Located in the High Atlas, the Kasbah of Telouet was the residence of El Glaoui family until the independence. This historic home is an architectural marvel, particularly inside.
As it dominates the village, when you arrive in Telouet, the Kasbah is the first thing you will notice. It is made up of a series of buildings that date from the XVIII, XIX and XX centuries.
Before the construction of the road through the Tizi n’Tichka pass, caravans passing from Marrakech to Ouarzazate had to cross through Télouet. It remained one of the strongholds of the Glaoua lords, a tribe from the Grand Atlas region, for a long time, owing to its strategic location. During the French protectorate, the Glaoua tribe gained notoriety due to the controversial character of Thami El Glaoui, the Pasha of Marrakech and the last “Lord of the Atlas.”
The village of Telouet has been marked by two dates. In 1682, when the souverain Moulay Ismail ben Chérif (1645-1727) returned to Marrakech after a tour in the Tafilalet in 1682, Abdessadek El Glaoui, the caïd of Telouat back then, welcomed them after a snowstorm killed the majority of his army. And, in 1893, due to another snowstorm, the Alaouite Sultan Moulay Hassan I (1836-1894)passed by. Si Madani El Glaoui and his younger brother Thami received him warmly. These two events have had a significant effect on the history of Morocco and the Drâa-Tafilalet Region.
Although the Kasbah of Glaoua is not ancient, it is one of Morocco’s most significant castles during the Protectorate era. Various buildings were added next to an older Kasbah in the early 1900s, due to the growing wealth and influence of the El Glaoui family. This more recent section can still be visited, including two impressive and decorated rooms that bear witness to El Glaoui family’s lavish lifestyle.
The Kasbah of Telouet is a fortress, castle, and caravanserai all in one, making it an impressive architecture. From a balcony on the second floor, the watchful eye of Glaoua, the Kasbah was known for Ahwach songs and dances, an Amazigh tradition that has been practiced in the Southeast since ancient times.
The reception area on the inside has exquisite grilled windows that look out into the oasis. The walls and the floor are covered in a stunning stucco and zelliges decoration. The ceilings and walls were said to have been carved by 300 men over the course of three years. Photographes and Instagram influencers will for sure enjoy this place.
The Kasbah has been largely abandoned since 1960. Visits are accompanied by a guide, and a portion of the fee goes toward the site’s renovation. To get there, you must travel beyond the village center and the Oued Imarene. A trail leads to the main door of Dar Glaoui, which is reinforced with a 25-centimeter-long key that opens into a courtyard paved with large stones. The ochre and red earth structures are massive but fragile. With a central enclosure containing many courtyards surrounded by crenellated walls, giving the whole a unique appearance.