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UNESCO treasure: Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou

It’s April of 2023. Thus far, there has been no let-up on the hatred and destruction that has plagued our people for the past few years. Between the tensions of the so-called superpowers, and the ideological uprisings centered around religion, it feels like we have stepped back several decades. Sure, this is cyclical, but when will we learn? Peace can exist. We can co-exist. We can exist.

One thing that is a somewhat comforting characteristic of the human race is that some people actually care. And there is no better example of this selfless devotion to saving us from ourselves is UNESCO. Quietly, in the background, they gently push forward to make us aware that we only have one place to live – earth. And UNESCO does it’s level best to save whatever it can of humanity.

One such prize is Morocco’s Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou. The ksar, a group of earthen buildings surrounded by high walls, is a traditional pre-Saharan habitat. The houses crowd together within the defensive walls, which are reinforced by corner towers. Ait-Ben-Haddou, in Ouarzazate province, is a striking example of the architecture of southern Morocco.

Located in the foothills on the southern slopes of the High Atlas in the Province of Ouarzazate, the site of Ait-Ben-Haddou is the most famous ksar in the Ounila Valley. The Ksar of Aït-Ben-Haddou is a striking example of southern Moroccan architecture. The ksar is a mainly collective grouping of dwellings. Inside the defensive walls which are reinforced by angle towers and pierced with a baffle gate, houses crowd together – some modest, others resembling small urban castles with their high angle towers and upper sections decorated with motifs in clay brick – but there are also buildings and community areas. It is an extraordinary ensemble of buildings offering a complete panorama of pre-Saharan earthen construction techniques.

According to UNESCO, the criterion for The Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou illustrates the traditional earthen habitat, representing the culture of southern Morocco, which has become vulnerable as a result of irreversible socio-economic and cultural changes.

Read more here courtesy of UNESCO.roh

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