Many years ago, long before humans set foot in Essaouira, the area was inhabited by large reptiles. Dating back to the Jurassic period, fossilised bones of one of these giant creatures were found in the East of the town in 1998. Here is the story of Essaouira through time.
In the 7th century the Phoenicians came to the city and were then followed by the Carthaginians but was left in ruins. In 1628 Abd el-Malik, the Saadian sultan, began to rebuild the place, but not much was done.
In the year of 1764, Sidi Mohammed Abdallah chose to make Mogador a fortified city to reflect the area's growth and development. The new ramparts were then constructed by French architect, Théodore Cornut, and served to protect the new town from any potential attacks by enemies. Mogador then became known as Essaouira and began to find commercial success. Rich Moroccan families were invited to come and live here along with foreign consuls residing in Rabat and Agadir. This then allowed trading to expand making Essaouira a name to remember in regards to imports and exports.
Essaouira was the only port open to European trade in the 19th century making a stance with British merchants.
However it wasn’t all plain sailing for Essaouira as the town started to head into decline in the beginning of the 20th century as the Jewish community started to leave and Casablanca became more popular. Today, thanks to the famous fishing port, tourism and the hit TV show ‘Game of Thrones’ bringing fame to the area, Essaouira is on the up once again attracting poets, designers and craftsmen.