Local Ksars (Ksor)

Distant ksar

Distant ksar

Yesterday, I went with my friend, Slimane, on an extended bike ride to explore some local Ksars, or Ksor to use the Arabic plural. Ksars are older, enclosed communities whose expansive structures used traditional construction methods, such as mud, hay, and palm trunks. Think of them as expanding apartment complexes that emerged organically around oases. Some of the larger ones housed many, many families and were multiple stories.

These are not to be confused with kasbahs. Kasbahs are more like manor houses, or chateaus for wealthy landowners. Usually, these housed only a single extended family. While some of the older ksars are still inhabited by locals, some of the older kasbahs, such as El Khorbat, have been converted to hotels, or auberges.

Most of the older local ksars have fallen into disrepair due to increased rains over the last few years and a lack of proper maintenance. Some have been preserved and others will not have long before they dissolve back into the earth. I love exploring them and imagining the bustling lives lived there not that long ago.

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