2017-12 Marocco - hlavooij
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Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou‌, Ouarzazate

Located in the foothills of the southern slopes of the High Atlas in the province of Ouarzazate, the site of Ait-Ben-Haddou is the most famous ksar of the valley of Ounila. The Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou is a striking example of southern Moroccan architecture. Ksar is a mainly collective group of housing. Inside the defensive walls reinforced by corner towers and pierced by a chicane door, the houses gather – some modest, others resembling small urban castles with their tall towers and their upper parts adorned with clay brick patterns – but community areas. It is an extraordinary set of buildings offering a complete panorama of construction techniques in pre-Saharan land. The oldest buildings do not seem to be prior to the 17th century, although their structure and technique spread very early in the valleys of southern Morocco. The site was also one of the many trading posts on the trade route linking the former Sudan to Marrakech by the Dra Valley and the Tizi-n’Telouet pass. Architecturally, living quarters form a compact, closed and suspended group. The community areas of Ksar include a mosque, a public square, ceremonial threshing grounds outside the walls, a fortification and an attic at the top of the village, a caravanserai, two cemeteries (Muslim and Jewish) and the shrine of the Saint Sidi Ali or Amer. The Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou is a perfect synthesis of the earthen architecture of the pre-Saharan regions of Morocco.