Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Wandering in Mogador: Essaouira's Medina and Souk

Surprisingly, the medina of Essaouira, called ‘Mogador’ in the past is a bit touristy and affluent as well than I have expected. It is by the way a UNESCO world heritage site.


Mogador Medina and Souk

The souks here are more Europeanized, or modern, in the sense that they are not as embryonic as the souks in Marrakech. I also noticed that the local artisans are quite progressive than their counterparts in the big city. This can be clearly seen in their ateliers and how they present their merchandise to the customer, which reminds me of the charming shops in Southern European countries, i.e., Italy, Spain, Greece and Portugal.

There are fewer labyrinth trails here as well. The streets are usually filled with vibrantly coloured shops displaying exotic wares and handicrafts that are already overflowing in the alleyways. Can I say that the medina of Essaouira is a one big open-air department store?

Cabinet-making and wood carving are popular trade crafts in Essaouira but like everywhere else in Morocco we found the usual suspects. Carpets and pottery are the most pervasive.

In addition, the shop vendors here are interestingly less aggressive compared to their comrades in Marrakech. That was a breath of fresh air for us.

Blondine and I enjoyed our wandering in the medina. We both loved the place. We didn’t really shopped, we just walked around appreciating the place, this blue and white Greek style medina in Morocco until we realised it was time to have lunch.


Moroccan pastries. The Moroccan tooth is a sweet one, perhaps TOO sweet.


Who wants a babouche pair (Moroccan slippers)? And maybe a carpet =)


This shop reminds me of the ateliers in the small villages in Italy.

 

Further out of the main streets in the medina you come across to this more unassumming little open public squares.


Blondine and moi love getting lost in the tiny alleys =)


I must say that the souks in Essaouira are very nice.


You cannot see it clearly but in the picture is a couple and the woman raised her handkerchief to cover her face. Lots of conservative people, especially women and older men do not like their pictures taken. Well, I am taking a picture here of the street, not them.


Bargain, bargain, bargain...


Travel Period: April 2009
Destination: Essaouira (South Atlantic Coast), Morocco

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