Agadir is unlike any other Moroccan city, a result of the 1960 earthquake which effectively destroyed the entirety of the city. It was the most destructive and deadliest earthquake in the history of Morocco measuring 5.7 on the Richter scale, killing one third of the Agadir’s population and leaving 35,000 people homeless. Two days after the earthquake, which occurred on the evening of February 29th, the whole city was evacuated to prevent the spread of disease. The city was then completely rebuilt 3km south of its original location. Although Agadir does not have the charm of traditional Moroccan towns, thanks to its long beach, wide open spaces and modernity it is the country’s second touristic destination after Marrakesh.
At an altitude of 236m (775ft), the hilltop ruins of the Kasbah, within restored ramparts, offer a stunning view of Agadir and its bay. Built by Mohammed Ech Cheikh in 1540 to keep the Portuguese fortress under surveillance, it was restored in 1752 by Moulay Abdallah and accommodated a garrison of renegade Christians and Turkish mercenaries.
South of the city in a bay with 9km (6miles) of fine sand, is Agadir’s main attraction, the sheltered beach. It offers one of the safest swimming of Morocco’s Atlantic coast. The city enjoys 300 days of sunshine a year, making this an ideal destination for holidaymakers. Many cafés, hotels and restaurants line the beach, where you can rent sailboards, jet-skis, water scooters or enjoy a ride on horses or camels.
Located on the edge of the city, the port consists of a large complex with about 20 canning and freezing factories where the produce of the sea is processed. As Morocco’s foremost fishing port, an auction takes place every afternoon in the fish market. Agadir also exports citrus fruit, fresh vegetables, canned food and ore.
Agadir’s modern centre, the Nouveau Talborj, was built south to the old city. The main streets of the city centre run parallel to the beach. Pedestrian areas, lined with restaurants, shops and crafts outlets are concentrated around Boulevard Hassan II and Avenue du Prince Moulay Abdallah. There are some fine modern buildings, including the post office, the town hall and the stately law courts. The city’s bright white buildings are interspersed by many gardens.