The Northern Atlantic Region of Morocco
By Seif Kamel
There are many nice beaches spread all over the Atlantic Ocean in Morocco that are full of soft sand, lagoons, some birds in the winter, and many forests as well. This is the reason why many tourists have started including this section to their trips to Morocco.
The Atlantic shore of the Moroccan Kingdom has always been the target of different dynasties through time. This is because of the strategic location of this region being in the entrance of the Mediterranean Sea and in an important military and trading point.
From the days of the Phoenicians and the Romans, passing through the Corsairs, Portuguese, and Spanish have always had interest in this piece of land. Nowadays, this area has become a major destination for agriculture, port activity and commerce, trading, and tourism with many travelers spending their tours in Morocco.
Although the Northern Atlantic region from Rabat to Tanghir attracts fewer tourists than other imperial cities in Morocco, this region actually has a lot to offer to the tourists who spend their vacations in Morocco.
Unfortunately, this region has not witnessed development like other southern area like Casablanca. However, this represents an advantage in itself as the Atlantic Coast still preserves its old traditions and customs. This fact attracts many travelers to spend their travel tours in Morocco.
Stretching for more than 250 kilometers, the Coastal roads of the Atlantic region actually follow roughly an ancient Roman rout that used to link Sala Colonia, known today as Chella, and Banasa, Lixus, and Tanghir. This is the center of one of the earliest regions where towns and cities were established in Morocco.
Each of these dynasties has left their marks in different sections of this region and this is why this section of Morocco hosts many remarkable historical monuments. These historical sites are nowadays full of travelers who explore them as part of their private tours to Morocco.
It is the Atlantic Ocean that gave this region its soft moist climate, strawberries, bananas, and tomatoes are cultivated in greenhouses. This derived industries and many port activities from Kenitra to Tangier where a new port was established to hand the trades coming from and to Europe.
Traveling across the coast of the Atlantic Ocean in Morocco from Sale to Tanghir reveals a paradise of beaches, forests, lagoons, and many enjoyable activities like fishing, swimming, hunting, surfing, or even chilling out at the beaches.
There are a number of historical sites situated in this coastal area of Morocco. This includes Thamusida in Wadi Sebou, Banasa, located near the sea, and Lixus.
All over the way from Tanghir to Sale there are many walled towns that stand as evidences of the rich history of the region. There are Mehdiya, with a Kasbah dominating Wadi Al Sebou, Mawlai Bousalem, with attractive beaches with a historical tomb, and Asilah, a walled Andalusian style town.
Located 10 kilometer from the Rabat on the way to Meknes, the city of Sale was established in the 11th century. The city was fortified and inhabited by the Marinids by the end of the 13th century.
The Marinids have built a Madrasa; an Islamic teaching school, a mosque, and a marvelous aqueduct that can still be viewed until today and it is often added to many travel tours to Morocco.
In the middle ages, Sale was a busy city with a lot of trading and porting activities and then in 1609 many refugees from Andalusia resorted to the city after being exiled. Sale had strong business relations with its older sister, Rabat, which eventually transformed into conflicts.
When piracy was brought to an end in the 19th century, the city's greatness actually declined with the stoppage of porting activities. In the beginning of the 20th century, Sale was once again a prosperous center for industry.
Coming from Rabat, at the entrance of the city, there is the Bab Al Mirsa, or the Gate of the Sea, that dates back to the 13th century. This was the entrance to the maritime arsenal that was established by Yusuf Al Mansur, the most famous Almoravids ruler in the 12th century.
The main streets in Sale are the Kiassaira and Souks streets, full of craftsmen and many trading activities until today reflecting the history of the city.
The Grand Mosque and the Madrasa, which was built during the ruling period of the Marinid King Abu Al Hassan, is featured with its towering minaret that is surrounded with tiles, wood, and plaster. This gate is one of the highlights of Sale and it is visited by a number of tourists who spend their holidays in Morocco.
There is also the seamen Cemetery, located in the northeast section of the city, dotted with shrines of holy men like Sidi Ben Achir, in the 16th century it was said he had to power to make the waves of the sea calmer in order for boats to enter the harbor safely.
There is the tomb of Sidi Abdullah Ibn Hassoun, the patron of the boatmen and travelers of the city. The tomb has a great dome that is similar to that of the Grand Mosque.
Sidi Bou Kandil
Located 10 kilometers to the North of Sale, Sidi Bou Kandil is featured with its tropical gardens which were established in 1951 by the French and it is now owned by the state.
More than 1500 species from Africa and Asia grow in the garden that is visited by many tourists who travel to Morocco
This private museum was established with a master woodcarver with many additions from artists and collectors. Many trips to Morocco include a visit to this interesting museum.
This is a small coastal resort is most frequently visited by the inhabitants of Rabat and Kentira. At the entrance of Wadi Sebou, the city stands on the ruins of an ancient trading center built in the 5th century and then it was transformed into one of the Almohad dynasty ports with the name Al Mamoura, or the city full of people.
Afterwards, the Portuguese, the Spanish, and the Dutch have had control over the city because of its significant geographical location, before Mawlai Ismail was able to take control of the city and the port.
Standing on a high plateau, the Kasbah of the city still preserves its original walls which were constructed by the Spanish.
The monumental gate of Mawlai Ismail leads to the Palace of the governor which has outstanding rooms, halls, gardens, and bathing rooms.
Another attraction near the city would be the Bou Rahba Lagoon, a large bird sanctuary. There are thousands of birds like coot and teal rest while they on their way to Europe and the African deserts. Many birdwatcher who go on tours to Morocco visit this bird sanctuary
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