Excursion to Agadir from Essaouira:
Agadir in history: Santa Cruz de Cap de Gué
We have sometimes identified Agadir with the old port of Russadir cited by Polybius. However, it was not until 1505 that the place entered history with the construction, by a Portuguese gentleman, of a fort named Santa Cruz de Cap de Gué a little north of the current town. Sold in 1513 to the King of Portugal, the fort became the center of a region subject to Portuguese authority while a port was established, frequented by European merchants. After several attempts, the Saadian sultan Mohammed ech Cheikh seized it in 1541.
The visit of the city of Agadir begins with a visit to the Kasbah of Agadir which was built in 1540 by King Mohammed Ech-Sheikh of the Saadian dynasty, in order to protect the city from Portuguese invasions. This fortress contained the oldest district of Agadir, made up of small alleys and cheerful residents. This Kasbah (Agadir Ouffala) totally destroyed after the earthquake of February 29, 1960. Currently the Kasbah is perched at the top of a hill testifying to the rest of the old district of Agadir, this area is restored by a long guard wall of memory first for the only entrance door is of origin where figure an inscription dating from 1746 “Fear God and honor your king”. Then by the testimony of the courage and the will of King Mohamed V and his people to build a new city: the current Agadir is rebuilt 2 km further south. The view from the Kasbah remains exceptional over the bay of Agadir and its ports: two fishing ports, a large commercial port and the recent marina with its marina. By the port visit we will attend the auction of large sardine fishing. Then to learn more about the history of Agadir we head to the Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions with its exhibitions of ancient Berber jewelry, pottery, rugs, woodwork and other objects. Without forgetting the Swiss quarter, the main commercial area, the carpet factory and the craftsmen district and attend demonstrations of lace making, embroidery, leatherwork and woodworking.
The port of Sousse
Under the Saadians, Agadir enjoyed real prosperity. Sheets are unloaded there, while the port exports cane sugar, dates, wax, raw hides, gold, etc. The gradual extinction of the cultivation of sugar cane, from the middle of the 17th century, marks the beginning of its decline. A century later, in 1760, Sidi Mohammed ben Abdallah dealt him a new blow, to punish the city for its intractability, by closing the port to European traffic and by founding the competing port of Essaouira. The traveler Cochelet, who visited the city in 1819, counts only a dozen houses still standing there.
It was built in 1540 by Mohammed ech Cheick to serve as an attack base against the Portuguese fortress. Fearing an offensive return from the Portuguese, Moulay Abdallah rebuilt it in 1752 and installed a garrison of 2000 renegades and Turks. An inscription in Arabic and Dutch recalls that the Netherlands installed a counter there in 1746. (Source: les guides Bleues – Maroc ed. 1975). On February 29, 1960 at 11:40:15 p.m., an earthquake lasting 15 seconds and a magnitude of 5.7 on the Richter scale struck Agadir. (The earthquake in Haiti on January 12 had a magnitude of 7.) The neighborhoods of Founti, Talbordj, Yachech and the Kasbah are 90-95% destroyed, the new town 50%. The spared naval air base helps the survivors immediately after the earthquake. 12,000 to 15,000 people died in the earthquake.
End of the Excursion to Agadir back to Essaouira