The secrets of El Jadida

From the tops of El Jadida's bastions

El Jadida stands sentry on the shores of the Atlantic. Surrounded by formidable ramparts and punctuated by towers lapped by the ocean, the ancient Portuguese fortified city once known as Mazagan still has a military air to it. Its many remaining bastions give tourists a fantastic view over the city.

Straight ahead lies the medina, with its ocher walls, labyrinthine alleys and the famous Portuguese cistern whose vaults served as a backdrop for Orson Welles' "Othello". The historic district is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Continue taking in the sights and look toward the water, where the Sidi Bouafi lighthouse has stood for nearly a century to guide sailors to the entrance to the port.

If the air is clear, you can see the outlying areas, including the small town of Moulay Abdellah to the west. Each year it hosts a moussem, or traditional festival, attended by the country's most talented horsemen. To the east is the historic city of Azemmour with its pretty urban landscape.

The heights of the fortifications have shown you all the riches of El Jadida. Now it's time to climb down and get a closer look at these treasures of Moroccan history.