This thriving industrial port harkens back to the time of the Phoenicians and Romans. Over the centuries, it has been a crossroads of trade — slaves, gold, and ivory in the 11th century; sugar and copper in the 16th century when the Portuguese settled here. British, Danish, Dutch, and French merchants all left their formidable marks as well. Encouraged by its proximity to Marrakech, Safi continued to elaborately expand its maritime commerce — and today its huge factories ship goods, especially phosphates, globally. Meanwhile, smaller artisans do a brisk trade with cruise passengers who disembark here en route to the desert treasures of Marrakech or the beachfront bliss of Essaouira.