Imilchil, High Atlas village
Sometimes difficult to reach in winter, Imilchil is perched at an altitude of 2,200 metres in the heart of the Eastern Atlas, in the Aït Hadiddou territory belonging to the famous confederation Aït Yafelman, at the crossroads of the Midelt and Tinghir provinces.
To reach it by Aït Hani and Agoudal, it is necessary to cross a high pass at an altitude of more than 2,000 m above sea level. Now there is an asphalt road, crisscrossing a very mineral space with varied shapes and, past Agoudal, the road follows a succession of small palm groves and gardens.
At the bottom of Imilchil we finally discover the two famous twin lakes: Isli, man’s lake and Tilsit, woman’s lake. They symbolize the story of a young girl Aït Yaaza whose love with a young Aït Ibrahim was at the origin of this great moussem that makes Imilchil famous: the fiance party.
The formation of lakes
The mystery of the formation of the famous Isli and Tilsit lakes in Imilchil, which gave birth to the legend of the two Berber Romeo and Juliet, was finally solved and published in December 2012.
It is thanks to the work of Professor Abdherramane Ibhi, a group of geologists from the University of Ibn Zohr in Agadir and local meteorite hunters that it has been established that two of these asteroids of 75 and 50 m in diameter struck the region 40 000 years ago, their impacts giving rise to the two mythical lakes, Tiznit and Islit.
Field research with sophisticated equipment, the help of satellites corroborated the idea that the circular structures giving birth to these two lakes were designed by the fall of a meteorite 120 m in diameter, impact that had to modify the fauna, flora and climate of the region.
Field research showed that the sedimentary layers contained meteorite fragments that allowed us to date them. It is during its entry into the atmosphere that it separated into two distinct parts causing this double impact forming the current lakes.
This is the first time in Morocco that craters like these have been discovered. Until now, only three of them had been listed: in Quebec, Saudi Arabia and Libya.
Many fragments of siderite weighing from a few grams to… 30 kg had already been negotiated by local meteorite hunters to Moroccan dealers in Tafilalet and Ouarzazate.
The moussem, the fiancés’ party
It now includes a musical festival, a big souk, and especially the engagement party traditionally called Souk-am. Imichil is an important symbol of the Amazigh (Berber) culture, all tribes combined.
This moussem is a great cultural event of which the Aït Yaaza tribe is the jewel, faithful to this tradition which mixes art as much as mystic or mythical and where collective marriages are still perpetuated in spite of modern societal changes, thus maintaining intertribal links and encounters.
The Imilchil Music Festival welcomes many Berber groups of different musical sensibilities, but also more and more European folk groups in particular, which has earned it a growing international recognition well beyond the Cherifian kingdom.
The Moussem Imilchil spreads over 3 days between late August and early September according to the years.
The story of a young girl from the Aït Yaaza tribe who shared a great mutual love with a young man from the Aït Ibrahim makes them two fractions of the Aït Hadiddou tribe in perpetual rivalry, and the respective parents who opposed this union.
The great sadness of our two Berber Romeo and Juliet that they could not marry and love each other caused all the tears from their tragic history to form the twin lakes in which they eventually drowned.
Families saddened by their tragic endings repented and then decided that young people could now choose each other.
Thus was born the Imilchil moussem where once a year young girls and boys must be able to choose each other and unite freely in a great collective marriage.
This one is sheltered under a vast Berber tent where officiate the adouls, religious notaries, meeting no opposition on behalf of their respective families.
Since then there has also been a custom called “Taqerfiyt” allowing a boy to freely date his future wife…
Todra – From 79 €
Imlil, Toubkal – From 20 €
Imlil, Toubkal – From 25 €
Marirha, Ouirgane – From 70 €
Imlil, Toubkal – From 23 €
Imlil, Toubkal – From 60 €