The Atlantic city of Essaouira was consecrated Friday as the city of Arts, Culture and Handicraft as King Mohammed VI launched there the establishment of a City of Arts & Culture and inaugurated an integrated crafts complex.
These two projects translate the King’s firm will to preserve the artistic and cultural heritage of Essaouira, a city known for its plural identity and culture, and time-honored traditions of interfaith dialogue and Muslim-Jewish Coexistence.
The two projects also mirror the Monarch’s determination to make of the sector of handicrafts a lever for economic and social development.
The City of Arts and Culture, to be built over 3.6 ha, will feature a 1,000 seat-theater, a music conservatory, a library, a museum of traditional arts, a tea museum, an outdoor performance stage that can accommodate up to 30,000 people, in addition to halls where musicians and actors can rehearse and practice their art. The project will require an investment of about 350 million dirhams and will be completed within 48 months.
King Mohammed VI also inaugurated an integrated crafts complex that will contribute to the preservation of certain endangered crafts, the promotion of local handicrafts and the materialization of gender equality since 50 pc of the beneficiaries of the premises are women.
The facility, worth 18.5 million dirhams, can provide young people in Essaouira and the region with a professional training adapted to the socio-economic reality of the local handicraft sector, the aim being to facilitate their integration into the labor market.
The new Complex also aims to organize and support the province’s craftsmen in order to enable them to diversify their products and improve their income.
The integrated complex houses a center for professional qualification in traditional arts, workshops, three training rooms, a computer room, and 7 exhibition venues displaying wood and weaving works, jewelry, leather goods, musical instruments, and other locally-made products.
This project translates the importance that the Monarch attaches to vocational training and the qualification of young people, particularly in the handicraft sector.
“I will continue to emphasize the role of vocational training and manual labor in achieving the integration of young people,” the king had said in a speech last year, noting that handicrafts provide practitioners with a decent income and a dignified life.
During his stay in Essaouira, King Mohammed VI oversaw a facelift program of the city’s historical Medina, worth $300 million. The restorations are scheduled to be completed in 2023 and seek to develop the historical part of the city and boost its attractiveness to tourism.
The Monarch also celebrated the city’s centuries-old history of Jewish-Muslim coexistence with a visit to “Bayt Dakira”, a venue dedicated to showcasing Judeo-Moroccan heritage.
The venue 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.