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We are coming to the far southern end of Essaouira bay. On the hilltops is the village of Diabet. The wadi Ksob meanders at the foot of some ruins which may be imagined as the remains of a great palace.
In the autumn, grey herons and pink flamingoes wade stolidly in the muddy waters. Over the years and with the construction of golf courses the sanded up ruins, hardly visible until then, started to emerge amidst wild vegetation: a startling sight in this Wild West setting so close to the lushness of the vast golf course.
This palace consisted of four square pavilions linked by high curtains and of one pavilion in the middle. Built in the Andalusian style, it had beautiful carved and painted wood panelled ceilings as well as the famous Portuguese tiles that one can still admire in rich old dwellings. Sultan Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdallah, founder of the town, used to make frequent stays there. “Dar Soltan” subsequently became the residence of Moulay Abderrhaman, the governor of the town as early as 1822. The new Sultan wanted to be able to admire the town he had built from a distance. A house, situated south of the bay opposite the big island and initially built by a local merchant, was extended and renovated on his orders. He had it transformed into a vast and richly decorated summer palace. Later, this building became the residence of Prince Moulay Abderrhaman Ben Hicham.
The village of Diabet is much prior to the building of the town. In 1626, Cardinal Richelieu sent a delegation there in order to establish trade with its inhabitants. The people of Diabet were made responsible for the protection of the haha region from the pirates by the various Sultans.
Below, on the beach, rest the ruins of a Portuguese fort dating from the 15th century. Strollers go there at low tide and meditate in front of this huge stranded stone ship where fragments of battlements and a piece of wall remain. This fort was strategically built opposite the fort of the island and its task was to prevent any attempt of invasion by land or sea. Children use it for climbing, lovers for hiding, and martial arts amateurs for their sessions: it never leaves people indifferent. A fort, a drunken boat, a sanded up castle: there is no shortage of words to describe this strange mineral heap resting on the sand. There we definitely leave the town. Our road goes westwards, from bay to bay, towards fishermen and the Imahalou spring.