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Portuguese City of Mazagan (El Jadida)
Site number:
Type of site: Cultural
Date: 16th century
Date of Inscription: 2004
Location: Africa, Morocco, Region: Doukkala-Abda, Province El Jadida
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Description: Built at the beginning of the 16th century as a fortified colony on the Atlantic coast the Portuguese fortification of Mazagan is now part of the city of El Jadida, located 90-km southwest of Casablanca. In 1769 the Moroccans took over. The fortification, its bastions and the ramparts, is an early illustration of Renaissance military design. The Portuguese buildings that are still standing consist of the cistern and the Church of the Assumption, which were built in the late Gothic architectural Manueline style. The Portuguese City of Mazagan is among the earliest Portuguese explorer settlements in Western Africa on the route to India; the town is an exceptional illustration of the European and Moroccan cultural exchanges, which manifests within the site’s architecture, technology, and town planning. --WHMNet paraphrase from the description at WHC Site, where additional information is available.
  El Jadida (الجديدة) is a port city on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, in the province of El Jadida. It has a population of 144,440 (2004 census) and is the port for Marrakech, 110 miles to the south. From the sea, El Jadida has a very un-Moorish appearance; it has massive Portuguese walls of hewn stone. El Jadida, previously known as Mazagan (Portuguese: Mazagão), was seized in 1502 by the Portuguese. From 1580 to 1640, Portugal was under Spanish dynastic rule. Portuguese abandoned Mazagão in 1769. Many of its inhabitants were evacuated to Brazil, where they founded new settlement Nova Mazagão (now in Amapá). El Jadida was then taken over by sultan Mohammed ben Abdallah. The Portuguese Fortified City of Mazagan was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004, on the basis of its status as an "outstanding example of the interchange of influences between European and Moroccan cultures" and as an "early example of the realisation of the Renaissance ideals integrated with Portuguese construction technology". According to UNESCO, the most important buildings from the Portuguese period are the cistern, and the Manueline church of the Assumption. --Wikipedia. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.
Reference: 1. UNESCO World Heritage Center, Site Page.
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