Saturday, July 7, 2012

Moroccan Travels, Part Four... Essaouira

After regional meetings and a visit from my parents (if you missed those, you can read about them here and here), Justin and I headed west to Essaouira for our last round of travel adventures for a little while. 

Essaouira is a beautiful city on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, about 3 hours west of Marrakech. The town consists of a heavily fortified 18th-century old "medina" (city) along with a more modern new medina. Remains of those 18th century towers, gateways, and bastions can be found throughout the old medina and look out upon stunning views of the Atlantic. Lots of great fish caught fresh and sold in Essaouira's port, along with really interesting art, fun shopping, and great restaurants. And a beach, of course!

We visited Essaouira during a famous annual music event that has taken place for 15 years now - the Gnaoua World Music festival. Gnaoua music is a mix of religious songs and rhythms pulled from sub-Saharan African, Berber, and Sufi influences and is both a blend of music as well as Islamic rituals and prayers. Gnaoua music today is mainly concentrated in Morocco and Algeria. The festival included plenty of Gnaoua music but also other popular music for Moroccans - we heard a band from Mali for instance, as well as a ska band from Casablanca. It was a crazy time to be in Essaouira as the town was packed full of people there for the festival, but that lended to a really fun and vibrant atmosphere and an interesting experience. I'd like to visit Essaouira when it's a little less busy to get a better feel for the town - hopefully we'll get the chance again!

Now Justin and I are back in Tiflet and making plans for the rest of the summer, which will include some travels, visits from friends, planning for the fall, and hopefully lots of cooking and new adventures! More to come soon :)

A view of the Atlantic coast from a tower
One of the Gnaoua Festival stages
Justin and I with the Atlantic peeping out behind us
An old tower and the city's port (with lots of fish, which explains all the birds!)
An Essaouira sunset
A fishing boat coming into the port
Camel riding on the beach!
Fresh, wonderful fish
Haven't had much fish in Morocco, so I was veeeery excited :)
Some of our Peace Corps friends, enjoying Essaouira with us

2 comments:

  1. Geat pictures about your travel in Marocco.
    John from Universite Essaouira

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    Replies
    1. Thanks very much John! Essaouira is a beautiful place, I hope that I'm able to go back again sometime.

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