Al Haouz Medieval sites at stake in the wake of earthquake

Al Haouz Medieval sites at stake in the wake of earthquake

The devastating earthquake that rattled the region of Al Haouz on Friday 8 not only killed nearly 3,000 deaths and caused more than 5,000 injuries but also damaged some of the historical sites nestled in the High Atlas Mountain, namely Aghmat and Tinmel. 

These two cities, each one of which bears an immense historical legacy, have felt the tremors of the powerful earthquake, raising serious concerns over their well-being, resilience, and preservation.

Nestled nearly 30 kilometers to the southeast of Marrakech, the city of Amghal is deemed an archaeological gem that dates back to the Middle Ages and was discovered only in 1901.

Talking to the Conservative of the Archaeological Sites of Aghmat and Tinmel, Nadia El Bourakkadi told MoroccoLatestNews that the excavations began in 2005 have uncovered remarkable remnants that date back centuries, including a 10th-century public bath, a 12th-century mosque, a Marinid-era palace, and a residential neighborhood from the same period.

Fortunately, the tremors of the earthquake did not cause damage to the public bath, which has not only historical but also architectural value.

El Bourakkadi said, “Thanks god. This site was not damaged by the earthquake. The public bath is still there, which has not only historical but also architectural value. This public bath is still standing and dates back to the 10th century and remained functional until the 14th century. In the 16th century, worshipers exploited it. The remains of their presence, whether ceramic or remnants of use, are still there.”

Aghmat was home to several historical figures whose legacies are considered part and parcel of Moroccan history.

Zaynab Nefzaouia, who was born and raised in Aghmat, was a woman celebrated for her beauty as well as her impressing intellect and wisdom. She was the wife of Youssuf Ibn Tachfine.

According to El Bourrakadi, the archaeological site is also linked to Al Mutamid Ibn Abbad who was the ruler of Seville in the 11th century.  He sought refuge in Aghmat after the fall of his kingdom and remained there until his death.

Tinmel is another noteworthy historical site in the region of Al-Haouz, and unfortunately it was devastated by the tremors of the earthquake.

El Bourrakadi told MoroccoLatestNews that the area is linked to Mehdi Ibn Toumart, who was a spiritual leader of the Almohade movement. When the historical figure died, Abd al-Mu’min bin Ali al-Koumi, who was the first Almohad successor, decided to build a mosque in 1148 in honor of his late leader.

The strategic location of Tinmel, as it is nestled within the High Atlas Mountains, was a refuge for the Almohads, symbolizing steadfast resistance against their adversaries. 

The mosque, which is situated in the Talat N’Yaacoub, a few kilometers from the epicenter of the earthquake, suffered damage as well, as just before the seismic event, the mosque was in the final stage of the restoration.

The Conservative of the Archaeological Sites of Aghmat and Tinmel confirmed to MoroccoLatestNews that “a dedicated team of archaeologists are now in the stage of assessing the damage that the site has suffered from.”

Aghmat and Tinmel are two cities that stand as symbols of Morocco’s historical legacy, and preserving them is a responsibility to ensure the resonance of their historical and cultural heritage.


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