Bab al Mersa ("gate of the port")
(popular nickname "Bab rzeq"= gate of fortune)
This monumental door build in blocks of stone is an icon
All visitors entering the town from the port can see the inscription
in arabic, carved in sandstone. It´s just on the triangular
pediment surmounting the the door.
(popular nickname "Bab rzeq"/gate of fortune)
“PRAISE TO ALLAH,
“This door , ordered by the glorious one of the kings,
Sidi Mohammed , was built by its servetor Ahmed el Aalj”
Borj el Bermil 1900
He was a French mathematician and military
architect captured during a failed assault on Larache ,
with the help of hundreds of Christian prisoners. As a the
slave of the Sultan of Morocco he disgned the modern Essaouira
It is said that
........ the design of the two towers of Scala the Port
are inspired by the the Tower of Belém
The precence of foreign consulates in
Mogador was an indication of the importance of
its historic trade connections in the 19th
In 1766 , Sultan Sidi Mohammad
ben Abdallah (Mohammed III) engaged Théodore Cornut, a French
architect, to design the new city. He worked three years on
constructing theScala of the port
and the Scala of the Kasbah. The sultan then let
the english architect Ahmed el Aalj fulfill the project.
The harbour entrance, with the "Porte
de la Marine", was built by an English renegade by the
name of Ahmed el Inglizi ("Ahmed the English"),
or Ahmed El Alj ("Ahmed the Renegade").
The two "scalas" with their fortifications (the
Scala of the Port and the Kasbah
Scala) were built by Genoese engineers.
There are Bronze artillery guns brought
from Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands.
Inscriptions says that the bronze to fabric the guns came
from Mexico and Peru. Most of the guns were made in Sevilla
and Barcelona between 1743 1782.
Wiith the construction of the port and the medina, Sidi Mohammed
Ben Abdallah brought a lot of slaves to Essaouira.
Their songs tell about the painful march through the Sahara
desert and the sufferings of slavery “Ouled Banbara”.
The town's port was known as the
“ Port of Timbuktu ” because
most African products for export ended up there, including
slaves (children of Bambara, in the gnaoua
mythology). Sultan Ben Abdellah promoted free trade policies
by reducing customs and encouraging the settlement of rich
merchants and Jews to handle trade with Christians.
A quarter for foreign merchants
was also established. By 1780, the port was handling almost
half of Morocco 's international trade. Export
items included ostrich feathers, almonds,
gum arabic, ivory and dried camel skins
(which were imported from sub-saharan Africathrough the caravan trade), while the British
imported Manchester cotton and tea.
The port has
been enlarged several times since then. The most important
1915 and between 1924 and 1967.
Le Mystère de la porte de la Marine (Essaouira) -
avec : * Mme.Mina MGHARI - Professeur de l'Histoire à l'université Mohamed V,
* M.Omar LAKHDAR - Ecrivain et chercheur. * M.Abdelmajid MANA - Enseignant à Montpellier
gate of the old town are inscribed with the Islamic Crescent,
the Star of David and the Scallop of Santiago.
The crescent moon and star is
an internationally-recognized symbol of the faith of Islam.
The early Muslim community did not really
have a symbol. During the time of the Prophet Muhammad , Islamic
armies and caravans flew simple solid-colored flags (generally
black, green, or white) for identification purposes. In later
generations, the Muslim leaders continued to use a simple
black, white, or green flag with no markings, writing, or
symbolism on it. It wasn't until the Ottoman Empire
that the crescent moon and star became affiliated with the
Muslim world. When the Turks conquered Constantinople (Istanbul)
in 1453, they adopted the city's existing flag and symbol.
The Star of David -represent the Jewish
In the 17th century, the Shield of David
as the hexagram began to represent the Jewish community generally,
when the Jewish quarter of Vienna was formally distinguished
from the rest of the city by a boundary stone having the hexagram
on one side and the Christian cross on the other. By the 18th
century, the Shield appeared to represent the Jewish people
in both secular (politics) and religious (synagogue) contexts.
The Star of David can be found on the tombstones of religious
Jews in Europe since the 18th century. Following Jewish emancipation
after the French revolution, Jewish communities chose the
Star of David to represent themselves, comparable to the cross
used by most Christians.
Shell of Saint James
The scallop shell
is the traditional emblem of James, son of Zebedee
and is popular with pilgrims on the Way of St James
to the apostle's shrine at Santiago de Compostela
in Spain. Medieval Christians making the pilgrimage
to his shrine often wore a scallop shell symbol on their hat
or clothes. The pilgrim also carried a scallop shell with
him, and would present himself at churches, castles, abbeys
etc., where he could expect to be given as much sustenance
as he could pick up with one scoop. Probably he would be given
oats, barley, and perhaps beer or wine. Thus even the poorest
household could give charity without being overburdened. The
association of Saint James with the scallop can most likely
be traced to the legend that the apostle once rescued a knight
covered in scallops. An alternative version of the legend
holds that while St. James' remains were being transported
to Spain from Jerusalem, the horse of a knight fell into the
water, and emerged covered in the shells