Essaouira meaning “beautiful picture” is also known as the “windy city” and is popular with windsurfers who flock here to take advantage of the powerful gusts off the Atlantic. It’s a city known for art, inspiration, music, and history. It was a hippie town in the late 60’s and early 70’s, visited by Jimi Hendrix, Cat Stevens, Frank Zappa. It’s Jimi’s visit that seems to have had the most impact. The city is scattered with references to him. In late 1940’s Orson Welles directed “Othello” in this area and there are photos of him in our hotel where he lived during filming.
The city’s architecture and feel is quite different from others in Morocco, the fortified city walls and lookout tower are armed with several bronze canons targeting invaders from another era. From the tower you have stunning views of the islands, the city and the sunsets. It was here that a mystical scene from the 1940’s version of “Othello” by Orson Welles, as well as scenes from the “Games of Thrones” series were filmed..
Cats roam the streets and rule the market keeping it free of vermin, they make themselves right at home and curl up anywhere including in the shop displays. It felt like they probably outnumbered humans 2 to 1!
The small port adds a huge splash of color, vibrant blue fishing boats come and go with their daily catches and the wharf bustles with activity as fishermen repair their nets, clean and display their fish, shoppers come to select the best piece of fish for dinner or have it grilled on site for a very fresh lunch on the dock, watch out for the seagulls!
In the boatyard ships are being constructed, repaired or painted and scaffolding serves as a napping place for cats undaunted by the heights.
It’s such a vibrant place. Tucked on side streets were incredible pieces of street art, while windows were decorated with rich blue and patterned tiles. This little seaside resort city has a lot to offer, especially at the end of a long and busy trip, a nice laid back vibe, perfect before heading home.