The upper walls of this citadel, with their crenellated towers, surround a main square which may only accessed via a monumental gate well worth a visit. Climb onto the platform of this bastion to admire the superb view of the minaret, the medina, the potters’ district or the Château de la mer.
Since the eighteenth century, these fortifications have housed the Dar el-Makhzen or governor’s palace. The décor of this building, consisting of casts producing subtle effects due to the enamel painting, gives a splendid impression. This palace is now the National Ceramic Museum.
At Souira Kedima you will see the vestiges of a fort built in 1521 by the Portuguese who only occupied it for four years. It is a rectangular edifice measuring 40m x 25m. Two towers reinforce this building made from dressed stone sealed with lead.
Legend has it that these stones were brought from Portugal and that the citadel was built in just one night! It is just a legend as the size of the small remains imposing and it would be impossible to build it in such a short space of time!
At the heart of the Kechla, this museum invites you to discover the magnificent green-coloured traditional ceramics as well as blue-coloured pottery from Safi. In this museum, traditional and modern works are displayed like dishes with metallic tints mainly decorated with human figures by the Algerian master-ceramist Boudjema Lamali who, in 1930, created the first school of modern ceramics in Safi.
Safi potters ply their trade on the lower slopes of the hill as the soil offers excellent clay in this location. In the backstreets of this district, there are big furnaces and craftsmen’s workshops that have established the reputation of Safi pottery. The large shopping gallery will allow you to discover the talent of Safi potters: traditional ceramics are a deep, glimmering blue and the most recent designs play on darker tones with metallic tints.
To know everything there is to know about this art, you can visit the school of the craftsmen’s cooperative of Safi. There you will discover the different phases of ceramic production: turning, decoration and firing.
Excavations have revealed human remains here, including two skulls of adult humanoids believed to have lived between 90,000 and 190,000 years ago! These Jebel Irhoud men were recent archaic homo sapiens. Mousterian tools (mid-palaeolithic) have also been found on the site including scrapers, tips or knives made from flint.
The Ben Hamidouch Kasbah dominates the left bank of the Tensift oued. This kasbah was a major fortress built by sultan Moulay Ismaïl in the seventeenth century. The outer wall, flanked by bastions and crowned by barricades has tremendous allure despite the ravages of time. 150 m long on each of its four sides, it encloses a mosque and various ruined buildings. Another 70 m long enclosure is surrounded by a wide moat.
Safi, the capital of the Doukkala-Abda region, is one of the most beautiful Moroccan cities located on the Atlantic coastline. The city is known for its pottery workshops that provide a wide range of engraved plates, hand-painted bowls and Moroccan ceramics in all shapes, colours and patterns.
For almost a century at the end of the Middle Ages, Safi was under the control of the Portuguese.
While in Safi, you can visit the Dar el Bahar, a brick structure facing the seafront. A walk on the ramparts gives a great view of the sea and the port area. Also visit the Kechla, a massive Portuguese fortress which used to serve as a prison until 15 years ago; the Old City, and the Potters’ Quarter. There are also some beautiful beaches to see in the vicinity of the town.
Safi is the best destination for wave lovers. You can enjoy swimming and surfing from the city beach or from one of the beaches nearby. There are four different kinds of beaches in the town vicinity; Essaouira for swimmers, Lala Fatna for surfers, Walidia; a sheltered beach along a lagoon; and Cap Bedousa.