Taliouine is a small village located near the city of Taroudant, in the southern Souss region of Morocco. The village is situated in the Anti Atlas Mountains, which tend to be less hospitable due to hotter temperatures, rockier terrain and the harsh desert, which lies at its base.
Despite the difficult living conditions, Morocco’s history here was written by Glaoui (or El Haj T’hami el Mezouari el Glaoui), who moved into the area and decided to become “Lord of the Atlas.” Glaoui and his brother ran the Aglawou tribe of southern Morocco. In the 1800s, they created a Kasbah in Taliouine and Telouet. Today, though the Atlas Mountains are primarily populated by the Berbers, in Taliouine, you will meet descendants of Glaoui’s servants.
Taliouine is a small village surrounded by hills and the Glaoui Kasbah. Unfortunately, time, location and the effect of larger cities in Morocco have taken its toll on Taliouine. It is slowly nearing extinction as the Kasbah’s structure begins to crumble. Still, if you are intent on visiting a place rich with history and culture, you should take the time to visit Taliouine. The people living in the village are proud of their historical city; the caretaker of the Kasbah is all too happy to show you around and tell you stories of the past.
The village is also known for its production of saffron, the most expensive spice in the world. This small town produces approximately 7,000 pounds of the spice each year, and Morocco as a whole is fourth in global production behind Iran, India and Greece. The plant flowers in late October and early November. Consider visiting during that time because Taliouine holds a festival to celebrate the harvesting of the plants.
While you are in the area, visit the small museum, which has a saffron tasting section and shop.
For a break from the village, stretch your legs with a trek up Jebel Siroua, considered by many to be the finest walk in the Anti Atlas region. The mountain is an old volcanic peak and rises to 3,304 meters. Take the time to enjoy the isolated villages along the way, magnificent gorges and view from the top of the peak, overlooking the valley below.
Posted by JoAnna Haugen, managing editor at Journey Beyond Travel and author of Kaleidoscopic Wandering.
Photo by Rosino.