Many travelers, who decide to spend a few days in the seaside resort of Saidia, decide to end their holidays undertaking a drive route that transports them to the Oasis of Figuig, an idyllic palm grove bordering Algeria and near to Atlas Mountains.
For centuries the place has been devoted to the cultivation of dates and cereals due to the underground springs that turned the area into a true orchard in the middle of the Sahara desert.
There currently reside around 15,000 people who have basically made agriculture their way of life. They are divided into seven communities, grouped into seven ‘agram‘ or mini populations, which used the materials found in the desert and the oasis to make a sort of mud dwellings with thatched roof or palm leafs.
The agram closed with walls and doors, which were used as a defense system of the city. With the passage of time and the growth of each agram they ended merging into a single city: the current Figuig.
The walk to the oasis from Saidia is well worth it because Figuig has always been excluded from trade routes; in fact, even today is one of the great unknown of Morocco.
This isolation has favored the permanence of the purest traditions and customs, so the traveler must prepare for an exciting journey, a kind of time machine that takes us back to Morocco for centuries.
The palm is the first thing you see in the distance, letting us know that we approach our destination, where nowadays several Moroccan and Spanish scientific communities are working attempting to restore the quality water of the artesian wells.
A more aggressive agriculture in recent years has driven down the groundwater level, causing it to become increasingly saline. Efforts in this oasis of the Sahara are intended to return to native agriculture, more environmentally and sustainable, which will return purity to the water.
Public Domain Image: Wiki/Aajaja