Portrait of Hassan, Key keeper of nTellah Granary (Agadir nTellah)
Panoramic portrait of the Amtoudi Granary (Agadir nTellah), Taliouine province of Southern Morocco, 2016-05-25.
The nTellah ‘agadir’ (singular form of granary in Tamazert Amazigh dialect) is a fortified Berber collective granary which dates back to a time when many southern Amazigh tribes were still nomadic.
Notoriously impossible to siege, an agadir is usually placed on top of a mountain or carved into the rocks of dramatic escarpments, strategically located on higher ground beyond settlements, with good vantage points.
Traditionally, one security guard known as an ‘amin,’ stood at the only entrance to each structure and would defend the building from any potential thieves and bandits.
The amin was also responsible for holding the keys to the main door and all the chambered storage rooms inside, a tradition which is still kept alive today. This responsibility has always been a well respected role within the local communities surrounding the granaries and each appointed guard serves for a fixed number of years, rotating the privilege among members of the local communities.
Hassan is the current key keeper of this granary who lives in a house just next door. He explained that due to this particular granary being located in a remote region of the Souss Massa Draa region, few tourists come to visit the structure.