Dar Soltane (Dar es Sultan)
The construction of the palace
The palace (so called The White House) was built towards the end of the 18th century, in the South of the bay of Essaouira, little set back from the coast, by Hoban, rich trader. It was then given to Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdallah, founder of the city of Essaouira.
The first idea was to be able to contemplate the city of Essaouira and its bastions, while taking advantage of a natural environment. In a second step, these magnificent buildings were used by Moulay Abderrahmane, then governor of the city, who established his residence there, and where he also received the dignitaries, rich traders and consuls.
At that time, this palace, constituted by 5 different buildings, was furnished in European style, windows were equipped with crystal, fireplaces had been built with marble and it was surrounded with a real forest of nice-smelling tamarisks, decorated with ponds. Of Andalusian style, it distinguished itself by its beautiful ceilings in sculptured and painted woodwork, work of local artisans, as well as different sorts of zellige for the walls. Walls and gardens overhung the course of the river Ksob which poured peacefully in its feet.
Throughout the years this magnificent building was regrettably abandoned and delivered to the plunders and to the sandstorms, then is sunk into oblivion.
Today, known under the name of Dar Soltane, there are there only some ruins, very widely covered by the sand and which do not really honour the past magnificence of this palace. Dunes invaded the space. Walls, mainly made of pisé (concrete of ground mixed and pressed down in the hand), faded for the greater part under the assault of the ceaseless wind and the scattered rains which sweep this exposed coast. Nevertheless, it is worth having a walk there to feel the magic which still emanates from this place which is back to the wild nature after glorious past.
Discover the palace better
Other unusual way of discovering Dar Soltane under another angle of sight: a ride on the back of dromedary which gives you a height allowing to see better some ruins which still offer themselves to the glance stunned by the guests nowadays, and also to imagine otherwise the magnificence which this place and its neighborhood could have when an eminent traveler discovered it for the first time after a long trip.
The protection of Dar Soltane
This archaeological treasure, property of the state, is nowadays buried under sands, but let’s hope that one day it can be rehabilitated, for the pleasure of our eyes and the cultural wealth which it represents. Inch Hallah!
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