“Ouarzazate has one main street, about fifty yards long, and two thousand people, of whom two hundred are French. The temperature can reach 110 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. ” So says world-renowned journalist John Gunther in 1952, of his visit to Ouarzazate, during the reign of the Pasha Glaoui, whose honored guest he was.
Tag: Atlas Mountains Morocco
For anyone interested in touring Morocco’s kasbahs or ksars, I highly recommend starting with Kasbah Taourirt, the Pasha Glaoui’s former palace in Ouarzazate. Kasbah Taorirt was built by the Pasha Glaoui. Its location was strategic for trading routes and in the 1930’s when the Glaoui ruled the South was then considered one of Morocco’s largest Kasbahs. Kasbah Taourirt was one of the places Glaoui kept his slaves. As a Moroccan traveler you can explore its nooks and crannies to discover its history and often local female painters who sell their art inside as well as the many quality silver shops just steps outside the Kasbah.
Pasha T’hami Glaoui was the most powerful man in Morocco between 1953 and 1956, in addition to being one of the richest men in the world at that time. The title Pasha means Governor. Glaoui was the Pasha of Marrakesh (since 1912), Ouarzazate, and most of the Moroccan south during the time Morocco was under French rule. The most important Kasbahs’ in Morocco that were occupied by the Pacha Glaoui during his reign and are frequented by Moroccan travelers today are Kasbah Taouirt, located in the center of Ouarzazate, Ait Benhaddou, located 15 kilometers outside Ouarzazate and Kasbah Telouet which sits in the village of Telouet nestled outside the Onilla Valley.
Moroccan terjla (the Moroccan Arabic name) is frequently prepared as a side dish, and can be served either hot or cold. Terjla, a succulent plant, known as purslane in English and verdolaga in Spanish, is not only one of the most delicious Moroccan plants, but it is simple to prepare. Being a dark green plant, it is loaded with iron, vitamins, and minerals. It also has a mild lemony flavor. When traveling to Morocco make sure to ask your Moroccan Travel Agency to recommend restaurants or local places where you can taste Moroccan terjla in a traditional restaurant.
A Zagora 4×4 Sahara Desert Tour of Amezrou Silversmiths and the Ancient Jewish Mellah offers a unique flavor of the Sahara. Places to visit include the Dunes of Tinfo, the Amezrou Silver makers workshops, the Tamagroute Pottery Cooperative, the old Spiritual Zaouia site, the Koranic Library and an adventure into the M’hamid Dunes of Sahara Desert. Zagora is a town that is nestled within the Draa Valley river in Souss-Massa-Draâ, southeastern Morocco. Zagora is surrounded by the mountain Zagora and is how this Saharan town got its name. Zagora was originally called ‘Tazagourt’ the singular of plural ‘Tizigirt’, Berber for ‘twin peaks’, referring to the form of the mountain. In old European maps the mountain Zagora is can be found however the town itself was only built in the 20th century.
The weather is very cold, almost frigid at times and the sun shines back lit against Morocco’s Atlas Mountains, which are covered by snow. Each peak tells a different story of a Nomad family who once climbed across it, stretching their journey from top to bottom, baking bread by fire, making tea at sunrise and sleeping under the stars in a bivouac, wool tent. These stories are forever, unchanged for centuries as is the way of life lived by the Nomads in Bouthgrar. They share their culture with guests who visit and those of us who live nearby, quietly inviting all into their caves, graciously serving up mint tea in their spotless shining glasses; made in china…. as we, westerners look across the vast landscape and wonder how and why.