Southern Oasis: Kasbah

Kasbah Ait ben Haddou



April 26, 2013

Aït Benhaddou is a fortified city along the former caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakech. It is situated in Souss-Massa-Draaon on a hill along the Ounila River and is known for its Kasbahs, although they take damage with each rainstorm.

Most of the town's inhabitants now live in a more modern village at the other side of the river; however, eight families still live within the ksar.

Aït Benhaddou has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987.  Several films have been shot there, including:


Sodom And Gomorrah (1963)


Jesus of Nazareth (1977)


Marco Polo (1982)


The Jewel of the Nile (1985)


The Sheltering Sky (1990)


Kundun (1997)


The Mummy (1999)


Gladiator (2000)


Alexander (2004)


Kingdom of Heaven (2005)


Prince of Persia (2010)


With a little help from Wikipedia:

A Kasbah or Qasbah or qassabah is a type of medina, Islamic city, or fortress (citadel).

A kasbah was a place for the local leader to live and a defend when a city was under attack. A kasbah has high walls, usually without windows. Sometimes, they were built on hilltops so that they could be more easily defended. Some were placed near the entrance to harbors.

Having a kasbah built was a sign of wealth of some families in the city. Almost all cities had their kasbah, this building being something necessary for the city to survive. Morocco is known as “the country with 1000 kasbahs.”

The word kasbah may also be used to describe the old part of a city, in which case it has the same meaning as a medina quarter.

The Spanish word alcazaba is a cognate naming the equivalent building in Andalusia or Moorish Spain

In Portuguese, it derived into the word alcáçova.

In Turkish and Urdu the word kasaba refers to a settlement larger than a village but smaller than a city; in short, a town.




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