THE KSOUR OF THE MDAGRA OASIS (ER-RACHIDIA, MOROCCO): AN INVENTORY
- 1Dept. Architectural Graphic Expression, Universitat Politècnica de València, Spain
- 2Research Centre PEGASO, Universitat Politècnica de València, Valencia, Spain
Keywords: Mdagra, Ksar, Fortified Architecture, Vernacular Architecture, Rammed Earth, Pre-Saharan Oasis, Morocco
Abstract. The Mdagra Oasis is located in the province of Er-Rachidia, in southern Morocco. The objective of this contribution is to present an unparalleled inventory of the ksour existing in that oasis, the result of several years of study and field exploration. During the Saadi period (16th century), this area of the Ziz basin was a compulsory stop for traders on the route of caravans crossing the High Atlas. Later, during the Alauita period, the area was consolidated, and for more than 400 years many important cities were constructed using rammed earth, as Ksar es Souq or Sidi Bou Abdellah Ksar. This is how the oasis came to have an important community integrated by Berbers, Arabs and Jews. Today, most of the oasis’ ksour are abandoned for different reasons and remain in a state of advanced ruin. Through fieldwork, we have been able to identify, record, analyze and classify 53 earthen human settlements, providing an unprecedented study of all of them. Subsequently, a first typological classification was proposed based on aspects such as the implementation in the territory, the external morphology, the urban organization, or the occupation area. The ultimate goal was to document this rammed earth, at-risk heritage since we have witnessed its rapid degradation, and even disappearance in some cases, throughout this investigation.