Essaouira a charming fishermen's port standing on a peninsula was a port of call in the Antiquity and was renowned throughout the Roman Empire for the manufacture of purple dye. In the 16th century it became a Portuguese trading centre and was known as Mogador. Essaouira has always been a very cosmopolitan town attracting poets, musicians, painters, craftsmen … from Morocco and from all over the world. In the 19th century, Mogador was the only port (outside of Tangier) that was open to European trade. This protected trade status attracted British merchants, who settled in the Kasbah and a large Jewish community. The town went into decline during the beginning of the 20th century as the French protectorate favored Casablanca and the Jewish community left. However, thanks to tourism and its fishing port, it is again on an upward swing.
© Ramdas Iyer Photography