||This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the French Wikipedia. (March 2009)|
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Saïdia, known as the "Blue Pearl", is a beach in Berkane. It is located in the province Berkane, near the Mediterranean Sea and at the Moroccan-Algierian border. Its 14 km coastline is one of the longest beaches of Morocco and is characterized by its golden sand and Mediterranean climate, making it a popular international tourist destination. It hosts numerous resorts and attractions, including private beach resorts, shopping malls, golf courses, and other sports centers.
Saïdia's marina covers an area of 290,000 square meters, with 740 berths and modern marina facilities. (Berthing fees begin at €375 per year.) Tourists are attracted by its traditional folk music festival every August. It is surrounded by a natural bird preserve of marsh and woodland. Access to the main beach is through a eucalyptus forest.
Saïdia is a city and resort area in Berkane. Saïdia's weather is mild virtually all year round, with average summer temperatures of 35°C and winter temperatures as high as 22°C. The months between October and April are cooler while providing welcome winter sun.
The nucleus of Saïdia dates from 1883 and was the work of Sultan Hassan I, who built a 15,600-square-meter casbah (fortress) on the left bank of the mouth of the river Kiss. Its purpose was to monitor and regulate the movement of people to and from Algeria, which was then under French sovereignty. After Morocco became a French protectorate in 1913, Saïdia proved popular with French settlers and became a resort. After Moroccan independence, Saïdia continued to attract visitors and has become one of the country's most popular tourist attractions.