roses + irrigation in the palmerie

May 29, 2011

El-Kelaa M’Gouna is where the traveller goes to see roses in Morocco. Not to look at and enjoy different species or varieties but just to immerse in the heady perfume of a single  species – Rosa damascena –  supposedly brought here by pilgrims in the 10 C returning from Mecca. The roses form hedges all through the palmeries and the oases around Ouarzazate and to the Dades gorge in the east. Rose water is the main industry here along with tourism.

The food production in these lush well irrigated areas  is handled mostly by the woman. They have a simple fairly small curved knife with a serrated blade as a main tool for all weeding, pruning, chopping and cutting down. The men get to use the large hoe! Almonds, walnuts, pomegranates, olives, oranges, grapefruit and lots of figs are at various stages of growth and ripening but the main crop is wheat.

Wheat and dates – staple produce – if my berber had been better or at least existent at all I could have enquired on the follow on crop to the harvested wheat! Next time maybe!

Kasbahs and ksars, many still inhabited, are spectacular architectural elements within the natural landscape of dramatic rock formations. The images below were taken from the main terrace of Kasbah Itran.

Itran is an old fortress constructed on a precipitace slope above the valley. The family have created a modest, but appealing, auberge with individual terraces, furnished with carpets and tented shelters, jutting out from the rock face. Not for sufferers of vertigo!

Each man’s destiny is personal only in so far as it may happen to resemble what is already in the memory. Eduardo Mallea

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