Safi, Morocco

Safi
ⴰⵙⴼⵉ / أسفي
Asfi
View on the port and the coastline of Safi
Nickname(s): Asfi
Safi is located in Morocco
Safi
Location in Morocco
Coordinates: 32°17′N 9°14′W / 32.283°N 9.233°W / 32.283; -9.233
Country Flag of Morocco.svg Morocco
Region Doukkala-Abda
Population (2004)
 – Total 282,227

Safi (Arabic: آسفي‎, Tifinagh ⴰⵙⴼⵉ) is a city in western Morocco on the Atlantic Ocean. The capital of the Doukkala-Abda Region, it has a population of 282,227 (2004 census),[1] but is also the centre of an agglomeration which has an estimated 793,000 inhabitants (1987). Safi is the main fishing port for the country's sardine industry, and also exports phosphates, textiles and ceramics. During the Second World War, Safi was one of the landing sites for Operation Torch.

Contents

Etymology

The city's name is "Asfi" which was latinized as "Safi". "Asfi" means the flood in Berber and comes from the root "Sefi/Asefi" which means to flood, spill or pour in Berber.

11th-century geographer Al-Idrisi gave another explanation to the origin the name "Asfi" as he linked it to the Arabic word "Asaf" (regret); Asafi (my regret). He based this claim on a strange story about some sailors from al-Andalus who sailed to discover the other end of the Atlantic ocean but got lost and landed on some island where the natives captured them and sent them back on their ships blindfolded. The ships eventually ended on the shores of "Asfi" and locals helped the lost sailors and told them that they were two months away from their native land al-Andalus. Upon hearing this one of the sailors responded by saying: "Wa asafi" (Oh my regret). Al-Idrisi wrote that from that time the city carried the name "Asafi". This story is thought to be an imaginary legend and thus is an unlikely explanation to the origin of the name.[2]

History

Safi, under the name Safim (Zaffim or Asfi) is one of the oldest cities in Morocco, hence its foundation date is unknown. It might have been founded by the Carthaginians.

The city was under Portuguese rule 1488 and 1541, it is believed that they abandoned it to the Saadians (who were at war with the them) since it proved to be difficult to defend from land attacks. The Portuguese fortress built to protect the city is still there today.
After 1541, the city played a major role in Morocco as one of the safest and biggest sea ports in the country. Many ambassadors to the saadians and Alaouite kings druing the 16-18th centuries, came to Morocco via Asfi, its proximity to Marrakech then capital of Morocco helped expand the maritime trade in the city.
Louis De Chénier consul of the French court in Morocco in 1767, reported that the city was the only usable seaport at the time.

A French Navy captive Bidé de Maurville, who wrote the account of his stay in Morocco in his 1765 book Relations de l'affaire de Larache, reported the presence of an important number of foreign trading houses in the city : Dutch, Danish, British and French.

After the Sultan Mohammed ben Abdallah built the city of Mogador, he banned foreign trade in all Moroccan Ports except in his newly built city. Consequently Asfi stopped playing a leading role in the Moroccan trade.

Safi's patron saint is Abu Mohammed Salih.

Attractions

The central medina is a traditional Moroccan market. It is closely affiliated with pottery, and throughout the market vases, plates and other items are all made from clay and are popular with tourists. Safi has a beach, although it is recommended to travel north along the coastal road (Sidi Bouzid) towards Oualidia, where stretches of beaches run all the way along the route (Lalla Fatna, Beddouza, Iyir)

Sport

Football and rugby are popular sports in Asfi. The local football team Olympic Safi, are competing in Morocco's premier football division, Botola since 2004.
The Rugby Union team of the same name is one of Morocco's best, having won the "Coupe du Trône" several times.

Notable people from Safi

See also

  • People from Safi, Morocco

Gallery

References

  1. ^ 2004 Morocco Population census
  2. ^ Arabian American Oil Company, Aramco Services Company, Saudi Aramco (1991). Aramco world , Volumes 42-43. Aramco. pp. 12. http://books.google.com/books?id=pkkgAQAAMAAJ&q. 

External links

Coordinates: 32°17′N 9°14′W / 32.283°N 9.233°W / 32.283; -9.233


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