ksar and kasbahs

June 13, 2011

Within the settlement of Tamdaght, there are 4 visible kasbahs, 2 are hotels and one is currently being re furbed into an extremely ‘special and luxurious’ resting place. The central kasbah, see above, is in a state of disrepair but rather beautiful nonetheless. The Asif Ounila flows through the valley irrigating the oasis that provides almonds, walnuts, wheat, dates, pomegranates and other fruit and vegetables for the inhabitants.

From Kasbah Ellouze, the exterior courtyards of the pisé houses are on view, in one goats munching away on lucerne brought in from the fields  . . . and one goat is intent on escaping . . .

. . . and hosts of sparrows make flight paths from the trees in the oasis to the decoration in the pisé.

Äit- Benhaddou,  is close by. It’s famous as a setting seen in many films and has received attentive reconstruction . . .

The Asif Mellah separates the ksar from the new town built up along the road to Ouarzazate . . . there’s bridge but most visitors and inhabitants use the stepping stone access. Once across, the walls are seen to perfectly enclose the more decorative buildings within . . .

. . Abhawi ll m’Baik asked me to take her photograph within her courtyard. Some families still live within the ksar and want to show their homes to visitors – it’s an obligation but an interesting one!

From the summit . . .

Much further to the east past the Jbel Sarhro and Jbel Ougnaf, is the Ksar of Oulad Abdelhalim. Very fragile in structure but receiving some repair especially to the exterior walls. The decorative finish must have looked stunning when the ksar was completed and first inhabited 100 years ago . . .

The ‘guardian’ had many old artifacts in his living quarters that were the most grand of the rooms on show . . .

. . . painted ceilings and wall panels – all quite fine.

Exposed beams look desperate – a shame – and the garden could be brought back to the delightful haven it once was – the fragmented structure and pathways are still evident. For two pins I’d have rolled up my sleeves are re planted but then the charm is often in the decrepitude!

Our images withdraw, the rose returns
To what it was before we looked at it.
We lift our looks from where the water runs
And its pure river once again, we write
No emblems in the trees. A way begins
Of living where we have no need to beat
The petals down to get the scent of rose
Or sign our features where the water goes.

All is itself. Each man himself entire,
Not even plucking out his thought, not even
Bringing a tutored wilfulness to bear
Upon the rose, the water. Each has given
Essense of water back to itself, essence of flower,
Till he is yoked to his own heart and driven
Inward to find a private kind of peace
And not a mind reflecting his own face.

Yet must go deeper still, must move to love
Where thought is free to let the water ride,
Is liberal to therose giving it life
And setting even its own shadow aside;
Till flower and water blend with freedom of
Passion that does not close them in and hide
Their deepest natures; but the heart is strong
To beat with rose and river in one song. Elizabeth Jennings  Beyond Possession

9 Responses to “ksar and kasbahs”


  1. These pictures are beautiful!

  2. julia fogg Says:

    Thank you – easy to photograph beauty!!

  3. ashleypaige4 Says:

    Wow, these photos are fantastic! What an amazing trip! I loved the pictures of the doors, the woman in the court yard and the amazing geometric Islamic art! I love great photos that make you want to travel- which is exactly what these have done!

  4. julia fogg Says:

    Yes, you have to visit if you haven’t already – it’s my favourite part of the world after Chile!


  5. What evocative photographs of an absolutely astonishing place. I’m speechless (or rather, wordless) which is not a familiar condition for me. And eager too, to see it for myself. I’m such a stay-at-home these days, but your images have really nudged my wanderlust out of mothballs!

  6. julia fogg Says:

    Hello Clive, If you can cope with heat, dust and flies (that bite), then you’ll enjoy it. Although early summer is a good season, I think October is my preferred time to visit and it’ll be Sidi Ifni for the next trip with a 4 x 4!


    • Akkkkk! The flies would do for me. I came back from Venice just as the mosquito season was about to start, looking like I had a terminal skin disease! I swell up, slough layers and then suppurate. If i can avoid it I never go anywhere there’s a chance of being bitten. Even the Ystwyth Valley is not safe, but here at least i know how to avoid the worst situations.

      So, I must be content with your photographs. (Sigh!)

  7. Cloudier Says:

    What a wonderful portrait of the lady and (her?) goat

  8. flowerpoet Says:

    Thanks Julia! I always feel like I’m on a holiday reading your posts. Much appreciated!! Shelley


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