Essaouira, a Symbol of Morocco’s Diversity, Cultural Plurality & Richness – UNESCO DG

The Atlantic city of Essaouira is a standing symbol of Morocco’s diversity and of the plurality of its cultures that make up its richness, said Director General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, who was present during the visit King Mohammed VI, Commander of the Faithful, paid Wednesday to “Bayt Dakira”, in the city’s medina.

The Sovereign’s visit to “Bayt Dakira”, this spiritual and patrimonial venue dedicated to preserving and showcasing Judeo-Moroccan heritage, sends a very strong message, that the Kingdom claims its diversity and the plurality of all its cultures, said Audrey Azoulay in a statement to the press in Essaouira.

Essaouira, with its plural history, is a world city that has been recognized as such in many ways by the international community through UNESCO, she said.

The UNESCO chief noted that city’s heritage, its medina, which has been classified as a World Heritage Site, or more recently the entry into the intangible heritage of the Gnawa culture, with its music, rites, meanings, maalems and zaouiyas, have all earned Essaouira this formidable recognition.

The UNESCO Director General recalled that Essaouira has also been recognized for its modernity and creativity, as the city has recently joined UNESCO’s Creative Cities network. All this plurality of origins, diversity and artistic multiplicity carries the city into the future, she said.


“Bayt Dakira” gives a strong impetus to peace, dialogue and openness, said on his part comedian Gad El Maleh.


The visit of the Commander of the Faithful to this spiritual site is “a strong message from the Sovereign to the Jewish community in Morocco, to the international community and to the people watching us around the world,” said Gad El Maleh, who was present during the King’s visit to “Bayt Dakira”.


Morocco is a unique model that sends a strong message of harmony, cohesion and dialogue between communities, something that is rather difficult to realize throughout the world, the Moroccan-French comedian stressed.


“Bayt Dakira” is also home to the “Slat Attia” Synagogue as well as the Haim and Celia Zafrani International Research Center on the history of relations between Judaism and Islam.


The leadership of King Mohammed VI and his steadfast commitment to promoting the values of tolerance, inter-religious dialogue and coexistence at home and abroad stand as a distinctive feature of Morocco.

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