Kasbahs & Ksars

From the desert our tour took us along the Southern Oasises and the Ouarzazate along the" Road of a 1000 Kasbahs".

Kasbahs are fortifications whose high walls are built from dried earth and straw bricks, then smoothed with further clay.  Some are highly decorated, like the Ameridhi Kasbah we visited. 

The architecture of a kasbah we learned is designed to be highly confusing to any attacking enemy. There are doors, which can only be opened from the inside. The wrought iron windows only allow to see outwards but hide the viewer. The steps inside alter in heights to break an invaders rhythm and entrances into rooms are kept so low, that a person has to crouch when entering. Every kasbah has a granary at their highest location. Grains are dried on the roof and inside the granary’s tower all the essentials to outlast a siege are kept.

“Kazars" can often be mistaken for Kasbahs as they also have high earthen walls. Contrary to the kasbah, a kazar is a fortified village with many houses cramped inside it’s walls. A good example is the Ait Benhaddou. In and around this Kazar many movies have been filmed, like Lawrence of Arabia, Indiana Jones and Game of Thrones.

As we climbed up to the of Ait Benhaddou a sand storm blasted across and as we were almost lifted off the ground and sandblasted on exposed areas of skin, we hurriedly made our way back down. 

The tribal carpets some of us had purchased at the nearby Women’s Cooperative were thankfully already packed and loaded onto our bus.

The next day, crossing the highest mountain pass of the Middle Atlas we enjoyed a spectacular view before descending a long way down to Marrakech.

© Austin Robinson 2019