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Many buildings and monuments in the town of Essaouira need rebuilding work. For years now, we have been watching the deterioration of the Mellah, a historic area in the town. The town Urban Agency gave a communiqué informing us of a rehabilitation project for the Medina and in particular for the Jewish quarter.
The area of the Mellah is an integral entity within the fabric of the Medina but it has its own specificities relating mainly to the frailty of the buildings, to the high level of dilapidation of the structures as well as to the problem of the deterioration of the adjoining wall of the Mellah area and to the high number of lived in places falling into ruins: because its inhabitants are exposed to a real danger, this situation calls for an urgent intervention. To these problems, one can add the lack of basic infrastructures, like refuse collection, electricity, and particularly the malfunctioning of the sewage system due to its saturation, its great age, as well as the lack of maintenance and management of solid waste in the Mellah area.
The research for the upgrading of the Medina of Essaouira:
Following the meeting held at the headquarters of Essaouira Province at the occasion of the Reunion of Urban Agencies, on November, 13, 2009, the Minister expressed his commitment to the financing of a research into the specific upgrading of the Medina of Essaouira and within this framework, a budget of 1.5Mdh was allocated to Essaouira Urban Agency for the financing of this project.
The main purpose of this research is the upgrading of the Medina of Essaouira in its urban, social and economic dimension. It is, in fact, a global action which takes into account the various characteristics of the Medina, in particular its strategic placement in front of the sea and its part in enhancing the whole of the town of Essaouira.
Therefore, this research aims to trigger a process of regeneration and enhancement of a national heritage that is in jeopardy, while fitting in with the global perspective of a sustainable development.
It is about linking every access to the Medina of Essaouira to the rest of the town fabric, to develop its touristic potential in relation to its placement near the sea and to allow for a balance between cultural activities and the attractiveness of the whole of the Medina.
It also aims to bring to light the obstacles, the dysfunctions and the expectations of the citizens and of the local decision makers in order to find relevant situations within the framework of a global and coherent vision. Finally, it is about upgrading the urban framework, leading to its renewal by improvements and targeted actions capable of bringing about the development of the Medina.
The research should succeed in the elaboration of a development plan, with mass planning, organization of urban façades, the development of public spaces and parks, precise actions in restoration, in regulations and organisation of trades and commercial activities; this plan leading to the elaboration of a program relating to profitable activities on a socioeconomic level in order to enhance the image of the Medina.
This is the way a specific research for the Mellah area has been programmed seen the urgency in solving problems linked to the deterioration of the living spaces, which research aims to set up architectural and urban studies for the upgrading and for urban requalification in order to result in a sector based improvement plan of the Mellah.
Moreover, works in upgrading the artisanal axis named the Street of the Scala in the Medina of Essaouira are also considered in order to enhance the tourist attractiveness and to promote the architectural and cultural heritage of the town.
Through the aging process of the original material, the lack of maintenance, the dampness, the infiltration of water and the phenomena of capillarity, the Street of the Scala as well as the monument itself have undergone considerable damage. Various actions will be undertaken too to remedy to the haphazard installation of cables, to the hanging of articles that do not respect the historic character of the site and to material that is not in conformity with the original material of the Scala and which was used during various interventions on this site. The effects of this campaign will be the increase in the quality of the site architectonic elements, the improvement of the handicraft workers’ work conditions and work place as well as the enhancement of the various trades on the site.
This information was given to us by Essaouira Urban Agency
in the month of May 2010