The fully preserved medina of Essaouira has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2001. A distinctive architecture – the blue and white facades are typical of Essaouira – and the Scala de la Kasbah (Portuguese Fortress) still show the Portuguese influence today. Essaouira is often referred to as the city of artists because writers, artists and singers have always found a home and inspiration here. Jewelery is made from wood in handicraft stalls, small artists’ workshops and restored riads can be found everywhere. The town square hosts the Gnaoua Music Festival every June, attracting thousands of visitors. In the hinterland of Essaouira grow the typical Moroccan argan trees, from whose nuts the famous aragan oil is extracted.
Southern Morocco and the Sahara
In the south of Morocco, the landscape is particularly impressive and customs and folk art are even more original. The south is famous for its kasbahs, the impressive mud castles of the Berbers. Worth seeing are the Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou and the Kasbahs Telouet and Taourirt in Ouarzazate or the Kasbah Tifoultoute in the Draa river valley. Erfoud is a good starting point for trips to the Tafilalet oasis. It owes its lush greenery to the underground rivers Ziz and Rheris. The route from Errachidia to Erfoud passes the Blue Springs. Near Midelt is a natural amphitheater, the Cirque de Jaffar. From the Dades Valley via the Todra Gorge one reaches Imilchil with its famous marriage market. The annual multi-day festivals (moussems) are a very special experience in the south.
- Andyeducation: Introduction to education system in Morocco, including compulsory schooling and higher education.
The romantic port city of El Jadida is known for its Portuguese old town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Worth seeing are the well-preserved fortifications, the Cîterne Portugaise and the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. In early August, it is worth visiting the nearby town of Moulay Abdellah. One of the most famous moussems (pilgrim festivals) of Morocco takes place there. For a week, thousands of people come to see the horse games “Fantasia”. Because of its long beaches, El Jadida is also a popular seaside resort.
Originating from a fishing village, the port city of Agadir is now a popular holiday resort with beautiful beaches, sports facilities and excellent hotels. Attractions worth seeing in Agadir are the ruins of the former Kasbah fortress and the beautiful city park Jardin de Olhao. The new medina is also worth a visit. Today’s city center of Agadir was created after its original model, which was destroyed by an earthquake in 1960. In the area there are excursions to Taroudant, Tiznit, Tafraoute, Imouzzer, Essaouira and of course to Marrakech.
Ceuta and Melilla
Although Ceuta and Melilla are on the Moroccan mainland, the two enclaves are still part of Spain today. Ceuta impresses above all with its military buildings. Worth seeing are the Fuerte de Aranguren and the Fuerte de Ányera. The Foso de San Felipe moat is one of the most impressive military installations in Europe. The Cathedral of Santa María de la Asunción (15th century) and the Mosque Muley el Mehdi (12th/13th century) are also among Ceuta’s sights. The Arab baths are also worth noting. Only rediscovered in the 1960s, they are now popular tourist attractions. In Melilla, a visit to the Plaza de España is worthwhile. The Medina Sidonia, the lighthouse or the many museums in the city are also worth seeing. The refugee camps of Ceuta and Melilla are overflowing with refugees from all over Africa.
Chefchaouen is located in northern Morocco in the foothills of the Rif Mountains. Chefchaouen is known for its blue and whitewashed houses and cobblestone medina. The city is surrounded by a wall with eleven towers. There is a small folklore museum in the Kasbah built by Pasha Ahmed Errifi in the 17th century. The famous Djellaba, the traditional Moroccan garment, was designed in Chefchaouen. Chefchaouen is also the starting point for day trips and hikes in the surrounding parks. The Talassemtane National Park, the Talembote Park or the huge Bouhachem Nature Park are popular destinations. Also worth seeing are the nearby town of Achkour and its Pont de Dieu, the source of Ras el Maa, the Toughoubit grotto or the waterfalls of Chrafate.
The relatively young city of Casablanca is located directly on the Atlantic coast. With over three million inhabitants, it is not only the largest city, but also the economic center of Morocco. Casablanca is Africa’s largest port. Skyscrapers such as the Casablanca Twin Center, office complexes and industrial areas are typical of Casablanca, as are traditional souks and the old and new medina. Whole quarters in and around the medina were built in the Art Deco style of the 1930s under French protectorate – Morocco only became independent in 1956. The construction gives these quarters a special flair. The entertainment district of Ain Diab with its famous beach promenade La Corniche is worth seeing. A wide variety of restaurants, cafés, discos and swimming pools await visitors from all over the world.
Fès, the spiritual center of Morocco, is the best known of the four imperial cities and was founded in the 8th century. It consists of the old town Fès el Bali and the new town Fès el Jedid. The medina of Fès is the largest and oldest in the world and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Fès is rich in historical monuments. Tourist attractions include Place Nejjarine, Er-Rsif Mosque, Andalusian Mosque and Royal Palace. The venerable Karaouine Mosque is now one of the university’s seats. The architecture of the wonderful medieval Koran schools is also impressive. The famous Fes market is one of the largest in the world. The traditional dye works and tanneries are typical of Fez.