"The city of Mogador" - it sounds like a fairytale place from Tolkien's Lord of the rings, doesn't it?
Although it really looks like a city straight from a fantasy book, Essaouira is an easily reachable destination. It is one of top 5 Moroccan destinations and a go-to place for wind and kite surfers. Mogador is an old name given by the Portuguese who occupied the city in the 16th century. Some remains of their influence are still visible today.
Even if one could not feel the winds that are blowing literary all the time (hence the name "City of wind"), it would be easy to figure it out from countless seagulls effortlessly gliding over the city. Every time I passed by the fishing port area, I was just waiting to get crapped on.
Surprisingly even after countless photo sessions in the danger zone, I escaped unharmed.
Essaouira is easily one of the top five most photogenic cities in Morocco. Despite being quite small, it has loads of interesting streets and corners.
Skala de la Kasbah - a section of city's 18th-century walls, surrounding UNESCO World Heritage medina, is just one such example. Musée Sidi Mohammed ben Abdallah, the beach, city souks and port are also places worth visiting.
Among everything else, Essaouira is also a city of music. Once a year Essaouira gnaoua music festival is held here. It usually takes place in June and attracts people from all over the world. There are also many gnaoua (also spelled gnawa) bands performing in Essaouira every day. Locals say gnaoua music is a genuine African mix of music influences and a link to the past.
Although we didn't catch the festival, we were lucky enough to participate in a relaxed music session with a local band. A local guy invited us to participate in an evening session of their gnaoua band. It was quite interesting to see them in action, playing traditional Moroccan instruments.
Locals were quite amused when I asked a member of the band if there are many music schools in Morocco. He just couldn't understand the concept of learning music in school. He said music is something you learn as you go - pick up an instrument and try to play. You simply feel it or you don't.
The atmosphere was really relaxed, with a strong scent of green in the air. Something tells me that smoking hashish is an important part of Moroccan music. That evening it felt almost like the fifth member of the band.