Ever wandered into a 500-year-old kitchen without a floor? Or had tea on a crumbling roof amidst hundreds of pigeons and falcons? Or met a man who lives in a Medieval fridge? You will have after visiting the ancient Zaouia of Tamesloht, once the cultural, juridical and religious heart of the Agafay region.
The impressive place was built in 1584 by the holy Abdellah Ben Hssayn and used to house over twenty families, a coranic school, a library and several administrative rooms. People would come down from the mountains and out of the desert to settle conflicts and even the royals, namely the present king’s father, regularly enjoyed a reflective stay here.
The place got quite busy and in its heyday, the huge kitchen would produce more than fifty tajines a day to keep everybody happy –as we all know, the art of diplomacy goes through the stomach… A once grand past, that came to an abrupt end when the coranic school was closed somewhere in the last century, leaving the place abandoned and at the mercy of the local birdlife.
Moulay Hafid, a descendant of the original builder, and his family still persist in living there and honor its glorious past though. He built his bedroom in the former cool pantry and filled it with discoballs and hardcore rock music –a nod to the members of Led Zeppelin, who discovered the place in the nineties and wrote an entire album during their stay there. The rockers weren’t the only ones charmed by its derelict beauty, as over 35 movies were shot there in the last decades –most recently the Prince of Persia starring Jake Gyllenhaal.
Moulay will enthusiastically guide you and point out all of the fun facts these ancient walls hold, ending your visit with a groovy tea ceremony amidst his beloved pigeons on the roof.
For visits, contact Marrakech Insiders.