Taroudant, Historic Moroccan City
First capital of the Saadian dynasty in the 15th century, Taroudant is located in the Souss plain in southwest Morocco, near Agadir.
With the exception of the west which opens on the Atlantic Ocean, Taroudant is surrounded by the various chains of the Atlas. To the north by the western buttresses of the High Atlas, to the east by the Siroua massif and to the south by the Anti-Atlas.
Generously irrigated by the Souss wadi, the Taroudant region is full of vegetables, bananas and citrus fruits, many of which are shipped to Europe.
If the local production of argan oil and olive oil also participates in the fame of Taroudant, the city has always developed craft activities related to tannery and leather work, pottery and silver jewelry.
Moreover, the ancient Saadian city benefits from many tourist assets to discover different facets of this part of the Moroccan South.
The 7.5 km long battlements of Taroudant, the city’s main tourist attraction, protect a 3 km² medina.
The enclosure has 130 towers and 19 corner bastions. It has five historic gates: Bab al-Silsila, known as’Bab el-Kasbah’, Bab Zorgane, Bab Targhount, Bab Oulad Bounana and Bab el-Khemis.
The other doors: Bab Leblalia, Ben Yara, Agafay and Bab Jdid have been opened as needs have increased due to increased car traffic.
The most important, Bab el-Kasbah, located near the Kasbah district, was the most important entrance to the city. It is a bastioned door flanked by two massive towers.
To the south of the ramparts, Bab Zorgane, angled and bastioned, equipped with a round path and an open vestibule, is located very close to the bus station.
Bab Targhount, to the west, with its covered vestibule, is near the tanneries.
The best time to go around the ramparts (by horse-drawn carriage, by bike or on foot) is in the late afternoon, just before sunset, when the ochre of the walls is playing with light.
The souks of the medina and the Kasbah
Inside the city, entertainment is concentrated mainly around the central squares Assarag and Talmoklate, both bordering the souks of the medina and the Berber market. These two places are also named in their Arabic names, respectively Al-Alaouyine and An-Nasr.
Filled with square towers smaller than those of the ramparts, the Kasbah, which has undergone various alterations over the centuries, occupies the north-eastern part of the city.
The craft souk
In the medina, craftsmen work in the alleys between Assarag and Talmokate squares. Their workshops and stalls, some in old caravanserais, offer slippers and leather, copper, pottery and ceramics, Berber jewellery, wrought iron or spices, argan oil and plants of all kinds.
The Berber Souk
This heteroclite souk, the most frequented by the population, opens on Talmoklate square. Open from 10 am to 9 pm, often closed between 1 pm and 3 pm, there is a little of everything: food, dishes, toys, fabrics…
Taroudant is also famous for its tannery, the skins which are treated there would, it seems, of better quality than those of the north.
This reputation has led about forty tanners to group their workshops and their know-how in a place simply called’La Tannerie’ which is located near Bab Targhount.
They present their work: washing, salting, drying, bleaching of the skins. The discovery of this surprising place is possible every day when a small shop is present there.
Location and transport
Taroudant is located 565 km south of Rabat, 80 km west of Agadir, Ouarzazate is 290 km east and Marrakesh 275 km northeast.
Located on the Agadir – Ouarzazate road axis, Taroudant is served daily by numerous coaches passing through these two cities.
The nearest airport is Agadir Al-Massira (60 km).
Taroudant bus station
There is no bus station as such. Most of the buses leave Bab Zorgane on the bypass along the ramparts to the south.
The CTM station is located in the centre of al-Alaouyine Square.
Some buses to the nearby area leave from Assarag and Talmoklate squares.
Large taxis also park near Bab Zorgane.
Some streets within Taroudant are not accessible by car. It is advisable to park in one of the car parks in the city. Note the one located north of the square an-Nasr, without forgetting those, more numerous, outside the ramparts.
In a carriage
Intra-muros, the carriages are used as small taxis by the inhabitants of Taroudant; 7 Dh per person. A one-hour walk around the ramparts costs about €6, but it is better to agree beforehand.
We recommend a tour at the end of the day; allow 2 hours on foot, 30 minutes by car or rent one of the carriages in front of the Palais Salam hotel.
Rent a Bike
The inhabitants travel a lot by bike or moped in Taroudant. Some addresses in town offer to rent bikes and mopeds for €10 and €40 / days respectively.
Most banks are grouped around Alouyine Square and nearby; all have ATMs.
Outside the walls, in front of Bab al-Kasbah. Intra-muros on the street of August 20 near the hotel Saadiens.
You will find the headlines of the international press in the stationery shop located after the great mosque, at the corner of the rue du Prince Héritier Sidi Mohammed.
You will find the headlines of the international press in the stationery located after the big mosque, at the corner of Prince Héritier Sidi Mohammed street.
The surroundings of Taroudant
Walks in the Souss valley
The countryside surrounding Taroudant is dominated by the Atlas Mountains which take shape in the background.
To the north, a winding road lined with argan trees starts at the assault of the slopes of the jbel Aouline (3555 m) up to the Berber villages of Tasguinnt and Afensou (about 30 km, road P1727).
Cyclists and walkers will prefer the banks of the Souss in search of freshness. Perhaps they will go as far as the kasbah of Freïja which overlooks the village of Aït Yazza and Oued Souss, 10 km east of Taroudant towards Ouarzazate (N10).
Before arriving at this majestic building, numerous crops of vegetables, citrus fruits or banana trees follow one another along the Souss whose colors contrast with the ochre of the Atlas.
The Tioute palm grove
The large oasis of Tioute is located about thirty kilometers southeast of Taroudant once the Oued Souss crossed.
Nestled in the first foothills of the Anti-Atlas, the village overlooks this palm grove of a thousand hectares whose 20 000 palm trees are irrigated by a small river flowing into the Souss.
The palm grove is dominated by an old kasbah damaged by the earthquake of 1960, but inhabited by a panoramic restaurant, the palm grove houses within it a traditional Berber café. It is worth a stop to admire the superb palm wood door that opens the walls that surround it.
Taïtmatine argan oil cooperative
Gathering about forty women and sponsored by the Principality of Monaco, it is at the entrance of the village. The women who ensure its permanence explains the work related to the argan tree and to the production of the oil.
They carry out the whole process themselves, from harvesting the almonds to pressing them. We can also see there, if it is the season, the crushing and sorting of almonds, roasting, oil extraction and bottling.
Organic labelled argan oil and derived cosmetic products are sold in the cooperative’s shop, which allows these women a certain financial independence and a significant small income.
The village of Amagour
32 km south of Taroudant, this charming village, surrounded by argan trees, is situated on a foothill of the Anti-Atlas. A footpath winds nearby on the hills and leads to the crater of a silent volcano, a refuge for migratory birds in winter.
About a hundred kilometres east of Taroudant in the direction of Ouarzazate, Taliouine located at 1080 m altitude at the foot of the Siroua jbel, is discovered inside one of the most beautiful geological folds of Morocco.
Most of the saffron grown in Morocco is produced in Taliouine and its region. This red gold, saffron, is one of the most expensive spices in the world. It is harvested delicately by hand from mid-October to mid-November at dawn.
This harvest gives rise to a festival that brings together local producers and traditional music and dance groups.
Cooperative Souktana du Safran
We learn everything about saffron, including distinguishing the true from the false. Short film about the cultivation and sale of packaged or bulk saffron. Open every day from 8:30 am to 5 pm. Free admission. Main Street (N10), on the left towards Ouarzazate.
La Maison du Safran
Several cooperatives are gathered there to present the culture of this delicate crocus. Explanatory panels, film, exhibitions and sales. Open every day from 8 am to 12:30 pm then from 1:30 pm to 7:30 pm. Free admission. Main Street (N10), on the right towards Ouarzazate.
Igherm and the Agadir Road
Located 90 km south of Taroudant in the direction of Tata (R109), Igherm allows a discovery of the massifs of the Anti-Atlas by roads with astonishing landscapes.
Installed at the foot of the majestic Adrar n’Aklim (2531 m), Igherm, stronghold of the Ida Ou Kensouss tribe, is a fortified village with an ancient agadir.
The Ida Ou Kensouss are famous for their finely carved silver daggers, inlaid rifles and powder horns. Copper mines, whose products were sold in Sudan as early as the 11th century, feed a local craft industry with all kinds of containers and utilitarian objects.
South of Taroudant, the Anti-Atlas is the land of igoudar, collective granaries that served as warehouses for Berber villagers.
Perched on promontories or rocky peaks to better monitor access roads and surroundings, they were built with local materials and fit perfectly into the landscape that they seem to extend as a natural extension.
Usually built on land belonging to a dominant clan or on land away from the village, only one permanently guarded gate allowed access and only air vents appeared in their walls.
From Igherm, it is relatively easy to reach Tafraoute (R106) then from there take the road to Aït Baha (R105). On this road, the villages of Tizourgane and Ida Igdounif present beautiful examples.
Taroudant, the Souss and the coast by bike.
A very fast bicycle ride that starts in Taroudant to put on small roads and tracks of the Souss under a bright sunshine.
Visit of small country douars before camels and the Atlantic coast, on a music as rhythmic as images.
Discovery of the Souss Massa Drâa