Essaouira Sqalas (sea bastions)

As the major fortification of the town, the Sqala mounts guard between the medina and the ocean. Located northwest of the medina, not far from the regional arts museum, the Sqala overlooks the Atlantic.

From the top of the watch tower, opposite the lines of cannons facing the sea, it is easy to see why Orson Welles chose this place as a movie location for his version of Othello. The film won the prestigious Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1952. Lower down, beneath the platform, the old bunkers are occupied by artisans specialising in inlaid work. Although tools have now replaced weapons, the Sqala has not lost its soul.

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