Tameslhot’s Zaouia: A Journey to a Different Era Near Marrakech
Hidden from the usual tourist trail near Marrakech, Tameslhot’s Zaouia remains an incredible example of Moroccan architecture and history. One of the exclusive stops on our Marrakech Desert Rides, we sat down with Moulay Hafid, a descendant of the holy man who constructed this marvel, to delve into its captivating history.
The Birth of Tameslhot’s Zaouia
Established in 1584 by the holy Abdellah Ben Hssayn, the Zaouia was built in a then-abandoned area. Serving both cultural and religious functions, the structure exemplifies the workings of traditional Moroccan society. Its construction initiated the development of the surrounding area, giving birth to what is now a quaint town—still endearingly referred to as a ‘village’—of about 17,000 residents. Don’t miss out on the sensory overload that is the Friday Souk!
Unique Architecture Inspired by Fes
What sets the Zaouia apart is its distinctive green-tiled roof—a characteristic influenced by the northern city of Fes. The complex comprises 15 riads, a Quranic school, and a library, which originally featured manuscripts on camel skin.
Daily Life in the Zaouia
At its height, 23 families resided here, with over 50 tajines emerging daily from two sizable ovens. Olive oil, produced abundantly in the region, illuminated the interiors at night, apart from its culinary uses. The once sprawling pantry has now been converted into a bedroom, offering respite from extreme temperatures, as Moulay Hafid elaborates.
A Place for Reconciliation near Marrakech
Moulay Hafid’s ancestors were esteemed Caids (local leaders), maintaining peace in the region. The Zaouia served as a center for conflict resolution—aptly, the term “Tameslhot” derives from the Arabic word for “reconciliation.”
A Venue for the Famous and the Filmed
The Zaouia’s storied past includes famous guests like Marshal Lyautey and it has served as a filming location for around 35 movies, mainly American, Spanish, and Italian productions. The iconic Led Zeppelin duo, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, even held a jam session here with local Gnaouas musicians in 1993.
Experience Tameslhot’s Zaouia with Marrakech Insiders
For an authentic Moroccan experience, book our Marrakech Desert Ride to visit Tameslhot’s Zaouia and other hidden treasures near Marrakech. Marrakech Insiders offers the best way to explore Marrakech and its surrounding areas.