Amtoudi, Morocco - (day one) Week 88 28th December 2012
The itinerary is only a guideline! And for this part of Morocco we don't have one.

We decided to follow Ian and Janice to Amtoudi.

We are on the southern side of the Anti-Atlas.

The mountains run roughly ne to sw. We've came round the southern end to get to Bouizakarne.

Dry river beds but sufficient moisture to grow things. We think date palms.

We never tire of the fold of the land.

Sedimentary sandstone contorted and eroded by wind and water.

It must rain enough for some protection for mud walls to be required.
Our first glimpse of Amtoudi.

Not quite what we were expecting - there's something built on the hill top.

An Agadir. As in granary, not the city on the coast.
So we went for a walk to see what it is.

We aren't the only tourists. The village is accessible for day trips from Agadir and there's a steady flow through a few hotels and restaurants as well as the campsite.

Our campsite is about central in the pic. We think an old military depot - our Garmin said we had arrived at "the ordnance"..
Looking deeper into the gorge from the agadir.
This is Agadir Id-Aissa.

Id-Aissa is (we think) an alternative name for Amtoudi.

About 12th century. Restored some time in the last 30 years or so.

To keep grain and other food safe.

Difficult to understand the guardian's limited French with our limited French.

We think beehives or storage for honey.

Ali and I, Janice and Ian.
Some of the wicker baskets had signs of a mud coating.

Looks like more than bees and honey to our uneducated eyes..

Narrow passages, small storage rooms, low doors.

This structure is quite unlike a castle or other symbol of power, prestige,  status, rule or oppression. And not religious as a church, cathedral, mosque or temple. Nor monumental as a burial site.

It somehow feels communal, utilitarian, defensive not offensive, to protect not conquer, survival not worship. 

Perhaps simply public infrastructure for the time.

They've made the most of the limited space on top of the rock.

Research has been difficult for us (google wants us to go to a hotel) but we did find  this paper on grain conservation in the Maghreb (North Africa, west of Egypt to the Atlas Mountains) to Central Europe.

We missed this bit of influence on Andalucian culture. The Maghrebis are the Moors that occupied the Iberian Penninsular.

Mostly built on a kind of shelf running round the rock.

Any water flowing off the roofs is diverted to a single cistern.

Grain (and other crop) storage is primarily required because of the possibility of bad years and famine.

Beyond that is the threat from other tribes and sometimes central government. Subduing the community involved destruction of the granary.

We haven't been up to the plateau yet.

There's a mosque within the walls. The agadir is crime free, inviolable. No lies, no theft. Grain itself is sacred, a tradition possibly older than Islam, and thus so is the agadir.

The granary is predominantly a Berber tradition but is possibly also older and wider.

There's a "museum" where artefacts have been collected.

Part of the Koran.

Written on bone.


A wooden lock.

The head of each family had a key to the family's storage rooms.

There's a hint that only sufficient grain was provided to the family to avoid waste.

We think its quite possible our guardian is a continuation of the original guardian who limited access to the agadir and guarded against deterioration of the grain.

And storage jars.

Its taken several days to arrive at some small sense of how the community may have worked.

But that's a quite different sense to how feudal European Christian communities evolved. 

We stand in awe of the brickies.

An almost seamless continuation of the cliff.

We walked.

The bird probably flew!

A couple of hours up and back.

The guardian must have been summoned as we left the campsite. We made sure the people at the campsite knew we were going up and let the grapevine do the rest.

He arrived shortly after us. A little out of breath.


Not quite the red of the Australian center but ....

The baker delivers to the camping ground every morning.

Still warm.

The round bread is larger than other places so far in Morocco.

Makes good toast!

Amtoudi, Morocco (day two) Week 89 29th December 2012

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