Essaouira the mogador


Essaouira, formerly known as Mogador, is a city in the western Moroccan economic region of Marrakesh-Safi, on the Atlantic coast. The modern name means "the little rampart", a reference to the fortress walls that still enclose part of the city.

You don't need to be a location scout to spot the appeal of Essaouira, on Morocco's Atlantic coast, for photographers and filmmakers. The working harbour is packed with brightly painted boats. Seagulls swoop, as sardine-fishermen wheel box-loads of silvery fish towards the open-air grill-restaurants that crowd the harbour. And the souks of Essaouira's Medina ("old town") and its Jewish Mellah area are typically Moroccan hybrids of exotica, colour and chaos, selling leather slippers, jewellery, spices and bundles of ostrich feathers.
In June 1948, Essaouira was known as Mogador. It was then that the American actor-director Orson Welles arrived to shoot Othello. For the exterior filming, he wanted to return Shakespeare's Moor to his homeland.
An 18th-century fortress-town seemed ideal: magnificent ramparts and battlements, windswept headlands and views of storm-tossed rocks in one direction and empty white beaches in the other.