The Historical Town of Tiznit

Located near the Atlantic coast, in the Souss-Massa-Drâa region of Morocco, the town of Tiznit was founded by Sultan Moulay Hassan in 1881 in order for him to control rebel Berber tribes in the area. Built as a fortress town, the older area of Tiznit is contained by fortified walls, with the newer parts of the town spreading around the outside of the historic walls.

It was in Tiznit that pretender to the sultanate of Morocco, and leader of an armed resistance to French colonial rule in the region, Ahmed al-Hiba, declared himself to be Sultan of Tiznit in 1912. Through uniting the tribes of the Anti-Atlas Mountains, al-Hiba managed to conquer the Sous. As the French encroached on Marrakech, having occupied the towns of Casablanca and Oujda, in September 1912 al-Hiba engaged French forces in a conflict that came to be known as the Battle of Sidi Bou Othman. The French prevailed and captured the city of Marrakech, annexing southern Morocco as a French protectorate. Al-Hiba was driven back to the Sous where he continued to battle against the French until he died in June 1919.

The buildings in the older part of Tiznit are painted uniformly salmon pink, with blue doors and shutters. Painted in the same salmon pink color and featuring a typical Saharan minaret, the mosque is a prominent landmark in Tiznit. One of the attractions in the town is the spring of Lalla Tiznit, named for a woman who was a prostitute, but repented of her sins and later became a marabouta, or holy woman. It is said that when she made these changes in her life, a spring appeared, providing water for her and other residents of the settlement.

The population of Tiznit is around 50,000 and visitors will find a number of basic hotels, as well as restaurants and fast food outlets specializing in tasty Moroccan cuisine.