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Abuilding has been catching the eye for years in the city, at the little Bab Doukkala gate, in the North of the Medina, to the right.
Frequently repainted, it regularly changes colour, from yellow to blue and from red to pink, and its large doors give a peek of the bar counter and hotel room doors on the ground and first floors. A strange place, an immense garage apartment, with no exterior announcement sign.
Here, all the inhabitants know it: the least expensive café-hotel in the city, caravanserai or fondouk of modern times. No one can exactly say for how long it has existed. Everyone has always known it. Just like the traditional fondouk, some rooms serve as stockrooms and others as hotel rooms for travelling merchants.
Oftentimes, the fondouk has one or several floors, identical to the ground floor, which is the case in this establishment. Its purpose has scarcely changed: it is designed for people from the countryside who come to sell or purchase merchandise in Essaouira, and has small rooms and dormitories, as well as a common area. The night costs around 10 DH.
As of today, trucks or buses bring people from the countryside and leave the mat Bab Doukkala. In other times, not so long ago, Kissaria square, located between the little Bab Doukkala gate the Massira street, outside the ramparts, served as a parking space for donkeys, camels, and all other animals of transport. Now, it is utilised for commercial purposes: for selling fabrics, mats and other domestic products. It is a charming little wind-protected square with a Southern aspect, painted pink and yellow.
The grain square, being occupied by cafés, is now the Kissaria Square, where we place raffia to dry on dyeing days at the beginning of the week.
The hotel takes its name from the owner, originally from Abdi country, a south-Atlantic region located to the north of Essaouira, in Safi’s surroundings and up to the south of Doukkala.
The Abda countryside is widely grain-producing, as is the countryside of other Atlantic plains, essentially with barley cultivation. However, Abda’s economy largely relies on the exploitation of the Atlantic Ocean, just like the Essaouira region: fishing, fish processing and port activities.
Though it forms part of the Abda country, the capitol of the region, Safi, is neglected. Abda’s two main towns are Jamaat Shaïm, a city of 14,000 inhabitants, and Sebt Gzoula, with 11,000 inhabitants
Hôtel Aabdi, a typical place to go discover. Those in charge are delightful and will answer your questions.