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SOME HISTORY OF ESSAOUIRA

"Essaouira is by many considered the world's most beautiful place..... . More than anything, it is Morocco's ´coolest´ town."

Essaouira, - originally called "Souira - The small fortress", which later became "Es-Saouira - The beautifully designed", is situated right on the Moroccan Atlantic cost. The town, with its winding narrow streets was founded by the Portuguese in the 18th century after that its location been used for different fortresses since prehistoric times.

The bay at Essaouira is partially sheltered by the island of Mogador, making it a protected harbor not only used for the export of the dye that was used to color the purple stripe in Imperial Roman Senatorial togas but as well sugar molasses and a well known anchoring place for the pirates of the time.

The actual city of Essaouira was only built during the 18th century. Mohammed III wanted to reorient his kingdom towards the Atlantic to increase trade and exchange with the European powers. For the project he hired a French engineer, Théodore Cornut, who together with several other European architects and technicians built the fortress and the city along modern lines. Still today you can see the strong French influence in the architecture and design of Essaouira.

Even though Mohammed Ben Abdallah encouraged the establishment of Jewish and other foreign traders the city never flourished as he wanted. The city was too far from the traditional caravan trade routes to get the real importance Mohammed Ben Abdallah so eagerly wanted it to have.

   

THE ESSAOUIRA OF TODAY:

The Essaouira of today is the perfect spot to unwind, have a great "dine al fresco" of seafood and just absorb the mellow scene. The town is very popular with independent travellers, and only rarely do you see package tourist. Essaouira has an excellent climate, warm during the winter season and cool in the otherwise hot Moroccan summer.

Essaouira, only 2,5 hours drive from Marrakech, stands on a vast bay sweeping south with 10 km of superb sandy beach and wooded hills dominating the skyline to the east. It is the perfect base for a windsurfing holiday. The best spots for good surf are; Essaouira Bay, Sidi Kaouki, Cape Sim, Mouley Bouzertoune.

Although it's laid back attitude Essaouira with its beaches and surrounding is strongly on the move to become one of the more important tourist areas in Morocco.

Behind its purple ramparts and inside its whitewashed medina with its blue doors (today listed on the "World Heritage List" as an example of the late 18th century fortified town) lies a city that has been influenced by many various cultures; Berber, Carthaginian, Portuguese, English, Bambara etc.

In 1949 the famous film director Orson Wells, who's name and work gave inspiration to our small hotel, moved to Essaouira with his team to make the film Othello. The film was mostly filmed in the Skala fortress a short distance from where we are.

Casa Orson Wells has just now been completely reformed and updated to a fully modern Hotel. Just a stones throw from the beaches and city centre Casa Orson Wells is a very attractive choice for the traveler looking for the intimacy of the small hotel that still offers full service and privacy.

 

  
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