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Less than two hours from Essaouira, the town of Safi offers numerous touristic possibilities: its medina, in particular, gives one a feeling of calm. Its cheerful little alleys with their painted walls and its many arched passages, provide an appeasing and reassuring atmosphere.
The old part of town is not large: a main street starts from The Sea Castle and ends East on the potters’ hill. Going up, on the left, a tiny passage leads to the Portuguese cathedral which adjoins the mosk without a minaret, the fourth sister of the Almohad Mosks erected in the 12th Century: the Marrakech Koutoubia, the Rabat Hassan Tower, and the Seville Giralda. The Safi Mosk is rarely mentioned in History books. The cathedral’s beautiful remains can be visited with the help of a very knowledgeable guard.
At the same time as the peak of the Lusitanian extension on Moroccan coasts, the Safi cathedral was erected in 1519. She was built by a project manager named Joao Louis. In 1541, King Emmanuel following his decision to leave the area ordered the destruction of the cathedral so it would not fall into Muslim hands. Fortunately, the choir as well as one chapel were spared. Later, what remained of the cathedral was converted into a public Hammam, the Al Bwiba hammam, which was still in use at the beginning of the century when the Beaux Arts Department of the time intervened to have this building listed.
In the medina numerous little squares are overrun by multiform and multicoloured local potteries; there are few foreign visitors here and no aggressive selling in the alleys. Here and there budding or established painters have left their talent go wild on the walls and boats, camels, scenes of local life are colourfully displayed all along the alleys.
From Essaouira to Safi, numerous marabouts stand on the sea front: small white buildings shining in the light. From Safi to Oualidia and even further more and more marabout appear and one day can provide many opportunities to stop as these small buildings are more than photogenic. One, in particular, has to be pointed at about 1km after the lighthouse in the village of Beddouza: it stands on a rock on the huge beach. For the bravest, the day can end in Oualidia between ocean and lagoon by savouring sea food in front of a breathtaking sunset.