Oasis of Tioute
Tioute, the quiet oasis
The Tioute oasis is built around an ancient 16th century kasbah from the Saadian period, overlooking the 7 douars that make up the oasis in a thriving and well-kept palm grove. Its current population is 3800 inhabitants. Tioute means in Berber: the dromedary bump.
It should be noted that this oasis of the Anti-Atlas, relatively extensive, was until the middle of the 19th century, partially bathed by a lake. An arid climate followed, and this during all the 20th century which drained the lake, but made emerge a fertile ground where argan trees, date palms and carob trees blossomed quietly.
Covering an area of about 1000 ha, this palm grove is thought to hold more than 20,000 palm trees. Appropriate cultivation now yields rich land where wheat, barley, maize and a multitude of vegetables grow abundantly.
For the little story, know that the carob tree, name from the Arabic “el kharroube”, gives fruits, the carob. The seeds contained inside, regular and of the same weight, have been used since time immemorial as a standard unit for measuring the weight of gold or precious stones. A seed giving a carat. The term and meaning “carat” continues to this day.
Water, source of life in the Tioute oasis
A spring feeds the oasis. Precious water without which life cannot survive or organize itself. A fairly large irrigation and water retention basin in 2 parts, one of which also serves as a swimming pool during the stifling summer heat, sits in the most important douar at the foot of the ancient kasbah.
It allows for a rigorous and fair distribution of water through pipes and seguias that carry it to the heart of the palm grove and the land to be irrigated.
This source, which curiously has no name, used to feed 16 small mills within the oasis itself, only one of which is still active today. We visited it thanks to our guide, Hamed Jaafar, inhabitant of Tioute, polyglot guide as he defines himself and friendly character.
This mill grinds wheat as well as corn and barley. No one really seems to know why all the other mills stopped spinning, grinding and working the precious grain separated from the chaff.
Kasbah of a Tioute Oasis
The ancient kasbah, even in ruins, offers a beautiful silhouette. An imposing sentinel whose stones gleam under the rising sun or seem to bask in the setting sun.
This kasbah was inhabited by the kaid of the region and his family until the years of the French protectorate.
Then, in the 1990s, the descendants of the kaid built a restaurant adjoining the foundations of the kasbah. Facing him, benevolent guardian, stands the mausoleum of Sidi Abdel Kader, a holy man well known here.