Friday, 2 October 2015

Military History Photo Friday: Kasbah Tourit, Ouarzazate, Morocco

Hello from Morocco! As many of you know, I'm spending October in Tangier writing my next novel. It's set here, so my being here isn't just writerly indulgence. :-) Internet access will be a bit sporadic so I probably won't be blogging as regularly as usual. In fact, this post was written before I left!

This fine castle is the Kasbah Tourit, in Ouarzazate, southern Morocco. Kasbahs are fortified homes or walled private villages for the various tribal rulers of premodern Morocco, and this one is one of the best-preserved and most famous. It was one of the many forts of the Glaoui Berber tribe. They ruled over much of southern Morocco and the Atlas Mountains and in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were one of the most powerful tribes in North Africa.

Under the rule of T'hami Glaoui (ruled 1912-1956), they were at the height of their power. He held the title of Pasha of Marrakesh, and his rule extended far beyond that important city. He was one of the richest men in the world and hobnobbed with the leading figures of his day, including Winston Churchill and Queen Elizabeth. On the other hand, he ruled like a feudal monarch. When he wasn't torturing people in his dungeons or putting the severed heads of rebels and thieves on the city walls, he was building golf courses in the desert or relaxing with his large harem of concubines.

He also played politics, steering the course of Morocco's future as it went from being a colony to an independent state and securing lasting rights for the Berber peoples in the face of Arab domination of the government. He also left behind numerous fine buildings such as this one.

Below is a back view. Both photos are from Wikimedia Commons. I visited this Kasbah many years ago, but didn't have the time this week to dig out my old shots, made back when I still had a film camera. Remember when we had to pay for every picture?

Hope to blog again soon!

1 comment:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sounds like he was a mixed bag of good and bad.
Funny how the back side looks like ruins while the front looks like a living castle.

Looking for more from Sean McLachlan? He also hangs out on the Civil War Horror blog, where he focuses on Civil War and Wild West history.

You can also find him on his Twitter feed and Facebook page.