Asilah the pearl of Morocco

Cromlechs of M'Soura

In a quiet valley, approx. 10 km south of Asilah, a circle of 170 menhirs appears. These large pointed blocks are a place of worship. Cromlechs, circular formations built of vertical blocks called menhirs, were created in the Neolithic and Bronze Age. 

They would have served as places of worship and tribal meetings. The most famous cromlechs are those found in Britain, England (the famous Stonehenge) and Ireland. The monoliths of M'Soura are 50 cm wide and 6 m high, the distance between them being 5 m and the diameter of the circle of approx. 55 m. Legend has it that it is the tomb of Antaeus, son of Neptune (king of the seas and oceans) and Gaia (Earth).

Quaint and vast, the paradisiac beach is more than 3 km long.

What impresses the most is the tides. At low tide, the ocean seems to take a deep breath and swallow itself in a long sip. The difference in water level is most visible early in the morning. 

Low tide leaves many specimens of shells, picked up enthusiastically by locals and tourists. Asilah was founded by the Carthaginians under the name of Zilis. A rich granary and a convenient commercial port, the city was coveted by many powers. Asilah was occupied by the Emperor Octavian. After the fall of the Roman Empire, it passed from hands to hands until conquered in 972 by the Arabs, The Portuguese appeared in Asilah in 1471 with the great crusade.  It was not until the seventeenth century. that the Moroccan sultan Moulay Ismail to retake the city. Asilah is divided in two: the new city of contemporary character and the medina surrounded by a high wall. 

To get there, we cross the door el Homar, decorated with arms erased in the time of King Alfonso V of Portugal 1438-1481). The buildings of the old town are quite characteristic, predominantly small white houses with blue shutters. The highest building in the medina and at the same time the most characteristic is the El Kamra defense tower, built in the 15th century. by the Portuguese. This massive structure built in a rectangular plan has a crenellated finish. 

The small windows served at the same time as loopholes and observation points. Near the tower, a door offers an excellent view of the ocean and harbor, To the left of the door; located in the former municipal stable; the entrance of the Hassan Center 11 of the International Meetings is presented. It is precisely at the Hassan H Center for International Encounters that each year, for the past 35 years, the Asilah Cultural Moussem and various cultural activities have been organized, to which artists from Mediterranean countries are invited. The idea of ​​the Cultural Moussem is to unify the inhabitants of the Mediterranean countries. 

Summer (July to August), Asilah is invaded by artists: writers, musicians, painters, sculptors, dancers and poets, each of which creates and presents his works. A recent idea, the fashion shows feature traditional Arab outfits (djellabahs, caftans), designed by famous Arab fashion designers. At Moussem, performances of dance groups and folk singers are also organized. But the most spectacular moment of the Moussem comes when famous painters, chosen by the ambassadors of the participating countries, paint the walls of the houses. In 2011, it was Spain's Caria Qucrejeta Roca who was chosen to produce on the walls of the Hassan 11 Center of International Ken- eres her work entitled Tangier, Paris, Peking, Tangier. It consists of several wall paintings in the form of squares with sides measuring from 40 to 150 cm. Inspired by the landscapes and roofs of the three cities mentioned in the title, her work can still be admired today. 

The monument whose interior can only be visited during the cultural foam; the palace of the Moroccan pirate; known as Palace of Kais-Souli (or Palace of Culture); is a residence of 1906 located, west of Hassan II Center of International Encounters, Today; it plays the role of cultural center; where conferences and meetings with artists take place during the festival. Massive; This two-storey, white-walled building seems almost attached to the walls of the medina on the sea side, and so it is difficult to see from the narrow street. Restored in 1970, the interior offers rich stucco ornaments (interior courtyards), ceilings with beautiful paintings and multicolored mosaics on floors and walls.