Cidade portuguesa
El Jadida, Morocco
The contemporary city of El Jadida, located approximately 105 km (65 miles) south of Casablanca on the coast Atlantic coast of Morocco, grew out of the fortified Portuguese city, established in the 16th c. The first fort on the site was constructed in 1514 by Francisco and Diogo de Arruda. Between 1541-1548 the fortress was rebuilt by Joao Ribiero and Juan Castillo using the plans of the Italian architect Benedetto de Ravenna. 
The fortification with its bastions and ramparts is an early example of Renaissance military design. The surviving Portuguese buildings include the cistern and the Church of the Assumption, built in the Manueline style of late Gothic architecture. The Portuguese City of Mazagan - one of the early settlements of the Portuguese explorers in West Africa on the route to India - is an outstanding example of the interchange of influences between European and Moroccan cultures, well reflected in architecture, technology, and town planning.1

The walls walls average approximately 8 m in height and 10 m thick. 

The city was occupied by the Portuguese until 1769 when Sultan Mohammed ben Abdallah recaptured the region, bringing stability.  Jews from Safi settled in Mazagan and became more prominent in daily left of the city.  In 1821 the city was renamed El Jadida.  The port remained important to the economy of Morocco until 1921 when it was superseded by the new port as Casablanca. 

The Portuguese city was declared a World Heritage Site in 2004.


UNESCO World Heritage Centre. "Portuguese City of Mazagan (El Jadida)." UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Accessed May 16, 2018.

El Jadida, Morocco
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Associated Names
Site Contains
1514/920 AH construction of first fort
1541/948 AH construction of the current, expanded fortifications
250 x 300 m
Variant Names
Cité Portuguese
Portuguese City
Building Usages