Safi, Morocco

Safi (Berber: Asfi, ⴰⵙⴼⵉ; Arabic: أَسْفِي‎, asfi; Portuguese: Safim) is a city in western Morocco on the Atlantic Ocean. The capital of Safi Province, it recorded a population of 308,508 in the 2014 Moroccan census.[1] The city was under protectorate by the Portuguese Empire from 1488 to 1541, was the center of the nation's weaving industry, and became a fortaleza of the Portuguese Crown in 1508.[2] Safi is the main fishing port for the country's sardine industry, and also exports phosphates, textiles and ceramics. During the Second World War, Safi was the site of Operation Blackstone, one of the landing sites for Operation Torch.


Asfi / ⴰⵙⴼⵉ / أَسْفِي

Safi city
Safi city
Coat of arms of Safi

Coat of arms
Safi is located in Morocco
Location in Morocco
Coordinates: 32°17′N 9°14′W / 32.283°N 9.233°W
CountryFlag of Morocco.svg Morocco
 • Total308,508
 • Rank13th in Morocco
Le plus grand Tajine au monde
Tajine statue


The city's name as it is locally pronounced is "Asfi", which was Latinized as "Safi" and "Safim" under Portuguese rule. "Asfi" means flood or river estuary in Berber and comes from the Berber root "sfi/sfey" which means to flood, to spill or to pour.

11th-century geographer Al-Idrisi gave an apparently false explanation to the origin the name "Asfi" as he linked it to the Arabic word "Asaf" (regret); Asafi (my regret). He based this claim on a strange story about some sailors from al-Andalus who sailed to discover the other end of the Atlantic Ocean but got lost and landed on some island where the natives captured them and sent them back on their ships blindfolded. The ships eventually ended on the shores of "Asfi" and locals helped the lost sailors and told them that they were two months away from their native land al-Andalus. Upon hearing this one of the sailors responded by saying: "Wa asafi" (Oh my regret). Al-Idrisi wrote that from that time the city carried the name "Asafi". This story is thought to be a legend and unlikely explanation of the origin of the name.[3]


Safi has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csa).


Safi, under the name Safim (Zaffim or Asfi), is one of the oldest cities in Morocco. According to historian Mohammed al-Kanuni, Safi must be identified with the ancient Thymiaterium or Carcunticus and was founded by the Carthaginian Hanno during his Periplus as related by Pliny the Elder.[5]

Under the Almohads it functioned as an important port to the capital Marrakesh.

The city was under Portuguese rule from 1488 to 1541; it is believed that they abandoned it to the Saadians (who were at war with them), since the city proved difficult to defend from land attacks. The Portuguese fortress built to protect the city is still there today.

After 1541, the city played a major role in Morocco as one of the safest and biggest seaports in the country. Many ambassadors to the Saadian and Alaouite kings during the 16th–18th centuries came to Morocco via Asfi; its proximity to Marrakech, then capital of Morocco, helped expand the maritime trade in the city.
Louis De Chénier, consul of the French court in Morocco in 1767, reported that the city was the only usable seaport at the time.

A French Navy captive, Bidé de Maurville, who wrote the account of his stay in Morocco in his 1765 book Relations de l'affaire de Larache, reported the presence of an important number of foreign trading houses in the city : Dutch, Danish, British and French.

After the Sultan Mohammed ben Abdallah built the city of Mogador, he banned foreign trade in all Moroccan ports except in his newly built city. Consequently, Safi stopped playing a leading role in the Moroccan trade.

Safi's patron saint is Abu Mohammed Salih.

In 1942 as part of Operation Torch, American forces attacked Safi in Operation Blackstone. During November 8-10, 1942 the Americans took control over Safi and its port and took relatively few casualties compared to the other operations at Casablanca and at Port Mehdia.


The inhabitants are composed of Berbers and Arabs descended from the following:

  • The berbers who lived in the region before the foundation of the city.
  • The berbers who came later from the sous plains, south of the region.

Two Arab tribes namely:[6]

  • Abda: They descend from Banu Hilal and have hugtalled in the region in the twelfth century and spawned : Bhatra and Rabiaa.
  • Ahmar: They descend from Maqil.

Also note that Safi had a large Jewish community that emigrated to France today, Canada or Israel, which at the time represented more than 20% of the population.


Football and rugby are popular sports in Safi. The local football team Olympic Safi have been competing in Morocco's premier football division, Botola, since 2004.
The Rugby Union team of the same name is one of Morocco's best, having won the "Coupe du Trône" several times. There also is a little Tennis Sport Club with a couple of fields (following the high road, beyond the Colline des Poitiers)

The European Cemetery

After the Hospital borrough, keeping the same direction, there is a camp sorrounded by a white wall (unfortunately partially collapsed):if you find he building open(try the left little gate), after the entrance surmounted by the word PAX, a guardian (only speaks Arabic) may let you in. This European Cemetery field of Safi, Morocco appears unfortunately partially abandoned; and some of the marbles have drastically been asported from some of the richest tomb coverings:Russians; Portuguese; Spanish (for example of the Do Carmo family); Italians (for example of the Bormioli family; but even others mainly in the central section including the smallest tombs); French (for example of the Chanel family); German and other people from other European nations are buried inside of the Cemetery. Some tomb "diciturae" appear as missing a/or asported;a general map is missing; most of the fields are left as in an abandoned and uncultivated state; and pay particularly attention to where you put your feet for the dangerous spines; wild dogs may bark back at you when you enter. Part of the former part of the camp is actually cultivated as an "hortus" for vegetable by the keeper. On the left side a tomb of a youngster died only 15 years old in the Sixties. Other mittle mausoleum-kind sepulchres include XIXth century tombs, but in general the most number of them appears of XXth century.

Notable people from Safi

See also

  • People from Safi, Morocco


Corniche souiria leqdima
Bab cheeba2
Safi1 (js)
Vue sur la plage
Tres belle vue
Safi4 (js)
Paysage mer2
Vue sur biada2


  1. ^ a b "POPULATION LÉGALE DES RÉGIONS, PROVINCES, PRÉFECTURES, MUNICIPALITÉS, ARRONDISSEMENTS ET COMMUNES DU ROYAUME D'APRÈS LES RÉSULTATS DU RGPH 2014" (in Arabic and French). High Commission for Planning, Morocco. 8 April 2015. Retrieved 29 September 2017.
  2. ^ Newitt, Malyn (November 5, 2004). A History of Portuguese Overseas Expansion 1400–1668. Routledge. p. 66.
  3. ^ Arabian American Oil Company, Aramco Services Company, Saudi Aramco (1991). Aramco world, Volumes 42-43. Aramco. p. 12.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ "Safi Climate Normals 1961–1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved March 16, 2015.
  5. ^ Vincent J. Cornell, Realm of the Saint: Power and Authority in Moroccan Sufism, p. 326
  6. ^ MENNIS, Allal. "Safi".

External links

Coordinates: 32°17′N 9°14′W / 32.283°N 9.233°W

Abderrazak Hamdallah

Abderrazak "Abdo" Hamdallah (Arabic: عبد الرزاق حمد الله‎; born 17 December 1990) is a Moroccan footballer who plays as a striker for Al-Nassr in the Saudi Professional League. He has also been capped for Morocco. He got his first cap in 2012.

Ahmed Boukhari

Ahmed Boukhari (Arabic: أحمد البوخاري‎; born 1938 in Safi) is a former agent of Cab-1, the political cell of the DST, the Moroccan internal secret service. He claims to have taken part in the operation that masterminded the abduction and liquidation of Mehdi Ben Barka. He is one of the last still living possible witnesses in the Benbarka Affair.

Ait Hammou

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Brahim Boulami

Brahim Boulami (Arabic: ابراهيم بولامي‎) (born April 20, 1972 in Safi) is a Moroccan athlete who set two world records in the 3,000 meter steeplechase, 7:55.28 and 7:53.17. The latter was overturned because he tested positive for the banned performance-enhancing drug EPO. Boulami was banned for two years in 2002 after the positive test. His time of 7:55.28 in the 3000 meter steeplechase from the year before the positive test is currently the fourth fastest ever run.

His older brother Khalid Boulami is an Olympic bronze medalist.

Casablanca–Safi expressway

The Autoroute Casablanca–Safi is an expressway in Morocco.

The road is 255.5 km (158.8 mi) long and connects the cities of Casablanca and Safi through the city of El Jadida.


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Edmond Amran El Maleh

Edmond Amran El Maleh (Arabic: ادمون عمران المالح‎) (30 March 1917 – 15 November 2010) was one of the best known Moroccan writers.


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Joseph Mahmoud

Joseph Mahmoud (born 13 December 1955 in Safi, Morocco) was a French athlete who mainly competed in the 3000 metre steeple chase.

He competed for France at the 1984 Summer Olympics held in Los Angeles, California, where he won the silver medal in the men's 3000 metre steeplechase event. He also competed in the same event at the 1992 Summer Olympics.

Khalid Boulami

Khalid Boulami (Arabic: خالد بولامي‎; born 7 August 1969) is a former long-distance runner from Morocco. Most notably he won a bronze medal in the 5000 metres event at the 1996 Summer Olympics.

He is the older brother of Brahim Boulami.


El Attaouia is a town in El Kelaa des Sraghna Province, [Marrakech-Safi], Morocco. According to the 2014 census it has a population of 30 315.

Michel Galabru

Michel Louis Edmond Galabru (27 October 1922 – 4 January 2016) was a French actor.

Mohamed Benhima

Mohamed Benhima, (Arabic: محمد بنهيمة; June 25, 1924 – November 23, 1992) was born in Safi (Asfi) from Taïbi Benhima and Rkia Benhida, is 5th Prime Minister of Morocco between July 7, 1967 and October 6, 1969. He died on November 23, 1992 in Rabat. He was also Minister of Education and Minister of the Interior.

Olympic Club de Safi

Olympic Club de Safi (Amazigh: ⴰⵙⴳⵔⴰⵡ ⵏ ⵡⵓⵍⴰⵎⴱⵉⴽ ⵏ ⵓⵙⴼⵉ ; Arabic: نادي أولمبيك أسفي‎) is a Moroccan football club based in Safi.

Rashid Ramzi

Rashid Ramzi (Arabic: رشيد رمزي‎) (born July 17, 1980) is a Moroccan-Bahraini track and field athlete competing internationally for Bahrain in the 800 metres and 1500 metres. Ramzi was investigated by the IAAF after the 2008 Summer Games and was stripped of his gold medal for doping.Ramzi was born in Safi, Morocco. After transferring to Bahrain, he ascended to the top of the Asian scene, winning gold medals at the Asian Athletics Championships and the 2002 Asian Games. He set an Asian indoor record over 800 metres to take the silver at the 2004 IAAF World Indoor Championships—his first global medal—and took part in the 2004 Athens Olympics. He reached the peak of his discipline the following year by becoming both the 800 m and 1500 m champion at the 2005 World Championships in Athletics – the first man to ever do such a double at the competition.

He failed to retain his titles at the 2007 World Championships, but still took the silver medal over 1500 m. At the 2008 Summer Olympics he was the recipient of the first ever medal for Bahrain at the Olympics – winning the 1500 m gold medal. However, his result did not stand and he was excluded from the sport for two years after his test came back positive for the banned blood-boosting substance CERA.

Sidi Bou Othmane

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Skhour Rehamna

Skhour Rehamna is a town in Rehamna Province, Marrakesh-Safi, Morocco. According to the 2004 census it has a population of 4,352.

Stade El Massira

The Stade el-Massira is a multi-use stadium in Safi, Morocco. It is currently used mostly for football matches and hosts the home games of Olympique Safi. The stadium holds 15,000 people.

Yunis Abdurrahman Shokuri

Yunis Abdurrahman Shokuri or Shekkouri (Arabic: يونس عبد الرحمن الشقوري‎) is a citizen of Morocco who was held in extrajudicial detention in the Guantanamo Bay detention camps, in Cuba.

The Department of Defense reports his date of birth as April 5, 1968. The Department of Defense reports that he was born in Safi, Morocco.

Shokuri was repatriated to Morocco, in spite of its human rights record, when US State Department officials asserted they had diplomatic assurances that he would not be incarcerated in Morocco, after his return. In fact he was held, without charge, for a further six months. The New York Times reports that, after he was finally free, he denounced the Islamic State and other radical fundamentalist Muslim militants.

Climate data for Safi
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 18.2
Daily mean °C (°F) 13.0
Average low °C (°F) 7.7
Average precipitation mm (inches) 79.2
Average precipitation days 12.4 10.1 9.8 9.5 5.1 1.6 0.4 0.4 1.8 6.5 10.1 12.3 80.0
Mean monthly sunshine hours 205.5 208.5 258.7 277.8 314.4 298.0 325.8 316.5 263.0 243.6 204.1 198.7 3,116.6
Source: NOAA[4]
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