Although in the 15th century there were already some fortifications in the area, the current Essaouira was founded by the Portuguese in the 18th century.
The layout of the city was designed by the French architect Theodore Cornut under the orders of the Sultan Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdallah.
The first time you walk along the streets of Essaouira you get the impression you will easily get lost -- as in the rest of the Moroccan cities --, but this is not the case here. The city has a basic design, two main avenues that converge in the center of the town, and some adjacent streets. If you can't find your way around, ask for the name of one of the town's gates.
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