Assilah. One man’s dream / Marzenie jednego człowieka

We called it a city of artists. Wonder why?

Assilah. A tiny harbor in the north of Morocco is empty for most of the time. There are less than 28.000 people living here. At the same time, we feel like we are the only tourists in the area. Some part of medina seem completely abandoned. During a season though, Assilah turns into a bustling holiday resort, where people from both Morocco and Spain come to spend their time. Besides the sea, the main attraction is a renovated network of ramparts, remnant of a short presence of the Portuguese, who conquered the city in 1471.

It is hard to believe that yet 40 years ago, the city was facing annihilation…

Nazwaliśmy je miastem artystów.

Assilah. Mały port na północy Maroka przeważnie świeci pustkami. Żyje tu niespełna 28.000 mieszkańców. My jednocześnie mamy wrażenie, że jesteśmy jedynymi turystami w okolicy. Niektóre ulice mediny wydają się zupełnie opuszczone. W sezonie Assilah zamienia się jednak w tętniący życiem resort, do którego zjeżdżają się zarówno Marokańczycy jak i Hiszpanie. Oprócz oceanu główną atrakcją są pięknie odrestaurowane mury obronne, pozostałość krótkiej obecności Portugalczyków, którzy podbili to miasto w 1471r.

Trudno uwieżyć, że jeszcze niecałe 40 lat temu miastu groziło wymarcie…

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While some attend do daily chores like shopping or taking care of kids… / Podczas gdy niektórzy oddają się codziennym obowiązkom jak zakupy i opieka nad dziećmi…
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Some prefer to spend some quality time resting. / Niektórzy wolą spędzić czas na porządnym wypoczynku.
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The city gets prettier in such a pace, I doubt any of those fractures are still there. / Miasto pięknieje w takim tempie, że wątpię, czy te pęknięcia wciąż tutaj są.
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I am not sure, but is it a… Christmas Tree? / Nie jestem do końca pewny, ale czy to… choinka?
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Professional hairdryer ;) / Profesjonalne suszenie włosów ;)

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Assilah, already as a part of the colony of Spanish Morocco, in the beginnings of the XXth century fell into ruins. Proximity to Tanger, an important port was not letting the city spread its wings.

Until 1978, when a faith and an idea of one man Mohammed Benaissa gave Assilah a chance for a second life. The annual International Festival of Culture that he established helped collect the funding for the restoration of the city. The event has been taking place since and its results can be observed throughout the entire year. One of the finest examples are the magnificent murals.

Assilah, już jako część hiszpańskiej koloni w Maroku, na początku XXw. popadło w ruinę. Bliskość ważnego portu w Tangerze nie pozwalało miastu rozwinąć skrzydeł.

Aż do 1978r. kiedy to wiara i pomysł jednego człowieka Mohammeda Benaissy dała Assilah drugie życie. Ustanowiony przez niego doroczny Międzynarodowy Festiwal Kultury pomógł w zebraniu funduszy na odbudowę miasta. Impreza odbywa się do dzisiaj, a jej efekty można oglądać przez cały rok, chociażby w formie wspaniałych murali.

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This ocean is not as big as I though. I can reach a horizon! / Ten ocean nie jest tak duży jak myślałem. Mogę sięgnąć horyzontu!

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A Moroccan princess in a city of artists. / Marokańska księżniczka w mieście artystów.

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The ramparts tell a story of a pirate base in Assilah. / Mury obronne opowiadają historię bazy piratów w Assilah.
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But are these only stories from the past? / Ale czy to aby jedynie historia?

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By the way, it is time to make up for the lack of food photos in the previous posts ;) Assilah turns out to be a feast not only for our eyes, but also for our stomachs. It is there that we have a pleasure of tasting our first tajin ever! Bon appétit!

Przy okazji czas nadrobić zaległości w kwestii jedzenia ;) Assilah okazuje się nie tylko ucztą dla oczu, ale i dla podniebienia. Właśnie tutaj mamy przyjemność spróbować swojego pierwszego w życiu Tażinu. Smacznego!

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***

Assilah is situated only 40km from Tanger, so it would be a sin not to visit it while you are in the area. Especially that the city gets prettier and prettier every year. During the time of our visit, a part of a medina was still a construction site. The festival continues!

***

Assilah znajduje się tylko 40km od Tangeru, więc będąc w okolicy grzechem byłoby tutaj nie zajrzeć. Zwłaszcza, że miasto pięknieje z roku na rok. Podczas naszej wizyty część mediny była wciąż placem budowy. Festiwal trwa!

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77 thoughts on “Assilah. One man’s dream / Marzenie jednego człowieka

    1. W Rzymie mówisz? Mamy właśnie plan się wybrać niedługo. Wstyd przyznać, ale ja jeszcze nigdy nie byłem. Essaouira kojarzy mi się z szumem oceanu i błogim wypoczynkiem, zupełnie inne miasto niż wschodnie Maroko, w sam raz na odpoczynek! Pozdrawiam!

      Like

  1. Maciek, this is a lovely post about an historic & charming place. Your pics are wonderful. Now, down to the serious stuff. I love the art! Of course I wish you had taken lots more shots, panoramas, close-up sections etc. However, you hadn’t met me yet. I feel so … greedy… to see as much as possible.
    You had an amazing journey, and I thank you for sharing. Much love to you & your wife. Next time I will remember her name!
    Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Resa, I knew you would like this one! Well, if I knew back then how the murals would be appreciated, I would have spent more time doing shots etc. I regret I did not do this. Then again – some murals stay there and some are changing. I wonder what it’s like in Assilah during the festival itself. Doubt I will even find out, but perhaps it gives someone a nice idea! Thank you, I will pass your wishes to my wife, appreciate it! All the best to You!

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  2. The murals are indeed magnificent. There has to be a princess, right? Like in every story. :)) And the tajin looks tasty. :) I really enjoyed this trip through the city of artists. Thanks, Maciek!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Monica! My princess was worrying because I warned her I would have her locked up in our of the Moroccan palaces :D It’s great you liked the murals and tajin, ever tried it yourself?

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Does this mean you’ve added Assilah to your itinerary? :) We have spent 3 weeks in Morocco and there was SO much to see and do everywhere. I am sure you will be equally amazed with your trip! Or more!

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    1. It is amazing how those murals match the medina and the city walls, like if they have always been there. Like if they were left by some fascinating tribe which left this place a long time ago. Thank you for your words, the pleasure is all mine!

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  3. Absolutely beautiful place, very envious to be honest, I love places with so much charm, history and character, great photos too and very interesting, I now feel a little hungry, take care

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  4. Hello Maciek,

    This is truly a beautiful post …

    Nice write up and stunning images :)

    I really appreciate your effort in coming up with the text in two different languages.

    Thank you so much for sharing and great to find you here :)

    Have a great time :)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. With one man’s idea, the Town revived = What an amazing story.
    To the splendid looks !
    And splendid photos too —– shame, your camera’s Dynamic Range
    is a bit narrow —> Change the camera. (Sorry to say)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi :) Thank you, indeed Assilah’s story is an amazing one! For the camera, we have indeed changed it already last year ;) Morocco trip was in 2012 if I recall correctly.

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