Tizgui Granary (Agadir Tizgui) Berber Architecture
The exterior of the Tizgui Granary (Agadir Tizgui), Taliouine province, Souss Massa Draa, Southern Morocco, 2nd June 2016.
The word ‘Tizgui’ translates as ‘suspended’ in the Amazigh Tamazert dialect. It is one of the more remote granaries in the Taliouine province, requiring a trek by foot, mule or 4WD to access it.
The Tizgui ‘agadir’ (singular form of granary in Tamazert Amazigh dialect) is a fortified Berber collective granary which is estimated to be 800 years old, a time when many southern Amazigh tribes were still nomadic.
With hundreds dotted about the southern regions alone, the structures embody a culmination of all the brilliant social and technical innovations of the Berber tribes.
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.
These collective keeps were built out of necessity in a harsh environment and have become disused and abandoned as tribes have modernized. Their inaccessibility has made them difficult to repair and restore, with knowledge of the buildings slowly disappearing with them.
Tizgui is located in the Taliouine Province, a region famed for it’s ability to cultivate high quality saffron. The crops which are agriculturally viable amid the dramatic climate conditions of the Anti Atlas, such as saffron, almonds, and argan are high in value, with saffron only offering a short annual harvesting window and the stigmas needing optimum storage conditions to preserve life span. Everything from important documents, money and jewellery to the seasons harvest could be stored inside the locked chambers. These well ventilated, shaded rooms built from thick stone walls remain at cool temperatures during high heats. It is possible for grains to be stored in some agadir chambers for up to 25 years, and natural butter for 10 (which is also believed to h