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Top 10 Places Not to Miss > Kasbah Taourirt, Ouarzazate
Travel To Kasbah Taourirt in Ouarzazate, Morocco
Nearby Ouarzazate, a small town at the crossroads of the Drâa
and Ziz valleys, stands Kasbah Taourirt. Kasbah Taourirt is one of the most impressive of its kind in Morocco
Visit the Kasbah Taourirt on a Morocco Private Tour.
The town of Ouarzazate was made famous when the Hollywood film, Lawrence of Arabia,
was filmed nearby at the ancient Berber village of Aït Benhaddou
. This helped raise awareness for Kasbah Taourirt, a magnificent structure, built by the Glaoui. At one point in the 1930’s, Kasbah Taourirt was considered the largest Kasbah in Morocco and today is classified as a historical monument giving tribute to the Glaoui.
Set among a background of stunning mountain scenery and the Sahara Desert
, the Kasbah Taourirt is one of the most beautiful Kasbahs in Morocco. In past, it was a strategic location controlled by the Glaoui for the Saharan Caravan Route to West Africa. While Taourirt acted as the main Glaoui residence, it did not house the main Glaoui chiefs. Instead, it housed the second tier of command, such as the dynasty’s sons, servants, cousins, builders and craftsmen.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, the Glaoui, or the pasha of Marrakesh
, were the lords of the south and had access to the High Atlas. They were given complete power by the French during colonial rule to keep the Southern tribes peaceful and non-threatening.
The Kasbahs inside Taourirt are best described as a cobweb village of sun-kissed buildings elaborated with multi-level towers and turrets rising out of closely packed ksours (one family Kasbahs), ramparts with geometrical drawings and a series of alleys and gateways. There are more than twenty riads, old Moroccan mansions that make up Taourirt.
Inside the Kasbahs themselves, you will be exposed to a myriad of mysterious stairwells leading intoa series of uniquely shaped and sized rooms lit up by low windows. The larger rooms have plaster work decoration featuring floral patterns and are contrasted against white walls.The palace has close to three hundred rooms.It is also possible to visit old Glaoui apartment rooms such as the former reception rooms, harem room and palace kitchens. The apartments are distinguished by well-preserved painted stucco and wooden cedar ceilings.
Its tightly packed houses and stately towers, made of a mixture of chalk and sand, melt almost imperceptibly into the surrounding red and ochre-colored landscape. Like cubes of clay, the dwellings hide away from the unrelenting sun-a narrow doorway being the only connection with the outside world. Light and air come in through the central courtyard.
As many of the parts of the Kasbah have fallen into decline, what you will be shown are the UNESCO restored parts by the main road, which account for the quarters of family, extended relatives. You can also see courtyards and reception rooms. However, if you crave a little more insight into Taourirt, ask your guide or head to the rear side of Taourirt which is inhabited by local families. For twenty dirham’s, the locals are always willing to show interested tourists around.
If your exploration of Taourirt takes you into the evening, it is recommended that you have a drink and watch the sunset from the cafe terrace (next to the studios of stone, copper and silver located to the right of the Kasbah). From the terrace you can catch a remarkable view of the Saharan sun illuminating the Berber fortified village of Taourirt.