Take me to your kasbah*

A kasbah is a citadel, a fortified building where people would live under the protection of the head of their tribe.  In the way of architecture here, kasbahs do not reveal from the outside the beauties they hold within.  They vary in size but are almost always made of dried mud bricks, with few, high windows and are often located on a hilltop for better defense.  Some have survived for centuries, some are only 100 years old, but inside they all feature the gorgeous elements we’ve seen so far:  tile, carved wood, and stucco.

Our first kasbah was Kasbah Glouai in Telouet, the small village where we had lunch and looked at rugs.  We walked along the dirt roads, past some napping sheep,in the villageand on to our first sight of the kasbah.the kasbah Glaoui, TelouetIt was built by the so-called Lords of the Atlas, the Glaoui family, as ruthless and greedy as they were rich, in the nineteenth century.  Since independence in 1956, the kasbah has been crumbling to bits, though there is some indication that a restoration effort has been made in the not too distant past.

From this imposing but crumbling exterior, we walked inside to find the beautiful patterns we’ve seen everywhere in Morocco.  This enchanting window highlights the tile and metalwork as well as the view of the green valley below.DSC02585But there’s more!DSC02592 ceiling carved and painted wood insideRemember, from the outside it’s a crumbling near-ruin, but somehow all of this has been preserved.

We walked up to the roof, Susan on the roof of the kasbah

from where we looked down on older parts of the kasbah that are still in use for farm animalsolder sections

and for drying laundry.laundry drying

It was an odd place, such skill and beauty in the midst of crumbling adobe.village wildlife

*This memorable phrase comes from a Hedy Lamarr film from 1937, set in Algeria and filmed entirely in Hollywood.

One response to “Take me to your kasbah*

  1. Great photos! You’re right – what you see on the outside is nothing at all the like beauty on the inside.

    Thanks for the link to my blog. I’m glad to have found your blog, and will be poking around on here from time to time.

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