ait ben haddou

Then we went to Ait Ben Haddou, the oldest ksar (fortified village) in the world. It was constructed in the 11th centry – and still remains a great example of South Moroccan architecture. There were seven Berber families living in the ksar. Thankfully, UNESCO recognized the need for someone to renovate and protect the ksar, and they’re helping the families move back in (actually because of our Nancéens Jacques Majorelle’s paintings!).

UNESCO also set up a water irrigation system – before the families used to have to travel 12 kilmoeters by donkey to get water. They also started renovating some of the infrastructure. The houses are made by lime, clay, and straw; this keeps them cool in the summer and warm in the winter. We saw a man making bricks the same way, and letting them lay out to dry in the hot sun.

We then got to visit a berber families’ house. Berbers are the native people to Morocco – before the Arabs invaded. Mostly in the region where we were, we met nomadic berbers. This family was fully equipped – t.v., stove, lots of kettles for tea. We also saw their animals; yet another up-close encounter with a cow.

We learned that lots of movies were filmed here; like Gladiator, and Lawrence of Arabia, Indiana Jones, Babel, and Cleopatra. I wonder how that effects village life for the berbers?

This was one of my favorite excursions in Morocco; it was definitely a site like I’d never seen before. What are some of your favorite visits?

9 thoughts on “ait ben haddou

  1. ooo! love unesco sites – always floored by the things i see when it’s got that unesco stamp. thanks for the little trip in morocco :)!

  2. Loved this! Well, I’ve always had this little something for simple functional architecture that just melts into the landscape… and that’s very arabic :)

  3. This is amazing! And your photos are such awesome documentation.
    I’ve wanted to go to Morrocco for the longest time! It’s so nice reading about it! :o)

  4. I had no idea that UNESCO also helped to renovate the places it puts on the list.

    Are you having a wonderful time in Morocco?

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