Morocco Tour Guide: Agadir

Morocco Tour Guide: Agadir Last updated on Thursday 22nd April 2010

Population 779,000 (1990)

Agadir is Morocco's main western seaport on the Atlantic Ocean. The name is a shortened version of "Agadir n Irir", a Berber word which means "a fortified granary".

History

Around 1500A.D. the port was occupied by the Portuguese, who built a fortress and named their new colony Santa Cruz de Aguer. Surrounding Berber tribes declared a jihad against the Christian intruders and, under the command of Amir Mohammed Echeikh El Mehdi, the Saadian ruler, Agadir was captured, precipitating Portugal's withdrawal for most of Morocco's Atlantic coast.

The Saadian rulers of the Souss developed the region's agriculture and Agadir became a major trading port, from which Saharan products, including sugar cane, olive oil, gold and spices, were exported.

The city's importance was displaced by that of Essouira during the reign of Sidi Mohamed ben Abdallah, who closed down its port facilities. This outstanding harbour serves as the point from which lead, manganese, and zinc mined in the region are shipped abroad. Fishing remains the main local industry along with canning (of fish products) and light metal industry.

In 1911, Franco-German rivalry over Morocco reached a crisis point when Germany sent the warship Panther to protect its "interests" in Agadir, nearly sparking a major European war. This incident drove France to establish their protectorate in Morocco.

Under French occupation which began in 1913, Agadir once again became an important port city. The French built a modern port facility in 1913 and enlarged the harbour in 1930 and again in 1954.

After independence in 1956 the city continued as it had been for decades until 1960, when it was destroyed by two earthquakes which killed about 15,000 people. In the aftermath of the disaster, the government designated the area a future tourist resort and completely rebuilt the city according to modern specifications for this purpose.

Today Agadir is indeed Morocco's most popular tourist destination with the country's best facilities and a beautiful white sand beach.

General information

· Tourist Board

Tel: 84 28 94 / 84 13 67

· Tourist Information

Tel: 84 03 07

· Telephone area code

· Bus station

· Railway terminus

Tel: 82 42 07

· Airline

rue du General Kettani
Tel: 84 01 72

· Police

Tel: 19

· Fire, ambulance

· Hospital

route de Marrakech
Tel: 841477

· All night chemist

Tel: 84 33 49

· Campsites

boulevard Mohamed V
Tel: 84 09 21 / 84 03 74

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