Essaouira is a well-preserved fortified town on the Atlantic coast of Morocco. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, it was an important international port, with goods being conveyed there from southern Africa to be shipped overseas.
Today Essaouira is a UNESCO-protected town with a thriving arts and crafts culture. Its souks (markets) are smaller and more accessible than those in Marrakech. While the Marrakech markets required a local guide with patience and a great sense of direction, we happily navigated the souks in Essaouira on our own.
The market is particularly known for its intricate cedar and thuya wood carvings. But tiny shops throughout the medina brimmed with brightly coloured textiles, fragrant spices, fresh fish and beautiful leather goods.