The fortress of Iguiliz, founded in 1121 and only 60 kilometers south-east of Taroudant, is an amazing archaeological monument whose locations have defined the history of medieval Morocco. The fortress is positioned on a rocky outcrop, like an eagle’s nest, and overlooks the Arghen country.
Iguiliz has piqued the interest of archaeologists and historians since its discovery in 2005 by a team of Moroccan and French researchers; it was in this location that Ibn Tûmart, the Almohad Empire’s symbolic founder, was born and raised.
Travel back in time to the Moroccan Middle Ages with a guide and enjoy a breathtaking view!
It is somewhat challenging to reach the Ribat or refuge of Iguiliz! The archaeological site, perched at 1354m, is only accessible via an interminable steep path that winds around the mountain’s northern slope. The Kasbah was capable of resisting attacks because of its strategic location, even when it became the stronghold of the Almohad reform, a religious and political movement launched by Ibn Tûmart that would lead to the establishment of the Almohad Empire.
Archaeological excavations have revealed two distinct areas: The eastern summit provides access to the stronghold and establishes the first defensive lines. There is also a metallurgical activity sector. Collective housing, service rooms, a cult area and a big mosque are all part of the central summit. The entire structure is surrounded by a high wall and a low enclosure with two doors. As a result, the fortress served as a community refuge, gathering place, and religious place.
Today, the locations are just ruins, the most visible of which are in the downtown center. An invaluable treasure that completes Morocco’s unique history. Since 2020, the SDTR has been conducting a rehabilitation operation on the property.
Iguiliz can be visited on foot during a trek over diverse landscapes. Enter the palm grove from Tamgounsa village and explore the routes through the beautiful greenery. Under the shade of palm trees, you’ll pass through thyme and lavender fields dotted with argan and fig trees.
The scenery changes at Souk Larbaa Magnoun, with vegetation giving place to arid and rocky plains. Follow the track in the middle of a lunar-like environment. Then pass through the Iguiliz massif to reach its northeast flank, then climb the steep trail. When you reach the top, you will be rewarded with panoramic landscapes of the surrounding valleys and reliefs.
The location of the citadel of Iguiliz, mentioned in literature as the birthplace of the Almohad Empire and Ibn Tûmart, remained unknown for a long time. A Franco-Moroccan archaeological mission managed to identify its location in 2005, thanks to the work and visits of researchers Ali Azaiko, Mustapha Nami, and Abdelhamid Mouradi al-Baâmrani.
This mission, led by A. Fili of Chouaib Doukkali University, JP Staëvel from Paris-Sorbonne University, and A. Ettahiri of INSAP, received the Simone and Cino Del Duca Foundation Archeology award in 2015.