THE IMPERIAL ROAD

Carnet de voyage Er Rachidia, Maroc. Jacques Bravo
 

The road from Figuig to Er Rachidia

On the road to Er Rachidia.

Figuig  was  deadlock. It is necessary to turn around and especially not to travel in the afternoon towards the west. 370 kilometers facing the  sun, without trees, it is strenuous and dangerous for driving. But superb in the retro.!!

Une ferme sur sa colline, un terroir dont les lignes élégantes n’ont rien à envier à la Toscane.. Jacques Bravo

A few kilometers from Figuig begins a long journey to Er Rachidia.

Moulay Idriss. Jacques Bravo

How do we live here? I didn't have time to stop! A regret ! A next trip to meet the people who manage to shape this green line in this mineral landscape crushed by heat.

 

Rich.

It is above all the presence of these three young  boys who hang out in the bed of the Ziz who  convinces that man can live in this  universe so mineral where the houses themselves  are of the nature of monuments  rocks that dominate them. The town of Rich is  the living symbol of this precarious success.  She has no other special beauty than  that of telling us that the fight continues:  nothing is acquired. It is its beauty. And one  tribute to those who make it live.

La ville sainte de Moulay Idriss. Jacques Bravo

Er Rachidia.

These are not the cast shadows of the crenellated towers,  but these towers against the light, they are part of the mountain.

Les toits du mausolée Moulay Idriss. Jacques Bravo

Er Rachidia.

Before taking off  towards the Ziz valley, the imperial route, the only means of communication.  A single oasis of a hundred kilometers that we dominate from end to end,  green notch that meanders in the rock. Everywhere else, the alleys of  oases are hidden under the palms, labyrinthine in the dust,  while the Ziz makes a real demonstration of human geography.  It's hard to take your eyes off this throbbing avenue: beware  driving ! No respite until Rissani, the "imperial" ksar,  true oasis capital.

 

Around the blue source of Meski

Meski.

The famous blue source on the left bank  Ziz, reputed to be miraculous,  beneficent in any case, an emblem of the  region so parsimonious in water.  Welcoming around its pool.

Mausolée Moulay Idriss. Jacques Bravo

above the blue spring  by Meski.

Aïn-el-Ati natural spring

The Source Aïn-El-Ati is located on the right bank of the Ziz, 25 kilometers north of the city of Erfoud. This source, was discovered in 1987, it spouts a jet of water which rises over several meters.

Carnet de voyage Merzouga, Maroc. Jacques Bravo
 

Merzouga alone sums up the  fascination of the great sand desert. Mountain of one hundred and sixty meters  only, but which dominates its corner of the Sahara because it mobilizes its  gold dust on an area of three hundred square kilometers: cairn  prodigious which marks the limit of the territory of men. She explains  also why, of Sijilmassa, only ruins of dob remain which  seem like a petrified forest emerging from nothingness. It was Babylon  sands, before the land of ghosts. It's just a memory and,  hardly, "you are dust and you will return to dust..." The wind models precarious sculptures which make all the charm of this  piece of eternity. If the water of a river never returns twice to the  same place, the dunes are never the same.  It is a mineral mass that can be rediscovered each season.

Sandstorm approaching Erfoud

La ville de Moulay Idriss.Jacques Bravo

Risani.

The wall of the ksar, the oldest still standing in Tafilalet, a real fortified town, and its small, nicely whitewashed door  of blue do not say what was the splendor of the city and its political importance. When Sijilmassa the superb,  suffocated by the sands, lost its aura, Rissani became the capital and stronghold of the Alawite tribe which was to become  dynasty. As is often the case in Morocco, it is from the desert and the mountains that spring the lifeblood that restores  blows to threatened empires. There floats around these last cities of sand a perfume of authority, of power,  that you have to know how to smell. The main principles of construction hide many differences. Their history proves it.

Merzouga.

Long forgotten by guides, the inspired dune has become a must, even for heads of state or  powerful like Hillary Clinton who wish to benefit from a diffa reminiscent of the splendor of the best films  neocolonials. Make yourself comfortable with infinity, which can become eternity for the unwary who leave  empty water bottles. It is not a sample of the desert, it is the westernmost tip of the great desert.

A strange shape of twenty kilometers by ten when seen from the sky, reshaped by the winds, anthill  for two-legged insects that go to comfortable hotels in the evening. Then regs, deposits  stones, a "lake" almost always dry, a dead lagoon wet every fifteen years, and six thousand  miles of vacuum to the Nile Valley. This is what Merzouga, another sentinel, tells us.

Campement à Merzouga

 

Tinerhir

 

Tinerhir

Tineghir lives between two worlds, the Ziz and  the Tafilalt. Placed here, on the edge of the road  Imperial. It is a door, a port, a crossroads in a land where the slightest  barley grain takes a lot of effort.  Where the loss of a goat hurts  household economy. A danger  permanent scarcity which contrasts with the  splendor of the site: the Atlas and its surprises,  the living checkerboard of the fields, the profusion  trees. Of a nature opposite to that  of Boumalne, stuck in its valley  as in a nest, Tineghir seems to me a  sentinel. Who sees far. What we see from  far. And who holds even more than what she has  promised. A crush on Tineghir?  It is said !

Tinghir.

The heart of the palm grove, these “alleys” of fine sand  which leave as much room as possible for crops.  At the end of the day, these two kids come home from the branches .

The gorges of  Todra

 

Todghra.

The river of which only the gorges remain shearing a nature hewn with an axe.  An obligatory step, already famous. This shepherd moves his meager flock  to "pastures" inaccessible to cars. A rare moment.

Other destinations

Carnet de voyage Marrakech à Merzouga, Maroc. Jacques Bravo
Carnet de voyage Haut-Atlas, Maroc. Jacques Bravo