Saturday, August 4, 2012

Morocco part 12 - Visit Essaouira (Mogador), Morocco

Visit Essaouira (Mogador), Morocco
According to tradition, after the founding of Carthage in 814 BC. BC Punic merchants made their way to the far West, to Essaouira, to install ladders, counters. The first men on whom there is information there spoke a Berber language. Therefore Essaouira, this anchorage used by the Carthaginian navigator Hannon from the sixth century BC. AD, protected from winds and high in water, served for centuries as an outpost on the road to Cape Verde and Ecuador. To the third century BC. BC, Berbers formed themselves into a monarchy.
The region came under Roman influence in the wake of the Third Punic War in 146 BC. JC. Rome was a client state of that kingdom whose ruler was the most illustrious Juba II. The king favored the installation crew and the development of the meat-packing industry and the purple. This is the second activity (production of dye from a shell: the murex) which explains the fame of Purpuraires Islands (off Essaouira) until the end of the Roman Empire. This color, among the ancients, was synonymous with high social status. In 42 AD. AD, Rome finally annexing the Berber kingdom to transform it into a Roman province of Mauretania Tingitana.
In the Middle Ages, Portuguese sailors measure all the benefits of this bay and named the city Mogador, deformation probably named Sidi Mogdoul, a local marabout. Jews have a special status as an intermediary between the Sultan and the foreign powers, obliged to install a house in Essaouira consular (there were up to ten in the Kasbah). They are called the "king's merchants" or "consular officials". They have, for example, a monopoly on wheat sales to Christians, it is forbidden to Muslims.
In 1764, Sultan Mohammed ben Abdallah decided to set up its naval base in Essaouira, where the pirates will punish the inhabitants of Agadir in revolt against his authority. He appealed to Theodore Cornut, a French architect in the pay of British Gibraltar. The Sultan received with all honors due to a great artist and asked to realize the new city "in the middle of the sand and wind, where there was nothing." Cornut of Avignon, who had been employed by Louis XV to the fortifications of Roussillon, worked three years to build the port and the Kasbah, the original plan is in the Bibliotheque Nationale de France in Paris. It seems that the second ramparts and medina were drawn well after the departure of Cornut. The Sultan had wanted to extend their cooperation, accusing the French of being too expensive and have worked for the British enemy. Very consistent with his plan, the city deserves its current name of Es Saouira, which means "the Well-Designed".
The importance of Essaouira has continued to grow until the early nineteenth century, the city experienced a tremendous prosperity thanks to the large Jewish community. There were as many as 17,000 Jews for only 10,000 Muslims. The Moroccan bourgeoisie flocked to buy jewelry. It has long been nicknamed the port of Timbuktu, since caravans loaded with gold, spices and slaves from sub-Saharan Africa were negotiated. Trade was flourishing. But most Jews left after the Six Day War. Today, there remain only a few Jewish families in the city.
For years this was the only Moroccan port open to foreign trade. The decline began with the French protectorate and the development of other ports (Casablanca, Tangiers and Agadir). Handicapped by its shallow waters and can not accommodate large modern ships, the city does have a spectacular renaissance over the past fifteen years, mainly due to tourism revival but also its cultural vocation.
Essaouira is now the chief town of a province of 500,000 inhabitants  VALPARD FILMS
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