Travel to Salé – Former Haven of Pirates
Not necessarily an obvious choice for travellers, Salé is situated on the Atlantic Ocean, across the river Oued Bou Regreg, close to the capital of Morocco, Rabat. Of independent economic activity, Salé has an important port, and established industries for flour milling, carpets, fish canning, cork processing and pottery.
Salé was established in the 1st centuy CE by the Romans under the name of Sala Colonia. The Vandals captured the area in the 5th century AD leaving behind a number of blonde, blue-eyed Berbers. In the 10th century, the area of Salé became the capital of the strong tribe of Beni Ifren. The Republic of Salé was founded in 1627 and shortly became a haven for Moroscos-turned-Barbary-pirates. The latter roamed the seas as far as the shores of the Americas, bringing back loot and slaves. It is only in the 18th century that the city activity turned away from piracy into craftsmanship.
In 1912, with the French protectorate, Rabat was made into the capital leaving little attention for Salé. Salé has had an important role in Moroccan history. The first demonstrations for independence against the French sparked off in the town. A good number of government officials, decision makers and royal advisors of both France and Morocco were from Salé.
For attractions, visitors to Salé can visit the big Mosque of Salé and the Medersa Abu Al Hasan located in the Old Medina.
There are numerous local coffee shops – ideal to rest up in and watch the Moroccan world go by.
- Salé today acts to a large extent as a suburb of Rabat, but is renowned for its beautiful and almost unspoilt old city.