Visit of the city of Safi
Safi offers visitors the triple advantage of being a town full of history, a vibrant and active town because of its commercial port, and a town known as the capital of Moroccan pottery.

Along the coastal highway travelling from where in the direction of the city of Essaouira, we arrive at Safi, a beautiful town spread along the Atlantic. It is a town full of history and a witness to historic Portuguese architecture.
Safi is also a town vibrant and very active thanks to its large port, which specializes in the export of phosphates and sardines, and is known for its pottery and ceramics. However, your visit should not be limited to the city of Safi. The region is packed with sites worth visiting.

A little history
Like El Jadida, the twists and turns of Safi’s history are linked to its major port.

A Phoenician trading post later frequented by the Romans according to the geographer Ptolemy, the name Asfi appeared in Arabic texts as early as the 11 century. With the arrival of the Portuguese in 1480, the city became a major commercial trading post.

In 1508, they took over the city and began its fortification until it was retaken by the Saadian Dynasty in 1541.

The city became, from that moment on, an important port for trade and exchange with Europe.

Under the French protectorate, the city’s maritime character was further strengthened with the construction of a major deep-water port, which today is key to the export of phosphates and sardines.

The old city and the market street
In order to discover and appreciate the beauty of the old city, nothing is better than following the boulevard along the seaside until reaching Independence Square.

After walking for about 300 meters, you will arrive into the market street where you can follow the meandering twists and turns of the old streets and alleys.

The market street is the main artery of the old city and goes from one end to the other until Bab Chaaba.

The multiple small shops that line the long and narrow street represent the old city’s center of all commercial activity.

The charm and interest in this area is justified by the architectural harmony that prevails in the city’s buildings, which blends different cultures and faiths (Christianity, Islam, Judaism).

Once you arrive at the large mosque, a passage to the right takes you towards the Portuguese chapel, constructed in 1519.
The structure has kept its original Manueline style and is the heart of the Safi cathedral.

The Castle by the sea
This Portuguese fortress from the 15th century, which was at one time the Governor’s main office, was completely restored in 1963.

Its main door opens onto the mechouar, or the military square, where one can admire old Spanish and Dutch canons pointing towards the ocean. To enjoy the panoramic view of the ocean, the port and the old city, visit the southwest bastion of the castle by the sea.

Borj Eddar the kechla or military barracks
The visitor to the Borj is immediately struck by the imposing citadel and its walls built at the beginning of the 15th century by the Portuguese.
A monumental door leads you directly towards a large platform with old canons that form a superb semicircular path.
The location offers a panoramic view of Safi and specifically its port, its old city, the R’bat minaret and the potter’s village.

The potter’s village
Abundant in rare natural resources, soil rich in minerals and the ideal climate; Safi has developed over the years in the sectors of agriculture, trade and artisanal crafts. This last sector has made the city renowned on both the national and international level.

The potter’s village has gathered master artisanal potters, ceramists and weavers, who, thanks to their know how and skill, have made the city a chosen destination for local artisans. However, Safi is known specifically for its pottery and ceramics.

The availability of raw materials, such as clay and natural fuel used for fueling ovens, and the know how of traditional artisans make Safi the capital of pottery on the national level.

The city has become the first center of African pottery and hosts the first school of ceramics in Africa. International recognition of the talent of Safi’s master potters has come in many forms, most notably exhibitions in both Marseille and New York.

A visit to the potter’s village is highly recommended.
Close to 140 workshops, which employ more than 2,000 artisans, both permanent and seasonal, exhibit true masterpieces. One can also witness the different production phases of artisanal crafts: preparation of the clay, turning of the clay, drying, soaking, first pass through the oven, decoration, glazing, second pass through the oven...

The national museum of ceramics
The museum was created to improve the public’s knowledge of Moroccan ceramics, their diversity and authenticity.

One can find beautiful pieces of pottery and ceramics, both traditional and modern, exhibited in 7 rooms in the left wing of the museum.
The right wing is reserved for exhibitions of different national artisanal crafts.

The largest tajine in the world
Safi is also know for having the largest sardine tajine in the world, which was prepared on Saturday, July 10, 1999 at the Mohamed V Square by the Association of Economic Operators of the Capital of Abda.

Two hundred women participated in the preparation of the enormous dish. The event was in the Guinness’ Book of World Records. The tajine measures 6.30 meters in diameter and 4.5 meters high. The tajine plate itself was designed by the best artisan potters in the city.

House of the Sultan
The house was built around a citadel whose origin goes back to the Almohade era. Engraved on the monument is King Emannuel of Portugal’s coat of arms.

The Fishing Port
Nothing is more pleasant than then taking a stroll along the port and watching the constant coming and going of ships and fishing boats.

The fish filled waters along the coast in the region of Safi allow fishing boats and trawlers to catch close to 26 tons of fresh fish per day which one can buy for a very reasonable price.

The Large Mosque’s Minaret
An architectural masterpiece built from large rocks and decorated valance arches, this minaret is known for its architectural form and decoration in the style from the Almohade era.

The School
This monument was built in close proximity to Safi’s large mosque around the year 1218 of the Hijra and served as a residence for students who studied under the Oulemas, or Islamic scholars, of the mosque.

The City Ramparts
Originally from the Almohade era, the wall surrounding the city was reconstructed by the Portuguese between 1510 and 1540.
Equipped with a patrol path and a parapet, the wall is flanked by several towers and improve by various gates, the most important being Bab Achaâba and Bab Elkouass.

The Mausoleum of Ouled Ben Zmirou
The Mausoleum is a popular place of pilgrimage for Moroccan Jews and Jews from other countries. The religious pilgrimage occurs each year in mid August and includes a program rich in cultural activities.

The Portuguese Cathedral
The cathedral was constructed by the Portuguese in 1519 in King Emmanuel’s style. Before leaving the city in 1541, King Emmanuel ordered its destruction. Only the chapel, without arches or a heart, was preserved.

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