Exploring Essaouira

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The main streets of the medina have sadly been taken over by fairly average souvenir stalls, but if you get onto the smaller side streets, or deeper into the medina away from the port, there are still some more authentic craft stalls and galleries for the renowned Essaouiran “art naïf”. The port is a fascinating place to wonder around: the fishing fleet is much reduced from its former pomp, but there will still always be men repairing their nets and repainting boat hulls against the backdrop of the fortifications. The Place Moulay Hassan at the entrance to the port is a good place to eat and drink: one side is lined with the stalls cooking fish straight off the boats for you, the other with cafés and ice cream vendors. There’s a great stretch of ramparts to walk along, with cannons peaking through and a solid bastion to explore; beneath this stretch of ramparts are the workshops and stalls working with the well-known local thuya wood.

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