Azemmour is a charming former Portugese fortified town on the great Oum Er-Rabia river 75 km from Casblanca and close to the fortified city of El Jadida which the Portugese moved to after abandoning Azemmour in 1541. The Duke of Braganza took the town in 1513 with a force of some 500 ships and 15,000 troops. It was used as a destination for shipping goods along the river. Azemmour is unspoiled and a very restful destination of character in Morocco.
The views from its ramparts and walls which rise up from the river are striking. Its white Medina and ochre walls seen from the three bridges that cross the river are very picturesque. The town is refreshingly calm and gives first time visitors to Morocco a good idea about the tranquil Moroccan way of life in a small town. The old Kasbah is mostly a ruin with striking views cross the river and gardens from the rampart walls. The prominent Dar El Baroud tower is all that remains of a gunpowder store that was destroyed.
The Moroccan built Medina is reached via Place de Souk and a 16 century gate with a European semi circular style arch. Azemmour had a substantial Jewish population which left in the 1960’s and the old Mellah or Jewish quarter lies in the northern part of the Medina after the Kasbah. The old synagogue is well maintained and looked after by a local family and it is possible to see inside where lies the tomb of Rabbi Abrahim Moul Nis, which is an important shrine for Jewish pilgrims and is the focus of a Mouassem each year.
The patron saint of Azemmour is Abu Shuayb Ayub Ibn Said Erredad al-Sanhaji Assariya , who died about 1177. His mausoleum was built on the order of Sultan Mohammed ben Abdallah. Each year a moussem is celebrated to honour him. The Azemmour festival is held each year in July.
Riads in Azemmour include the Oum Errabia, 25 Derb Chtouka a modern and traditional high class riad with excellent cuisine. The Dar Wabi ,Derb Daira and Riad 7, at 2, Derb Chtouka
Riad Azma 17 Derb Ben Tahar is a grand 19th-century house complete with original carved woodwork and charming rooms surrounding a lovely courtyard. The carved, painted ceilings here are some of the finest and the rooftop terrace has great views of the medina
There is the Restaurant Panorama with a delightful garden serving Moroccan cuisine and La Perle restaurant on Hauzia beach across the river from Azemmour .
Hauzia beach has kite surfing, although the river has strong currents and care should be taken. The wetlands by the beach have a variety of bird life for bird watchers.
A visit to Azemmour can be combined with a trip to the Portugese fortified medina of El Jadida giving the visitor a good idea of the Portugese architectural heritage and naval prowess in the sixteenth century. The Portugese presence in Morocco declined after their defeat at the battle of the three Kings at Kasr el Kebir in the north of Morocco in 1578.