Visit the Charming Seaside Town of Ksar es-Seghir
The small seaside town of Ksar es-Seghir is located between the Moroccan city of Tangier and the Spanish enclave city of Ceuta, at the point where the Mediterranean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean on the Strait of Gibraltar. The remains of a Moroccan citadel and Portuguese fort are interesting attractions to explore and the beaches at Ksar es-Seghir are covered in pristine soft sand. There are also some cafés and restaurants nearby, providing everything necessary for an enjoyable day-trip by bus from Tangier.
Ksar es-Seghir was originally established by the Phoenicians, and later occupied by the Romans, with a fortress being built during the Islamic conquest of the region. During the rule of the Almoravids from (1056-1147) the site was used as a military base for Muslim troops to depart for Spain over the Strait of Gibraltar. The Almohads turned the settlement into a ship building industry and in 1287 sultan Abu Ya’qub Yusuf built a circular wall around the settlement, complete with imposing bastions and monumental gateways, with the northwestern door being named Bab al Bahr – door of the sea – and the others Bab Sebta and Bab Fes. During the era of the Wattasids, the site was no longer of military importance, but continued to serve as a port. It was in 1458 that the Portuguese, under the leadership of Duarte de Meneses, captured Ksar es-Seghir and extended the fortifications to the sea to provide a shielded area for maritime Portuguese forces to land on African soil. The Portuguese maintained control of the area for more than a century before it was abandoned by them and reclaimed by the Moroccans. In 1609, so-called ‘Moriscos’ who were expelled from Spain were sent to Ksar es-Seghir. These were the descendants of the Muslim population who had converted to Christianity when threatened by Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella that failure to do so would result in exile.
No longer important as a port, Ksar es-Seghir became a quiet fishing town, with a more modern town eventually being established opposite the crumbling citadel. In 2010 the port was developed as a naval base for the Royal Moroccan Navy and the Tanger-Med commercial cargo port, located twelve kilometers northeast, began construction in 2007 – all of which has given Ksar es-Seghir a financial boost.