The charm of the coastal city of Essaouira is indisputable. Its fishing port, the wall of the Skala, the medina… form a perfect environment to discover the wealth of architectural styles that Essaouira and Morocco in general offer.
Among the walled cities or better known as “bastides”, Essaouira occupied a key place in history. However, even though today it is easy to recognize that wall which is more recent than that of Skala, the process of creating the medina in its time included the creation of a medina which protected it from attacks.
The accesses to this medina through the wall, even if it is not fully preserved, are still preserved. For this reason, to learn about the history of this Moroccan coastal town, it is important to pay attention to the architecture that forms the structure of the city. To listen to each stone and each column is to know the history of a town.
In this sense, the gates that give access to the medina of Essaouira, besides being the original ones, enter the visitor to a unique atmosphere that you can only find if you go through the arches that work as time machines.
No, we’re not exaggerating. The Marina Gate, Bab el Mechouar, Bab Sbaa, Bab Marrakech or Bab Doukhala open the way to the medina of Essaouira, a modest but charming space where, fortunately, its labyrinthine streets will lead you to another entrance.
Bab El Marsa – The Porte de la Marine
The one that gives access to the port from the medina is known as the Puerta de la Marina. Its passage makes it one of the most popular in the city as well as offering visitors the possibility of obtaining the great view of the Purple Islands making it unique and making the picture an unforgettable spectacle.
Another entrance to the historic centre or medina of Essaouira is Bab Sbâa, (the one on the cover). Built in the 19th century, it housed a permanent souk where caravans from Marrakech and Souss sold their wares. Today, this door leads to the city’s tourist office and is also known as the meeting place for taking a taxi.
It is a rounded door that connects the medina with the rest of the city. Its characteristic semicircular arch is framed with cut stones and, although it stands out for the simplicity of its architectural and decorative design, it is very well located. Its sober architecture is typical of the century in which it was built, the eighteenth century under the order of Sultan Mohammed ben Abdallah. As its very name indicates, this gate directed the roads to Marrakech and Agadir.
It’s a fortified gateway that gives access to the medina of Essaouira, also built in the eighteenth century. It’s one of the most impressive and symbolic located northwest of the city and was built under the Alaouite dynasty like Bab Marrakech. Its name indicates the way to go to the territory of Doukkala.
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