Villages - Destination Dahar

Villages

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Villages

The villages of the Dahar Region are its most outstanding feature. In addition to the natural beauty of their sites, they are far from being simple settlements. Remarkably adapted to their natural environment, these habitats and related quarters are ingeniously designed and reveal the development by the local populations of survival and exchange strategies related to a large extent to a nomadic way of life. These strategies and related social values are still present today in the minds and hearts of the people of the Dahar Region even though nomadism was long gone.

When one travels through the Dahar, nothing in particular in the mountains seems to attract attention. But upon closer examination, one can make out the presence of constructions on top of the hills. Earth colored, these constructions seem to literally fade in the rocky landscape. It was in fact in this same landscape that the Berbers of the South-East have taken refuge 14 centuries ago pushed there by Arab invaders, and perhaps even before that.  They hung their villages on impregnable rocky outcrops such as Guermassa, Chenini, or Douiret.

Most of the mountain villages are today abandoned and only a few remain inhabited.

Chenini

Chenini is the better known of the Berber villages in the region. Still inhabited, this old village seems to defy time by mixing authenticity with modernity. Highly appreciated by tourists, it has become an unavoidable stop in the “Ksour circuit”. The high location of the village overlooking the valley and the roads below made it possible in bygone days to control an important road for the trans-Sahara trade. When the village converted to Islam, its white minaret could be seen from far away and thus became a known bearing for caravan drivers.

Star Wars fans will certainly recognize “Chenini” as the name of one of the moons of the planet Tatwin in the famous saga.

Douiret

Once a prosperous village (at the beginning of the 19th century) thanks to the trans-Sahara trade, Douiret is now almost a ghost village. Two families only are still living there today and are always happy to receive visitors.  Douiret is known for its small caves called “ghiran”, plural of “ghar” in Arabic. The landscape is magnificent and the sights from the village are glorious, probably the best in the region.  Visitors must take the time to tour the village and discover its hidden treasures such as the underground olive press, the mosque and the wall paintings inside the “ghorfas” or dwellings.

Guermessa, Toujène, Tamazret, and Zemmour

The Dahar region is literally scattered with small interesting and picturesque villages such as Toujène, Tamazret or Zemmour. Some villages, like Guermessa, are deserted; but others are still inhabited by friendly and welcoming people who are more than happy to highlight and showcase their rich heritage to the curious visitor.

Cet article est également disponible en : French