el-Marsa. It used to be one of the main fortifications of Essaouira. Its function was to defend port. This is the place where the vanished castle was located. Obviously the castle had served as a source of materials for construction of Sqala. Scala du Port starts from Bab el-Marsa and ends with Borj el-Barmil (the fort).
The fortification was erected in Manueline style – from one hand it is unique for Morocco, from the other hand there’s a common mistake: people tend to consider that port fortifications were built by Portuguese as Manueline style is Portuguese late Gothic style. It’s wrong opinion because last Portuguese left Essaouira in 16th century and fortifications were erected 2 centuries later.
While walking on Sqala you will find numerous authentic canons of Spanish and Dutch origin. Also the fortification offers a great view to the town and the port – you may climb up the tower or use a picturesque hole in the wall. The hole is even equipped with a stairway for tourists who want to make pictures sitting in this “window”. GPS coordinates: 31°30’36.7″N 9°46’25.8″W (31.510192, -9.773820)
The port and fish market
GPS coordinates: 31°30’33.3″N 9°46’29.1″W (31.509246, -9.774742)
Nowadays fortified trading port turned into a fishing port (the 3d one in country after Agadir and Casablanca). About previous fame remind only canons and fortifications. Fish market seems to be chaotically organized, but it is always in the same location – fishermen park their boats and are ready to sell the freshest fish they’ve just caught.
The market attracts not only customers: vendors clean fish and put all the waste right here – it is a kind of signal for seagulls that prefer to follow lazy voice of evolution rather than to hunt on their own.
Here you can take a look at boats, vessels and tackles, examine sea creatures for sale and take some funny pictures of seagulls before they have “marked” your camera and you. Try to avoid dropping anything in the fish market zone (hold your headwear) – I don’t think there will be any dirtier place in Morocco under your shoes.
Take Essaouira map with you – just click the star and it will be saved in your Google account. Any locations in this region that I will add later will appear on your map.