Tameslhot’s Zaouia, welcome to another time!

 

If there are still some hidden places around Marrakech preserved from tourism, Tameslhot’s Zaouia is certainly part of them! It is an amazing piece of architecture and history, authentic and not very well preserved; we have made it one of our stops on our Marrakech desert tours. We sat down with Moulay Hafid, descendant of the holy man who built this place and guardian of its keys! Sit back and enjoy the (almost) complete story of this unique place…

 

While the area was abandoned and had not been taken care for years, the holy Abdellah Ben Hssayn built Thamesloth’s Zaouia in 1584. Both a cultural and religious building, it is still to this day a great example of how traditional Moroccan society worked and works. The area is given a second life thanks to this massive project and the village of Tameslhot starts appearing around the Zaouia. It is today a Small town of about 17,000 inhabitants which still call it a « village », the place has kept its old charm. Check out the Friday Souk, a trip for your senses (yep, we tried it all!).

The Zaouia had an usual architecture for its time with its green tiles roof. The holy founder, a well-educated and influent person, was inspired by the northern influence of Fes. The Zaouia was made of fifteen riads, a coranic school and a Library, in which the first manuscripts were made on camel skin.

Originally, twenty-three families lived in the Zaouia and more than fifty tajines came out of the two massive ovens from the kitchen on a daily basis. Olive oil, which was made in massive quantities in the area, was not used just for food but also for lamps to light the Inside of the building at night. The pantry has now been turned into a bedroom (lets you imagine the size of this thing), Moulay Hafid explains it is the best room to protect yourself from extreme temperatures.

My father and grand father were both great Caids which assured peace and order in the region. Covering sometimes long distances from the Atlas mountains, people would come to the Zaouia to settle conflicts It was a place of mediation and dialogue and this is where the village got its name from « slhot » from « Tameslhot » means « reconciliation » in Arabic.

Our Zaouia has had its load of famous people says Moulay Hafid, such as Marshal Lyautey who stayed there for a week in the 1920’s. It was used for quite a few movies too. Almost 35 movies were partly shot here, mainly American, Spanish and Italian productions. Jimmy Page and Robert plant from Led Zeppelin jammed away in 1993 with local Gnaouas musicians and the video is pretty cool ! One of their friends had shown them the place says Moulay Hafid.

So, if you want to experience the Zaouia and much more of Marrakech, look us up and book our Marrakech Desert Ride right away!

 

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Author

Rachel

A few years ago, Rachel, born and raised in Switzerland, discovered by chance the ocher city. But what followed was in no way due to chance. Her curiosity was thoroughly aroused, she strove, in the course of her academic work, to reconstruct the puzzle of the architectural heritage of Gueliz. She went through tons of archives, interviewed the city's living memories and explored its sleepy nooks. Today, Rachel tells her stories on a shiny sidecar and published a book with Editions Sarrazines & Co retracing all her finds on the Gueliz.