Ouarzazate

Desert Home near the aqueduct

Desert Home near the aqueduct

Before leaving the Sahara behind we stopped to see a fascinating system of underground aqueducts.  A series of sloping, hand-dug tunnels tapped into the water table and channeled water to the villages.  Access wells were dug where villagers could then lower buckets into the flowing water.

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Entrance to the underground aqueduct and stairs to the well access

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Underground showing a bucket lowered into the well, no longer in use.

This Qanat water delivery system dates to the 7th century in Iran, spreading across northern Africa to Morocco where they are called khettara.  It was fascinating.

En route to the oasis town of Ouarzazate we made a stop in Tinejdad to visit the Ksar of el Khorbat taking a walk inside one of the unique and ancient fortified ksars (walled cities).  A Ksar is basically a village surrounded by walls made of soil with one or more monumental entrances and a mosque, bath, Koran school, public place and inn. The doors of the houses are distributed over eight impasses perpendicular to a main street. The main and side streets are mostly shaded by the first floors of the houses within the Ksar. The crossings appear as fountains of light and make the whole Ksar a bit mysterious.

Ksar El Khorbat - Oasis Museum

Ksar El Khorbat

Ksar El Khorbat - Oasis Museum

Ksar El Khorbat Rooftop

Ksar El Khorbat - Oasis Museum

Ksar El Khorbat

Exterior decoration occupies the highest part of the buildings and consists of geometric figures made with clay bricks.

Ksar el Khorbat also contains a wonderful Berber museum depicting the history, architecture and daily life of the Berbers in this region.

After lunch at El Khorbat, we continued overland to Ouarzazate, a city built by the French as a garrison outpost in the Sahara. Arriving late this afternoon we checked into our hotel and gathered for dinner together at the hotel.

Lunch at Tsar El Khorbat

Lunch at Tsar El Khorbat

Embroidery

Embroidery

Embroidery Materials

Embroidery Materials

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