Ksar Ezzahra

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I had read in the guide books that the road has only just reached the village and there are few visitors. The town is still very traditional and the locals are very aware of the destructive nature of tourism. When the new road arrived they voted against the provision of a cafe and hotel for tourists. They wanted the village to stay as it was.

The ksar is built at the top of the village and is still the centre of the settlement. There are a number of small shops set into the outside walls. It wasa Friday and there were a large number of men sitting around the Mosque waiting for prayers. We were given long hard stares and we felt they were not used to seeing tourists. It did feel a bit uncomfortable and Michael was advised to be careful taking photos and avoid locals getting in the shot.

The ksar is made up of two courtyards. The outer courtyard had 2-3 levels of ghorfas (rooms). One is still used as a small shop and there is a cafe beside it. This is definitely aimed at locals. It was market day and there were several stalls selling fruit and vegetables in the courtyard.

We could see the remains of some writings from the Koran and feet and hands in the archway between the courtyards. These were to protect the building against evil and bring good luck. Kitchen and sleeping areas often on different levels.

The inner courtyard is bigger with four levels of ghorfas with interconnecting staircases, stone steps in the walls and walkways between them. It looks as if some of the ghorfas are still used for storage as they have new metal doors. Some of the disused living areas have remains of Koran writing on walls and more hands and feet.

This was a well worth while visit. Recommended.

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