El Jadida Tourism: Sights and Attractions
The main sight in El Jedida is the unmistakable Cité Portuguaise, the old quarters in town. Built by the Portuguese in the 16th century as a fortified seaside village, it is the most European-looking medina in Morocco.
The other focal point in El Jedida is the wide sandy beach, which attracts droves of mainly holidaying Moroccans in the summer.
The Cité Portugaise
The Medina is a quiet, walled seaside village with a compact maze of twisting streets. It is popularly known as the Cité Portugaise (Portuguese City) because it was built by the Portuguese in 1513 and retained by them until 1769.
At the main entrance of the fortress is the impressive seventeenth-century built Portuguese Church of the assumptions, now restored and used as a cultural centre. Next door, to the left, is the Grand Mosquée, whose minaret was once used as a lighthouse and has a unique pentagonal shape.
A monument not to be missed is the Portuguese Cistern, a beautiful subterranean vault lit by a single shaft of light. The cistern has a shallow film of water covering the floor and mirroring its roof and pillars. The cistern was used to dramatic effect by Orson Welles to stage a riot in his great film Othello.
When you exit the cistern, take a moment to have a look at the useful model of the Cité Portuguaise in its heyday under the Portuguese. Continue up Rue Carreira and you’ll come to the Bab el Bhar, the original sea gate on the port. From here, you can climb the ramp into the ramparts and walk all the way down to the bastions. On the southeast corner is Bastion de l’Ange, with excellent panoramic views over the town and the port. To the left, by Bastion St Sebastien there is restored synagogue with an interesting crescent and a star of david clearly visible on the façade. You can also enjoy a panoramic view over the old Jewish cemetery.
El Jadida Beaches
El Jadida beaches spread to the north and south well beyond the limits of the town. It is a fairly clean and safe strip of sand, though it can get really packed during the summer season.
If you feel like a change and want a quieter environment, take a petit taxi to Phare Sidi Ouafi, a broader strip of sand with less tourists. 2 kilometres further southwest is Plage Sidi Bouzid, more developed with a string of fancy villas and a chich restaurant, Le Requin Bleu, serving delicious seafood. You can reach the beach by grand taxi or by taking bus #2 from Place Mohammed Ben Abdallah.