Top Kasbahs in Morocco, best Ksars and Glaoui fortresses to visit:
Morocco has plenty of special monuments tourists can visit. Kasbahs are the most visited and most interesting in the country. Here, Touring In Morocco gives you a list of the top Kasbahs in Morocco to visit.
Morocco was tribal in the past. In other words, many important families met different other ones and created tribes. The leaders had to be protected. Therefore, every family or tribe took care of building a fortress or a Kasbah. That is to say, Kasbahs are fortresses built to protect the tribe’s leaders from enemies.
There is another story saying the name refers to Ksab, which is the material used to design rooftops.
Note: if you are traveling to Morocco, we are a travel agency and we can guide you through these Kasbahs.
1. Ait Ben Haddou:
The palace Ait Ben Haddou is the best and most visited Kasbah in Morocco, it is located at the high Atlas mountains left side of the road across Telouet Valley. Ait Ben Haddou is also named the Ksar of Glaoua referring to the Thami El Glaoui and his tribe. In addition to that, it is a group of earthen mud buildings surrounded by high walls. Its founder was an important member of Ait Ben Haddou’s tribe; Ben Haddou. Nowadays, tourists consider visiting him behind the fortified village.
The tribe used a very special technic to build this Moroccan architectonic Kasbah, they mixed mud and wheat grain. That makes it look very simple and strong against climate fluctuations.
At the present time, it is a Unesco world heritage site and that was in 1987, this fortress has a very high value considering it the most visited.
When talking about Ait Ben Haddou’s tribe, there were over 500 people from different religions and families. For religious purposes, there is a mosque right behind this fortress.
Archeologists say that it appears to be older than the 17th century by the construction of walls. Although many say it was built in the 18th century.
The Kasbah is also surrounded by agricultural lands, which the citizens do for a living. What is interesting about Kasbah’s Urban planning is directing water outside to the agricultural lands when it trains.
Book a day trip to Ait Benhaddou from Marrakech
What to see in Ait Ben Haddou’s Moroccan Kasbah:
Ait Ben Haddou is available through the road p31. It has many things to see. Thus, our tours with local guides can offer you a visit to the place.
To get to the top and discover it, you need to use the bridge and the stairs which offer a beautiful view of the valley and agricultural lands.
On the way, you will meet the admirable artisans, who use Indigo and green or black tea to paint the Kasbah. At final, they burn the paper and get the amazing mud colors. Also, in their shops, you will find several photos of movies shot in Ait Ben Haddou, like The Gladiator.
Movies shot in Ait Ben Haddou :
Considering Ait Ben Haddou a place where a lot of movies and tv series were shot, this is a list of the important and well-known ones :
- Lawrence of Arabia 1962
- The Mummy 1999
- Alexander 2004
Contact us and discover more about Ait Ben Haddou.
2. The impressive Moroccan Kasbah of Telouet:
Telouet Kasbah is situated in the small Berber village of Telouet. Built by the most occupant in the Glaoua tribe, Thami El Glaoui between the 18th and 19th centuries. Also, they call it at the present time, the palace of Glaoua. For the palace’s occupants, trading was the most famous activity.
Through road p31, you will find huge mines of salt. That is to say, Telouet’s important occupants used to sell salt for caravans coming from the Sahara desert to trade in Marrakech and Europe.
The current Telouet’s Kasbah including the nearby ones was built exactly in 1860. The famous one is the palace which needed above 300 workers to build its walls using mud and rooftops using Bamboo. For the ground, it is professionally built using soft zellige and mud.
Thami El Glaoui was very popular during his era. All the support was given by him to the French administration. Furthermore, he got also help to take over many lands and important Moroccan Kasbahs. That is before he died in Marrakech in 1953. Since then, the gorgeous Telouet’s Kasbah in Morocco was neglected.
3. Kasbah Amrhidil in Skoura, Morocco:
Amrhidil Kasbah is the most famous architectonic Kasbah in Telouet’s village in Morocco. It is more than 30 kilometers from the city of Ouarzazate. It lies between more than 30 other beautiful Kasbah within the palm grooves. Thanks to the Nassiri family for taking care of its structure which raised its value. To get there, you need to take the road of a thousand Kasbah that starts from Ouarzazate to the south.
Amrhidil Kasbah is built in the late 1950s by Mohamed Nassiri, a very important occupant of Nassiri’s family.
At the present time, it is transformed into a museum, where you can find tools used for building using mud and Bamboo. Also, inside you can find very old coins, Berber traditional customs, and things owned by the family of the tribe of Nassiri.
After the saddest death of Mohamed Nassiri, all of the occupants left the Kasbah in conditions. Redouane Nassiri came with a passion for rebuilding and restoring the rooftops. Even more, he brought workers to maintain the destroyed mud walls because of rain and climate fluctuations.
What makes it very special and a must-visit Kasbah in Morocco by tourists is that there are several movies shot there. For instance, Alibaba or Lawrence of Arabia.
How to get there :
From Marrakech, you can visit Nassiri’s Kasbah on the road p31. Also, if you are spending the night in Ouarzazate either by tours from Marrakech or your transportation. You can go through the road of a thousand Kasbahs for more than 30 kilometers to Skoura.
Additionally, if you are in the south, you can book a tour with Touring In Morocco and ahead to visit Skoura and the Kasbah of Amrhidil.
4. Taourirt, one of the best Kasbahs in Morocco, Ouarzazate:
Taourirt is one of the best and most valued raized Kasbahs in Ouarzazate after the movies shot at the Atlas Studios. During French colonialism, Thami El Glaoui was given all the support from the French, in order to take over the wealth of the south’s tribes.
The Kasbah of Taourirt was built in the 19th century and got a very high value during the 1930s. The power of the Glaoui raized. In other words, they had the ability to get workers to build other surrounding small Ksars and occupants’ houses.
It has around 300 rooms and people consider it the only maze in Ouarzazate where you can enjoy walking around.
At the present time, the beautiful Moroccan Kasbah of Taourirt is semi-ruined. But, there are still several members of bedouins living in a small part. Most of them are guides willing to guide you through the parts of Taourirt. From the old traditional kitchen, living room, and more.
Therefore, if you are visiting the area alone, ask to see more parts. Also, if you are looking for a one-day trip from Marrakech to Taourirt and Atlas studios, don’t hesitate to book a tour with us.
5. The example of surviving Kasbahs in Morocco, Tifoultoute:
Like the Ksar of Ait Ben Haddou, Tifoultoute is a traditional Berber village near Ouarzazate. Further, it is located eight kilometers west of the city. In the municipality of Tarmigte, the village of Tifoultoute is known for the beauty of its Kasbah.
It was one of the Glaoua’s palaces, Thami El Glaoui, the Pacha of Marrakech.
Despite the decay of the village, the place remains stunning and majestic. It has also served as the setting for very famous films such as Lawrence Of Arabia by David Lean or Jesus of Nazareth by Franco Zeffirelli. To visit the Kasbah of Tifoultoute, it is imperative to be transported since it is necessary to take the National Road No 9 in the direction of Marrakech. Nowadays, it is transformed into an Auberge which is like a small hotel with a very beautiful panoramic view of Ouarzazate and surrounding mountains. Furthermore, they offer very good prices for the ones who are willing to stay and discover other Kasbahs in the area. As a final point, Tifoultoute Kasbah is also neglected which hid its old appearance and the design of old Kasbahs in Morocco.
6. Udayas Kasbah in Morocco’s capital:
The Kasbah of the Oudayas is located on the heights of the southern shore of the Rabat estuary. This building is unique in its kind with its blue, designed, and white walls. Its name refers to the tribe of the Udayas who had the mission to monitor the city. Moreover, the construction of this fortress began in the twelfth century by the Almohad sultans Abd-El-Moumen and Yacoub El-Mansour. Walk along the magnificent ramparts of the kasbah to the gate of the Udayas.
Used today as a small showroom, Jemaa Street crosses the entire Kasbah and will allow you to discover the oldest mosque in Rabat dating from the twelfth century. Even more, enjoy a breathtaking view of the sea from the platform of the semaphore. At the entrance to the platform, there is an interesting carpet cooperative to visit. It is a realization workshop where you can observe the work of craftsmen. Udayas tribe was very popular during its era, the Udayas Moroccan Ksar is a live example of surviving Kasbahs in Morocco. You can visit it with a local Moroccan travel guide with our tours from Casablanca.
7. The colorful Kasbah Mesueum in Chaouen, Morocco:
Chefchaouen or Chaouen is most of the time visited to discover its colorful monuments and historical attractions. Among the Kasbahs in Morocco that attract tourists, there is the Kasbah Museum in Chaouen. It is located at the heart of the city center. There, you will have the chance to take a look at the old collections of objects found in Chaouen’s region. In addition to that, you can ascertain the old weapons, tagine pots, and other decorative things of the Kasbah’s past occupants.
The entrance fee for a person is 9 Dirhams which equals 0.9 Euros and there are specific days for visiting this special monument.
8. Tamdakht Kasbah near Ourzazate, Morocco:
Far from the crowds of Ait Ben Haddou, the village of Tamdakhte offers a real dive into the heart of Amazigh culture and tradition. Go out to meet the villagers, stroll through the gardens, and take part in the festivities. Also, not forgetting to go to the Tafarnout (traditional oven where the bread of the same name is baked). Furthermore, the village of Tamdakhte is located in the Ounila Valley ( at the High Atlas), between Telouet and Ouarzazate, the starting point of the thousand kasbah’s route.
The Kasbah of Tamdakhte is a centuries-old architectural gem, which unfortunately falls into ruin. The story tells that it was originally the residence of an Amazigh leader, the Amghar Ali, or Brahim N’aït Haddou opposed to Glaoui. When he was defeated and executed in 1900, his home passed into the hands of the Glaoui. Moreover, It was enlarged by caïd Hamou around 1920 and caïd Brahim added annexes around 1940.
After independence, the kasbah served as a prison for the Oufkir family after Oufkir’s 1972 coup attempt. The leader of the Army and Minister of Defense of Hassan II. On this occasion, the kasbah was amended to prohibit contact with the outside.
Kasbah usually refers to as a square-plan building, built of raw earth. This type of habitat is of Amazigh origin and in this language, it is called Tighremt. The word kasbah is recent.
The construction of the kasbahs in Morocco obeys several architectural rules. The walls are made of clay (a mixture of earth and straw according to an ancient process that isolates from heat and cold). In addition, the center of the dwelling consists of a patio, which provides light to the entire construction.
As for the exterior ornamentation of the towers and the top of the walls. It is made by Adobe. Also, clay raw earth brick, makes it possible to execute hollow and relief patterns that openwork the High parts. Not to mention, the roofs are made with spaced beams, covered with tight reeds, which are covered with clay soil.
FAQ about Kasbahs in Morocco:
Below, we have answered some questions about Kasbahs in Morocco, for further questions contact Touring In Morocco team.
The Kasbah represents the old structure and style of building. In a city like Rabat, there are several Kasbahs that reflect the life of the tribes that were living in the capital. Also, the way they used to protect their important occupants. Therefore, a Kasbah has a relation of combination with a Medina.
Ait Ben Haddou or the Fortress of Glaoua was listed as a Unesco world heritage site since 1987. For more information about Ait Ben Haddou’s Kasbah in Morocco, read this article.
A Kasbah in English means a fortress. As Morocco was tribal, every tribe had to build its own Kasbah, most are owned and built by the Glaoua. In addition, a lot of tribes built Kasbahs to protect their leaders of important occupants.
Tamadot’s Kasbah was owned by Sir Richard Branson and he bought it in 1998. Since then, he took care of rebuilding and making it an amazing palace.
Many film producers considered Kasbahs in Morocco a place to give some shots for their movies. The Gladiator was given shots in the famous Kasbah of Ait Ben Haddou in Ouarzazate, Morocco.
The Kasbah Tamadot is about 55,1 km. With public transportation, you can drive for around 1 hour to get there.