Top 5 reasons why you should visit Ksar Aït-Ben-Haddou in Morocco
Aït Benhaddou is an ighrem along the former caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakech in present-day Morocco. Most citizens attracted by the tourist trade live in more modern dwellings in a village on the other side of the river, although there are four families still living in the ancient village.
1. The history of Aït Ben Haddou
Aït Ben Haddou is a ksar in Morocco. Its history goes back to the time of the supremacy of the Aït Aissa clan. The army of Youssouf Ibn Tachfin, Berber king of the Almoravid dynasty, coming from the Sahara to go to Marrakech, invests the region and appoints the clan Aït-ben-Haddou. This region then became a strategic place and a compulsory passage for caravans using the Tizi Telouet and Tizi Tichka passes. The clan of Aït Aissa then kept an influence on the ksar. In 1956, the population preferred to settle on the right bank of the Melah wadi, thus deserting the abandoned ksar. Fortunately thanks to tourism and cinema, Aït ben Haddou resuscitated.
2. The environment of Aït Ben Haddou
The ksar of Aït Ben Haddou, attached to the side of a hill, enjoys a remarkable panorama. At the top of the hill, a dilapidated dungeon overlooks the stack of terraces bristling with crenellated towers. It enjoys a breathtaking view of the ksar, the cultures bordering the Mellah wadi and the Atlas snows that radiate in the distance for much of the year. Two gates open access to the ksar. One, located on the right, by an alley lined with souvenir shops, and the other crossing the bank of the wadi. The public spaces of the ksar consist among others of a mosque, two cemeteries (Muslim and Jewish), the sanctuary of Saint Sidi Ali or Amer, etc.
3. Housing in Aït Ben Haddou
Emerging from an ocher earth from which it derived its substance, Aït Ben Haddou is one of the most popular sites in the Ounila Valley. At the foot of the hill on which it rests, Aït-Ben Haddou strikes with its original architecture and typical of traditional southern Morocco. The site stands like a group of earthen buildings surrounded by walls. Inside these walls there are many houses. While some appear to be small castles with their tall towers decorated with raw brick patterns, others are in contrast to modest dwellings.
4. Architectural authenticity preserved
The ksar of Aït Ben Haddou has preserved its architectural authenticity both in terms of forms and materials. Indeed, the architectural style is well preserved and earthen constructions adapt perfectly to climatic conditions and harmonize with the natural and social environment. The large residences at the bottom of the village, whose decorative motifs are preserved, are well maintained. The materials used for construction remain earth and wood. Thanks to the continuous monitoring of the infringement control committee, attempts to introduce cement have so far failed, allowing the ksar of Aï Ben Haddou to retain its originality and authenticity.
5. Live a great adventure
Time does not change all habits. When certain places evoke a strong past, interspersed with originality, one can only enjoy it. Even today, a few families still live in the maze of small, sloping alleys and covered passages of the old ksar. An adventure is not just about going to a distant and unknown place. The adventure also finds its meaning in the integration of the mores of a civilization.