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Maroc 2017

What about Africa for a change?

We spent six weeks in Morocco, a country at the door step of Europe and full of surprises.

We discovered a great people, medieval medinas and modern cities, Roman ruins, colonial relics and breathtaking landscapes, an interesting mix of tradition and modernity.

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Path: Photos > The Atlantic Coast: Rabat and Essaouira
Tags: Morocco  2017

The Atlantic Coast: Rabat and Essaouira



After Chefchaouen, we headed to Rabat, the capital city of Morocco. We did not like the place itself very much, but it was a good and interesting base to visit Casablanca and Salé.

We have a blog entry about our first impressions of Casa. We returned to the Atlantic shores at the end of our trip: coming from Taroudannt, we stopped for a few days in Essaouira before moving on to Imlil and Marrakesh.

 View of Rabat's medina from the esplanade of Le Tour Hassan.
Le Tour Hassan and a few pillars are all what remains of a huge mosque built around 1196. It was at that time meant to become the biggest mosque in the western Islamic World. Its minaret, never reaching the intended height of 60m but stopping at 44m, was built to the same design as the Giralda in Seville and the Koutoubia in Marrakesh. Unfortunately the mosque was never fully completed and fell into a state of dereliction over the years, serving as a supply for building materials to the buildings in the Kasbah. The mosque was finally destroyed by an earthquake in 1755. The mausoleum of King Mohammed V, father of the Moroccan independence (reigned 1957 to 1961). It also contains the tomb of his son, King Hassan II (reigned 1961 to 1999), the father of the actual King Mohammed VI. Inside the mausoleum, the tomb of King Mohammed V. Note the Qur'an reciter. Adorned door inside Mohammed V's mausoleum. The Chellah in Rabat. This is the site of the ancient Roman city of Sala Colonia (40AD - 1154). The place stood long forgotten until the Merenid Kings decided to use the area as their necropolis in the 14th century. Many tombs and mosques are scattered on the grounds amidst Roman remains and the whole area is surrounded by a fortified wall. There is little left of the Roman city on the ground; this picture shows the remains of a row of shops with a mosaic on the left bottom corner. A minaret with a stork nest in the necropolis. Inside a ruined mausoleum. The monumental fortified entrance to the Chellah. The city of Salé, well worth a visit, is located across the river to the north of Rabat. Colourful shop front on Place Bab Khebaz. Farmer's wives selling the products of their farm on the streets of Salé. Details of the entrance of Salé's medersa. Back in Rabat, looking from the Kasbah at Salé with sea mist approaching the coast. A friendly shop in Rabat's municipal market. Casablanca - general view of the Hassan II mosque completed in 1993 in honour of King Hassan II, father of today's king. The building is enormous and is the world's third largest mosque, its minaret towering at 210 meters. It is lavishly decorated and can accommodate 25,000 people inside and 80,000 more on the esplanade outside. Close up of the minaret of Hassan II's mosque. Detail of the decoration of the mosque's facade. Casablanca, place Mohammed V in the French ville nouvelle: the Palais de Justice built in 1925. Front of the Poste Centrale on Place Mohammed V built in 1918. Casablanca's street names reflect its history. More and more French names are being replaced by Arabic names but many people still use the old names which can be very confusing. Facade of the Volubilis Hotel opened 1919 in the Rue Abdel Karim Diouri. Detail of a building on Rue Tahar Sebti. The Art Déco cinema Rialto inaugurated in 1930 has hosted many stars, among others Josephine Baker and Edith Piaf. Essaouira - bridge in front of the Porte de la Marine, commanding access to the harbour. The fishing harbour of Essaouira whose main catch is sardine. Sardines represent more than 62% of the Moroccan fish catch and account for 91% of raw material usage in the domestic canning industry. Around 600,000 tonnes of fresh sardines are processed each year making Morocco the largest canned sardine exporter in the world and the leading supplier of sardines to the European market. Arrival of a fishing boat with its catch of sardines. The men are unloading the sardines in crates which, stacked 5 crates @ 20 kilos upon each other, are swiftly carried away. Essaouira's harbour is very busy, stacks of empty plastic crates ready to be loaded on departing boats. It's not only sardines: fresh fish is being sold to private customers in the harbour. There is a big variety on offer: bream, flounder, muraena, sole, squid and oysters just to name a few. There are even blue sharks. We asked a few prices: the spider crabs are sold 30 to 50 Dh per piece, shrimps are 80 Dh the kilo and lobster 200 Dh per kilo. A dream — if you're a seafood lover! View of Essaouira's harbour. Essaouira: view of the Iles de Mogador which were know as the Iles Purpuraires (Purple isles) in the Antiquity. Mogador is the name of colonial Essaouira. Essaouira's main strip inside the walled city. The site of Essaouira has been inhabited since Antiquity when purple dye was extracted from molluscs and exported in the antique world. The Portuguese occupied the place in the 16th century with sugar cane as the main export, until Sultan Mohammed ben Abdullah decided in 1764 to build a new city and international port in order to fulfill trade agreements he had signed with European countries. A French architect drew the city plan from scratch which explains its European feel with its ramparts à la Vauban, its large main street and deep harbour. Essaouira: side street inside the walled city. Essaouira's walled city is nowadays very touristy with many souvenir shops, cafés, restaurants and art galleries.

Go back to The North and the Rif: Tangier and Chefchaouen or go on to The Imperial Cities: Meknes and Fez or go up to Photos

$updated from: Photos.htxt Mon 03 May 2021 16:08:28 trvl2 (By Vero and Thomas Lauer)$