Igîlîz, un site imprenable

Igîlîz, un site imprenable

L'Anti-Atlas à perte de vue

Au sommet de l'éperon rocheux

Au sommet de l'éperon rocheux

Une configuration destinée à se protéger des assaillants.

Archéologue à l'oeuvre

Archéologue à l'oeuvre

Chaque année, le site livre de nouveaux secrets.

Travaux archéologiques

Travaux archéologiques

Une campagne annuelle est menée en avril, lorsque la chaleur n'est pas trop accablante.

Découvertes récentes

Découvertes récentes

La forteresse comprenait une mosquée principale et une résidence seigneuriale

L'Empire almohade partit d'Igîlîz

L'Empire almohade partit d'Igîlîz

Il s'étendit durant plus d'un siècle à l'Afrique du Nord mais aussi à El Andalous, l'Espagne et une partie du Portugal actuels.

Igîlîz: unknown and fascinating archaeological site

Recently discovered, the archaeological site of Igîlîz is of exceptional interest. In the early 1120s, the fortress of Igîlîz was the starting point of a religious revolution that would lead to the founding of the Almohad Empire, the most powerful empire known to the Muslim West during the time. medieval. These ruins, the trace of which was long lost, are perched on a spur intended to resist the attackers and from which one enjoys a breathtaking view of the surrounding valleys and mountains. They are located about sixty kilometers from Taroudant . It can be reached in two hours from the Jardin aux Etoiles.

Many historians thought that the origin of the Almohads was in Tinmel, a city created beyond the tizi n'Tes t, a hundred kilometers from Marrakech by Ibn Tumert (also spelled Ibn Tumart), founder of the Empire almohad. Today in Tinmel there is only a very visited mosque .

Igîlîz becomes a fortress

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In reality, Ibn Toumert , born in a douar near Igîlîz, took refuge in this landlocked stronghold of the Arghen tribe when the Almoravids drove him from Marrakech. He then claimed to be "impeccable imam" and professed a rigorous morality condemning any distraction including music.

Ibn Toumert knew the impregnable character of this spur. He made it into a fortress. From approximately 1120 to 1124, during his first sermons, he gathered around him the surrounding Berber tribes, peasants, devotees and warriors. He won his first confrontations against the Almoravids. Shortly after, he decided to set up his headquarters in Tinmel.

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Discovered in 2004

Ibn Toumert's initial journey and the genesis of the Almohad Empire have only recently been understood. Historians were looking for the location of this long-forgotten fortress, but could not locate it until, in 2004, a Franco-Moroccan archaeological mission managed to get their hands on it. This mission was led by Abdallah Fili, from the University of El Jadida, and Jean-Pierre Van Staëvel, from the University of Paris-Sorbonne, as well as Ahmed Ettahiri from the National Institute of Archaeological Sciences and heritage. The trio relied on medieval written Arabic sources and on the works of their predecessors.

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In 2015, the mission received, with great fanfare, the Archeology Prize from the Simone and Cino Del Duca Foundation.

In addition to this, you need to know more about it.

In addition to this, you need to know more about it.

In addition to this, you need to know more about it.

In addition to this, you will need to know more about it.

In addition to this, you need to know more about it.

A large stately home

The archaeological excavations carried out each year have so far uncovered a large stately residence made up in particular of rooms grouped around a courtyard, which could have been intended for Ibn Toumert. A fairly modest mosque has been excavated. Triangular, it faces due south, as was the case in the early days of Islam. Igîlîz included two other smaller mosques.

We have also identified places of teaching and preaching. Traces of furniture, bread ovens, as well as metal tools and thousands of ceramic pieces have been found which provide a better understanding of the rural civilization that populated Igîlîz. The archaeologists also shed light on a better understanding of the site's military system, in particular the fortifications.

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The mountain of Igîlîz conceals a little-known part of the advent of the Almohads , who ended up conquering North Africa as far as Libya, as well as El Andalous, that is to say a large part of present-day Spain. Disappeared around 1130, Ibn Toumert did not live this glorious expansion. The Almohad Empire weakened from 1212. In 1269, it was eliminated by the Merinids.

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A path that climbs seriously

To visit Igîlîz, a good car is necessary. We leave Route 109 on the left, as our Google map shows below, to enter the domain of the Arghen tribe . This last name is also that of the wadi (assif in Berber) which hollowed out the valley.

The road turns and crosses magnificent wild landscapes. One arrives at Souk Larbaa Magnoun , which is part of the rural commune of Toughmart (also spelled Toughmert). From Souk Larbaa Magnoun, you have to bypass the djebel d'Igîlîz, which requires asking a passer-by for the way, who will gladly tell you. The road becomes a track, sometimes somewhat steep.

A little below the village of Tifigit, you leave your car in a sort of mini-parking lot , in order to climb up on foot. This is the only access to Igîlîz. It is possible to rent a donkey if you do not feel like you are being attacked. The trail climbs seriously. However, you just have to adapt your pace to your possibilities.

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At the top, the reward is there: walls reconstructed with the seriousness of archaeologists who first wanted to understand how the site was structured before undertaking work that could have turned out to be premature or counterproductive.

An explanatory path via an application

A site enhancement program is underway. “We have started discussions with the various actors of the Ministry of Culture, the municipality of Toughmart and the province of Taroudant to be able to promote the site. The Directorate of Cultural Heritage has built an Archeology House on site. This makes it possible to perpetuate archaeological research and especially to promote the work already carried out at the local level, ”explains Abdellah Fili. This House of Archeology is made available exclusively to archaeologists. It cannot be visited.

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The enhancement of the site will probably take the form, at the top, of an explanatory path, which can be followed via an application.

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If the day of discovery is prolonged, the Talbourine mountain lodge can prove to be saving (call Farid Tayeb +212 662 786 277). It is located inside the village of Souk Larbaa Magnoun (arriving from Taroudant, take the road to Toughmart, after crossing the bridge). Please note: the cottage was closed during our visit, in April 2019! It is therefore strongly recommended to ensure that it is open and, failing this, to return to the Souss plain at nightfall at the latest.

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Photo credit: Archaeological mission of Igîlîz and Pluri-Médias

 
Access to Igîlîz   in just under two hours from the Jardin aux Etoiles. Google does not recognize Igîlîz , the destination "Morocco" shows the road to the village of Tifigit. Leave the car below this village.