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The Kasbah of El Glaoui in Tinghir

Kasbah of El Glaoui in Tinghir in 1919.
The Kasbah of El Glaoui in 1919

Perched on the hill Ighir n’Mehalt, near Ksar Tasga and not far from Ksar Tinghir or Tineghir, the Kasbah of El Glaoui monitors the city and the palm-grove of Todra and is a symbol of a quite recent time.

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Kasbah of El Glaoui in Tinghir in 1950.
The Kasbah in 1950

Kasbah of El Glaoui in Tinghir.
The old Kasbah, today

Kasbah of El Glaoui in Tineghir.
The new Kasbah, today

Kasbah of El Glaoui in Tinerhir.
Detail of the old Kasbah

Kasbah of El Glaoui in Tinerhir.
The new Kasbah, see from the road

Known by the inhabitants of Tinghir as Taglaouit, the Kasbah of El Glaoui covers an area of seven thousand square meters and consists of two main buildings. The first, called The Old Kasbah, was built in January 1919 after the submission of a large number of Ksour of Aït Todra to the army of Thami El Glaoui. The site chosen was the hill Ighir n’Mehalt, where the Sultan’s army used to camp each time it arrived to the region.

For the works were engaged by force most of the men of subjected Ksour. This allowed to progress quickly.

Once completed this building (in the photo at the top of the page), Thami El Glaoui left to Ouarzazate with his men, leaving a Khalifa or representative and a small garrison. One year later, the area was attacked by the Ait Atta from Tafilalet and the Aït Merghad from Ferkla under the command of Ba Ali. The Harka of El Glaoui was obliged to return. He spent several months there and at his departure he left a new Khalifa very forceful, Said Ou Laid Ou Tifnout, who endured for seven years.

But in 1927 a new rebellion broke out among the Ait Atta from lower Todra. The Kasbah was besieged for a long time. This rebellion was not crushed until the arrival of the French army in 1930. Then a second building called The New Kasbah was erected a little lower. At the same time, a French barracks occupied the opposite place on the hill.

Whether the Old Kasbah had a very austere military plane because it was dedicated to the defense, the New Kasbah had a beautiful patio surrounded by pillars and arches, and lounges had walls and ceilings covered by carved plaster. Adapted to the unevenness of the ground, it is larger at the first floor that at the ground floor. The four classic towers do not exist at the corners, but only on the terrace and a fifth tower in the middle of the south wall allowed the creation of a play space within, like in urban palaces, where to place the musicians.

Besides the two large residential buildings, the set surrounded by a wall included also many further outbuildings, such as a guard, two large open spaces for military exercises or for celebrations, housing for guests, stables, kitchens and barns. A deep well provided water for all needs.

The Kasbah was used until the independence of Morocco in 1956. Then, with the death of Thami El Glaoui and the fall from the power of his family, it was abandoned as others thirty ones that were distributed around all southern Morocco. It suffered the vengeance of those who had been repressed and exploited by its master, and of those who had been forced to work without pay to build it. All reusable materials, such as beams, doors and windows, were removed and the fire consummated some parts of the building.

Four decades later, the set was bought by the investor Mohamed Choukrani with the idea of turning it into a tourist project, but this purchase was contested by some of the inhabitants of Tinghir and, until now, no steps were given for its restoration. The Glaoui’s Kasbah is, therefore, in an advanced state of ruin.

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La ruta de las mil casbas. Biografí,a de Roger Mimó, What is a Kasbah? To stay in a Kasbah. Comprarse una kasba.
Libros de Roger Mimó,. Circuitos. Montañ,as de Marruecos. Inventaire des kasbahs El viaje de Alí, Bey.

To contact the author: E-mail of Roger Mimó.

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