Essaouira or Mogador is a port and tourist city located on the Atlantic coast of Morocco north of Cape Sim, between Safi and Agadir. Its medina (old town) is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site since 2001. This city was the subject of a visit by King Mohammed VI on Wednesday 15, according to the complementary programme for the rehabilitation and development of the former Medina of Essaouira (2019-2023), which plans to invest 300 million dirhams.
This enclave of high patrimonial value, where already in the Ancient Age the Phoenicians explored, in the Middle Ages was the object of Portuguese occupation and, in 1844, received attacks from the French fleet, in retaliation for the support of the Sultan of Morocco to the Algerian rebels. It suffered serious damage to its defensive constructions. At present, and with the real determination to follow closely the rehabilitation works of the urban complex that will benefit the 13,000 inhabitants of the medina with 26 projects, following four lines of action in its works that consist of restoration of the urban space, restoration and enhancement of the historical heritage, promotion of access to social services and the strengthening of the tourist and economic attractiveness of the old town of Essaouira, there is no doubt that it will serve as an impulse for the restoration of the National Heritage.
This project, which follows the agreement drawn up on the instructions of the Royal House of the above-mentioned programme (2019-2023), records a progress rate of 16% and a study rate of 75%. Four projects are being carried out under this programme (restoration of the medina wall and Borj Bab Marrakech, treatment of buildings threatened with ruin and rehabilitation of the port’s Scala) and seven are in the launch phase (rehabilitation of the Dar Al Araar cooperative and the Portuguese church, construction of the Derb Laaloj health centre, an addiction centre and a pre-school education centre, total or partial demolition of 123 buildings and restoration of two ‘zauiyas’).
Fifteen projects are also under study: the renovation of the Chrib Atay, Rahba, El Fananin, El Mellah I and II squares and the port and Bab Doukkala car parks, the restoration of the Slat El Kahel Synagogue, the rehabilitation of Kissariat Siyaghin and the renovation of four fountains, the construction of a youth hostel, the development of 3 tourist circuits, the creation of tourist information points and interactive panels, the creation of a tourist information and reception centre and the reinforcement of the public lighting network.
This newly created programme is the result of a partnership between the Hassan II Fund for Economic and Social Development, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of National Planning, Town Planning, Housing and City Policy, the Ministry of Tourism, Crafts, Air Transport and Social Economy, the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, the Ministry of Habitats and Islamic Affairs, the Council of the Marrakech-Safi Region, the Essaouira Communal Council and the Al-Omrane Group.
This complex programme for the rehabilitation of the Essaouira medina is part of the framework which, under the royal leadership, includes the programme to preserve and enhance the old quarters of other cities in the Kingdom, such as Rabat, Casablanca, Marrakesh, Fez, Meknes, Salé and Tetouan.
© Translated under permission of Atalayar. All rights reserved