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View of Agadir
|Elevation||74 m (243 ft)|
|• Rank||7th in Morocco|
|Website||Agadir (French) (Arabic)|
View of Agadir
|Elevation||74 m (243 ft)|
|• Rank||7th in Morocco|
|Website||Agadir (French) (Arabic)|
Agadir (Amazigh: Agadir, ⴰⴳⴰⴷⵉⵔ; Moroccan Arabic: اگادير) is a major city in central coastal Morocco, the capital of Agadir-Ida Ou Tanane province (MA-AGD) and of the Souss-Massa-Drâa economic region some 508 km to the south of Casablanca, 173 km south of Essaouira and 235 km southwest of Marrakech A majority of its inhabitants speak Amazigh (Berber) as their mother tongue.
Agadir is one of the major urban centres of Morocco, the seventh largest conurbation of the country after Casablanca, Rabat, Fez, Marrakech, Meknes, and Tangier. The population density is quite high. Three languages are spoken in the city: Arabic (mainly Darija, which is the Moroccan Arabic dialect); Ta-Chelh-it (or Shilha Berber) by the Berbers (who are also known as I-Mazigh-en Berbers or Ch'leuhs: I-Celḥiy-en); and French. The mayor is Tariq Kabbaj.
Destroyed by earthquake in 1960, the city has been completely rebuilt with mandatory seismic standards. It is now the largest seaside resort in Morocco, where foreign tourists and many residents are attracted by an unusually mild year-round climate. Since 2010, it has been well served by low cost flights and a Motorway from Tangiers, the city attracts all walks of life and has had an annual growth rate of over 6% per year in housing demand while housing production barely exceeds 3.4%.
The mild winter climate (January average midday temperature 20.5°C/69°F) and good beaches have made it a major "winter sun" destination for Northern Europeans.
The word Agadir means in Berber "wall enclosing a fortress or town".
Agadir's name is Gadiris in French, and pronounced Gougadir or Oultougadir in Berber language (Tachelhit), and Gadiri or Gadiria in Arabic (pronunciations are approximate - see original Tachelhit and Arabic for accuracy).
|This section is written like a travel guide rather than an encyclopedic description of the subject. (October 2014)|
The current conurbation of Agadir is actually a combination of four communes:
Large and dynamic, it includes the boulevards Mohammed V and Hassan II, the Valley of Birds, the avenues General Kettani, Mohammed VI, Moulay Abdellah, and Mokhtar Soussi as well as the main avenue of the FAR ( Royal Armed Forces of Morocco). The city centre also includes the Place Salam, Place de l'Esperance, the Loubnane Mosque, and the Square with two fountains that leads to the greenbelt of the municipality. With the combination of several communes, the city centre is process to gradually move towards the Haut Founty district where the new administration have built a new building for the Court of Appeal.
Lively and dynamic, the tourist area at the seaside consists of the boulevard of 20 August, Tawada Avenue, the Corniche, Avenue of Oued Souss, and the Founty district: Baie des Palmiers. It has many hotels, restaurants, trendy cafes, and residential villas.
A large beautification project for the city is in course of being completed. Agadir is well equipped with a beautiful waterfront promenade about 5 km long.
A recent marina with many luxury shops was built at the foot of the Casbah and at the beginning of the Oued Tildi.
This area is known as the old district of Talborjet (meaning "small fort" in local Berber, in remembrance of the water tower which was first built on the plateau in the former Talborjt). Lively, the New Talborjt which has been rebuilt away from the Old Talborjt, has as a main artery the Boulevard Mohammed Sheikh Saadi, who was the victor against the Portuguese in 1541. Other major avenues are the Avenue President Kennedy and the Avenue February 29. There is also the Mohammed V mosque, the Olhão garden (Olhão is a coastal city located in the south of Portugal, which is paired with Agadir) and its memorial museum and the garden Ibn Zaydoun. Some good hotels and restaurants have been built on the main arteries.
Over the decades, Agadir has had several ports: two fishing ports, a major trading port, and the recent port for leisure boats with its marina.
The Avenue du Port, the main artery of the Anza district, is surrounded by canneries and has many popular small restaurants adjacent to the fish market.
The Casbah (Agadir Oufella, Agadir le haut, Agadir N'Ighir, or Agadir de la colline) was, along with Founti by the sea, the oldest district of Agadir. An authentic fortress with winding streets and lively, the Casbah was built in 1572 by Moulay Abdallah al-Ghalib. Above the front door; today, the original inscription in Arabic and in Dutch reads: "Fear God and honour the King."
Of this fortress there remains, after the earthquake of 29 February 1960, a restored long high wall that surrounds land that is not buildable. The view, however, is exceptional over the bay of Agadir and the ports. The old people of Agadir remember the famous "Moorish café" of the Casbah and its panoramic view.
The hill bears the inscription in Arabic: "God, Country, King" which, like the walls, is illuminated at night.
Overlooking the waterfront and Wadi Tildi, this old district (whose name is sometimes spelled Talbordjt) was once a shopping area and very lively with its large square where there was a weekly market, hotels, schools, mosque 90% of the buildings in Old Talborjt were destroyed or severely damaged by the earthquake in 1960. Razed to the ground after the earthquake and now overgrown, it is classified as non-buildable area. Its main thoroughfare, the Avenue El Moun stretches over 2 km and serves only for driving schools who teach their students to drive.
One of the most popular neighbourhoods, it is known for its Square for taxis and buses. It is a junction that unites the heart of the city and its surroundings. This district was the least affected by the earthquake of 1960.
This is the largest market in the region. It has about 6,000 small shops. It is surrounded by walls and has several entrances. It is organized into different sectors: furniture, crafts, clothing, vegetables, meat, spices etc. It is possible to find little marvels, including all kinds of handicrafts and traditional decorations. There are also objects of poor quality "made in China", imitation traditional slippers in plastic at ridiculous prices, and counterfeit articles.
The walls have been restored and the interior design is being finished.
La Médina is a handicrafts space created in 1992 by the Italian artist Coco Polizzi, at Ben Sergao, a district close to Agadir 4.5 km from the city centre. Built using techniques of traditional Berber construction, it is a kind of small open-air museum, on five hectares and home to artisan workshops, a museum, individual residences, a small hotel, and an exotic garden.
The prefecture is divided administratively into the following communes:
|Name||Geographic code||Type||Households||Population (2004)||Foreign population||Moroccan population||Notes|
|Aourir||001.05.03.||Rural commune||5571||27483||55||27428||21810 residents live in the center, called Aourir; 5673 residents live in rural areas.|
|Drargua||001.05.09.||Rural commune||6910||37115||1||37114||17071 residents live in the center, called Drargua; 20044 residents live in rural areas.|
History is virtually silent on Agadir before the 12th century.
In the 2nd century AD, the historian Polybius referred to North Africa on the Atlantic, a place called cap Rhysaddir, that may have been located near Agadir but its location is still under debate.
The oldest cartographic mention of Agadir is on a map from 1325: at the approximate location of the modern city there was an indication of a place called Porto Mesegina, after the name of a Berber tribe already mentioned in the 12th century, the Mesguina, that is to say the Ksima.
At the end of the medieval period, Agadir was a town of some notoriety. The name itself, Agadir el-arba, was attested to for the first time in 1510.
In 1505, the Portuguese, who were already installed on the Moroccan coast, founded a trading post and a fort at the foot of the hill to the sea, Santa Cruz do Cabo de Aguer on the site of the now-vanished neighborhood of Founti (named after the Portuguese word fonte meaning fountain) under a governor.
Quickly, the Portuguese were exposed to the hostility of the tribes of the region. From 1530, they were blockaded in Santa Cruz. Portuguese weakness showed itself on 12 March 1541 when Sherif Saâdien Mohammed ash-Sheikh captured the fortress of Santa Cruz de Aguer. Six hundred Portuguese survivors were taken prisoner, including the governor, Guterre de Monroy, and his daughter, Dona Mecia. The captives were redeemed by the holy men mostly from Portugal. Dona Mecia, whose husband was killed during the battle, became the wife of Sheikh Mohammed ash-Sheikh but died in childbirth in 1544. In the same year, Mohammed ash-Sheikh released the Governor Guterre de Monroy, who he had befriended.
The Portuguese possessions in Morocco, acquired between 1505 and 1520, were regressing. After the loss of Agadir, the Portuguese were obliged to abandon Safi and Azemmour. Morocco was beginning to be less important for Portugal which now turned to India and Brazil. After 1550, the Portuguese no longer hold anything in Morocco other than Mazagan (now El Jadida), Tangier and Ceuta.
In 1572, the Casbah was built on top of the hill by Moulay Abdallah al-Ghalib, successor to Mohammed ash-Sheikh. It was now called Agadir N'Ighir, literally: fortified granary of the hill in Tachelhit.
In the 17th century, during the reign of the Berber dynasty of Tazeroualt, Agadir was a harbour of some importance, expanding its trade with Europe. There was, however no real port nor a wharf. Agadir traded mainly in sugar, wax, copper, hides and skins. Europeans took their manufactured goods, particularly weapons and textiles. Under the reign of Sultan Moulay Ismail (1645-1727) and his successors, the trade with France, until then an active partner regressed to the English and the Dutch.
In 1746, the Dutch set up a trading post at the foot of the Casbah under the authority of the Sultan, and undoubtedly participated in the restoration of the city. Above the door of the Casbah, the Dutch inscription can still be seen with its transcription in Arabic: "Vreest God ende eert den Kooning", which means "Fear God and honour your King", and the date 1746.
After a long period of prosperity during the reigns of the Saadian and Alawite dynasties, Agadir declined from 1760 because of the pre-eminence given to the competing port of Essaouira by the Alawite Sultan Mohammed ben Abdallah who wanted to punish the Souss for rebelling against his authority. This decline lasted a century and a half. In 1789, a European traveler gave a brief description of Agadir: "It is now a ghost town, there are no more than a few houses and these are crumbling into ruins".
In 1881, Sultan Moulay Hassan reopened the harbour to trade in order to supply the expeditions he planned in the south. These expeditions, which were to reassert his authority over the Souss tribes and counter the plans of English and Spanish, were held in 1882 and 1886.
In 1884, Charles de Foucauld described in Reconnaissance au Maroc (Reconnaissance in Morocco) his rapid passage to Agadir from the east:
I walk along the shore to Agadir Irir. The road passes below the city, half-way between it and Founti: Founti is a miserable hamlet, a few fishermen's huts; Agadir, despite its white enclosure which gives it the air of a city is, I am told, a poor village depopulated and without trade.
On the pretext of a call for help from German companies in the valley of the Souss, Germany decided on 1 July 1911, to protect its interests in Morocco and defend its claims on the country. It sent to the Bay of Agadir, (which harbour was, until 1881, closed to foreign trade) the SMS Panther which was quickly joined by the cruiser Berlin. Very strong international reaction, particularly from Great Britain, surprised Germany and triggered the Agadir Crisis between France and Germany. War threatened. After tough negotiations, a Franco-German treaty was finally signed on 4 November 1911, giving a free hand to France, who would be able to establish its protectorate over Morocco in return for giving up some colonies in Africa. It was only then that the gunboat Panther and the cruiser Berlin left the bay of Agadir.
Ironically, the German sales representative Hermann Wilberg, who was sent to provide the pretext for the intervention, only arrived at Agadir three days after the Panther arrived.
In 1913, the cities (Agadir N'Ighir and Founti) totalled less than a thousand inhabitants. On 15 June 1913 French troops landed in Agadir. In 1916, the first pier was built near Founti - a simple jetty, later known as the "Portuguese jetty", which remained until the end of the 20th century. After 1920, under the French protectorate, a port was built and the city saw its first development with the construction of the old Talborjt district located on the plateau at the foot of the hill. Two years later, beside Talborjt along the faultline of the river Tildi construction of the popular district of Yahchech began.
In the years from 1930, a modern central city began to be built according to the plans of the urban planner Henri Prost, director of the Urban Planning Department of the Protectorate, and his deputy Albert Laprade: a horseshoe layout based on the waterfront around a large avenue perpendicular to the waterfront - the Avenue Lyautey, since renamed Avenue du Général Kettani. In the 1950s, urban development continued under the direction of the Director of Urban Planning Morocco, Michel Ecochard.
After 1950 and the opening of the new commercial port, the city grew with fishing, canning, agriculture, and mining. It also began to open up to tourism thanks to its climate and beautiful hotels. Several years later from 1950 to 1956 Agadir organised the Grand Prix of Agadir and, from 1954 to 1956, the Moroccan Grand Prix.
By 1960, Agadir numbered over 40,000 residents when at 15 minutes to midnight on 29 February 1960, it was again almost totally destroyed by an earthquake of magnitude 5.7 on the Richter scale that lasted 15 seconds, burying the city and killing more than a third of the population. The death toll was estimated at 15,000. The earthquake destroyed the ancient Casbah.
On seeing the destruction in Agadir, King Muhammad V of Morocco declared: "If Destiny decided the destruction of Agadir, its rebuilding depends on our Faith and Will."
The current city was rebuilt 2 km further south, led by the architects Jean-François Zevaco, Elijah Azagury, Pierre Coldefy, and Claude Verdugo. Agadir became a large city of over half a million by 2004, with a large port with four basins: the commercial port with draft of 17 metres, triangle fishing, fishing port, and a pleasure boat port with marina. Agadir was the premier sardine port in the world in the 1980s and has a famous beach stretching over 10 km with one of the finest seafront promenades in the world. Its climate has 340 days of sunshine per year which allows for swimming all year round. The winter is unusually warm and summer heat is never oppressive (summer haze however is common).
Agadir is the premier tourist destination in the country, a claim sometimes disputed by Marrakech, and the premier fishing port of Morocco. Business is also booming with the export of citrus fruit and vegetables produced in the fertile valley of Souss.
With its white buildings, wide flowered boulevards, modern hotels and European style cafes, Agadir is not a typical city of traditional Morocco but it is a modern, active and dynamic city, turned towards the future.
The bay of Agadir and the nearby Bay of Taghazout are members of the "Club of the most beautiful bays in the world".
The city is served by the Agadir–Al Massira International Airport.
Agadir features a subtropical-semiarid climate (Köppen: BSh ) with warm summers and mild winters. Located along the Atlantic Ocean, Agadir has a very temperate climate. The daytime temperature generally stays in the 20s °C (70s °F) every day, with the winter highs typically reaching 20.4°C (70°F) in December–January (see weather-table below). The annual temperatures are very similar to Nairobi, Kenya, but with much less rainfall -about 10 inches annually- and the mid-year nights are less chilly than the Kenyan Capital.
Occasionally however, the region experiences winds from the Sahara called Chergui, which may exceptionally and for a few days (2-5) raise the heat above 40°C.
The lowest temperature recorded in Agadir was -2.6°C and the highest maximum recorded was 49.1°C at Agadir airport on 30 July 2009
In 1950, a poster from the Navigation Company Pacquet proclaimed: "Winter or summer, I bathe in Agadir"
|Climate data for Agadir|
|Average high °C (°F)||20.4|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||14.1|
|Average low °C (°F)||7.9|
|Precipitation mm (inches)||45.5|
|Avg. precipitation days||5.4||5.6||5.1||3.7||1.4||1.3||0.2||0.4||1.6||4.1||5.3||5.3||39.4|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||229.4||232.0||269.7||282.0||294.5||270.0||269.7||254.2||243.0||244.9||219.0||229.4||3,037.8|
|Source: NOAA Station ID: FM60250 Latitude: 30° 23'N Longitude: 9° 34'W Elevation: 23m|
Agadir's economy relies mainly on tourism and fisheries. Agricultural activities are based around the city.
Agadir has one of the biggest Souks in Morocco (Souk Lhed)
The city has a cement company called Ciments du Maroc (CIMAR), a subsidiary of the Italian group Italcementi which is in process of being transferred to a new plant 40 kilometres from the city. There is also a shipyard in the port and the only Merchant Marine school in Morocco.
Agadir is served by Al Massira Airport, located 22 kilometres from the city. With the opening of the new Casablanca–Agadir expressway in June 2010, which runs from Casablanca via Marrakech to Agadir, access to the region is much improved.
For freight there is also a port, and for pleasure-craft there is a marina in Agadir.
ALSA was introduced in 2010 to provide bus services in Agadir.
The Timitar festival, a festival of Amazigh and music from around the world, has been held in Agadir every summer since its inception in July 2004.
The Morocco Movement association is involved in the arts and organizes concerts, exhibitions and meetings in the visual arts, design, music, graphic design, photography, environment and health
Other cultural events in Agadir are:
The city of Agadir has a university: the University Ibn Zuhr which includes a Faculty of Science, Faculty of Law, Economics and Social Sciences, the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, and the multi-disciplined Faculty of Ouarzazate.
There are also establishments of higher education such as:
There is an international French school: the French School of Agadir and also public schools: Youssef Ben Tachfine School, Mohammed Reda-Slaoui School, and the Al-Idrissi Technical College.
There is a range of highschools:
Some of the most beautiful beaches in Morocco are located to the north of Agadir. Areas also known for excellent surfing are located near Taghazout village to Cap Ghir. Many smaller and clean beaches are located along this coast. Some of them between Agadir and Essaouira are: Agadir Beach, Tamaounza (12 km), Aitswal Beach, Imouran (17 km), Taghazout (19 km), Bouyirdn (20 km), Timzguida (22 km), Aghroud (30 km), Imiouadar (27 km).
The beaches of Taghazout and Tamraght. A large tourism development project in the Bay of Taghazout, Taghazout-Argana Bay was launched in 2007.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Agadir.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Agadir.|