Medina of Taroudant
Visit the Medina of Taroudant
It is a relatively modern medina compared to its big sister, the medina of Marrakech.
Will appreciate its relatively wide streets where from time to time lead to derbs and small squares. Everything is concentrated there: shops, cybercafés, hotels, cafés and restaurants, banking and postal services as well as souks, because there are 2 souks, the Berber souk and the Arab souk.
To get around, as the Taroudant medina is not very extensive, walking is the best solution. The Roudanis, the name given to its inhabitants, often use bicycles, climb in one of the many horse-drawn carriages that roam the city or choose to take a small taxi to reach their destination.
From the Bab Sedra gate, we reach the kasbah district, a fortress built by Moulay Ismaïl, which has become the most popular district of Taroudant. There are some works by artists in the form of frescoes.
Indeed, the walls of this part of Taroudant are used as improvised cimaises with more or less happiness for exhibitions whose duration is subject to the whims of time. The governor’s palace, which was also located in the kasbah, was transformed into the Hotel “Salam Palace”.
The ramparts, made up of thick walls of crenellated adobe walls topped by 130 towers and 19 bastions, run for nearly 8km surrounding the city and its medina.
The construction of the Taroudant ramparts dates from the Almoravid period in the 11th century. Their structures evolved under the different reigns that marked the history of the city, notably under the domination of the Almohades in the twelfth century. The Merinids in the 13th century contributed to a better fortification of Taroudant.
But it was especially during the Saadian dynasty, at the beginning of the 16th century, that the construction and fortification of the ramparts really took off. Originally, 5 doors opened the access to the city.
7 new gateways have been opened in recent years to cope with the growth of population and traffic in Taroudant.
The ramparts of the city in the course of history were subject to many attacks, both human and natural. Wars and the use of artillery caused sustained suffering in towers and walls.
The terrible Agadir earthquake of February 29,1960, which was felt in Taroudant, shook the foundations, producing a shearing effect on sedimentary soils, which facilitated the opening of cracks.
Since then, the ramparts have undergone major renovation work as part of a plan to upgrade ancient cities. The colour of this original ochre earth changes to off-white due to the covering of the limestone ramparts.
Looking at the ramparts, like the other ramparts of the kingdom, we can see a succession of holes in the walls. These are the positions of the beams supporting the formwork which are used to successively mould the slurry.
Tour around the ramparts of Taroudant
The 8 km of ramparts that encircle Taroudant are easily covered by foot, bicycle or carriage. In many places, tree-lined gardens help to highlight them.
We advise you to go around the ramparts at the end of the day; count 2 hours on foot, 30 minutes by car or rent one of the carriage in front of the hotel Palais Salam: about 60/70 Dh a good hour.
The walk often begins with Bab el Kasbah and its 3 arches which extend from rows of palm trees and orange trees to the outside of the ramparts. On the left, the route passes in front of the Salam Palace before reaching the new provincial headquarters.
It is important to know that the city is now a provincial prefecture, which facilitates many administrative and other procedures. As the walls approach the Kasbah quarter, the colour of the ramparts can vary from golden brown to deep red as the sun sets.
Continuing on, we notice that the northern part of the ramparts along the tanners’ quarter is the most desolate. If you feel like it, a visit to the Taroudant tanners can be an interesting and picturesque stopover. The return to the medina passes through the renovated part covered with white lime, contrasting with the original ochre colours.