About 30 kilometres to the South of the red city of Marrakech in the direction of Lalla Takerkoust lake, a small festival takes place in memory of the saint Moulay Abdellah Ben Hussain. This festival is called the Tamaslouht Musem (festival) and Tbourida (fantasia) and it occurs on the last week of January.
On the first day or Tamaslouht, occurs the Tbourida, or fantasia. This is where the various clans of Marrakech have the opportunity to compete against each other using Berber horses, which are known throughout Morocco for their strength and beauty.
The competition determines the strength of the relationship between rider and horse, and the coordination skills of a score of riders representing a clan. The riders leader, called a Cheikh or Kaid is responsible for organising the clan into a circular ring (called a Serba) and instructing them to watch carefully for his signal once the competition begins.
When the competition is in full effect, the riders must be ready at a moments notice to recognise the Kaid’s secret signal, so that they can rally their horses shoot the gunpowder they use (called Baroud) into the air in complete unison.
Both rider and horse don the colours and style of their respective tribes, and where in centuries past these competitions were engaged with only by men, in modern times women too are allowed to try their hand.
After the first day of Tbourida draws to a close, festival goers then join the Musem, involving children’s games and circus acrobatics. Another important feature that plays into effect over the course of the four days is the trance-like music of Gnawa and Issawa, which is played ritually throughout the Musem. This music is intended to incite a spiritual and calming atmosphere, whereupon festival goers can invoke the blessing of the saint Moulay Abdellah Ben Hussain.
The Tamaslouht Musem and Tbourida festival, and many others like it are commonplace in the ancient city of Marrakech. Explore the red city today in one of our luxury Riad Hotels.
The Koutoubia mosque was built in the 12th century under the Caliph Yaqub al-Mansur to be the crowning glory of his North African based empire, it is indeed today still the largest mosque to be found in Marrakech today. The structure stands 69 metres tall towering over the surrounding city, which considering its placement in the Medina is not particularly difficult, it is however still an impressive structure by any account. However it was during the period of imperialism under the French that it was decreed that no structure in the rest of marrakech was permitted to be taller than the Koutoubia, thereby sealing the Mosques place in Marrakech’s architectural history. The name of the Koutoubia derives from the Arabic for library as the mosque used to be surrounded by sellers of religious manuscripts thereby gaining the mosque literary connotations that led to it being quasi designated a library. Although the actual mosque itself does not permit non-muslims to enter a non-muslim can still observe the majesty of the mosque from the outside of the Building.
The hall within the mosque is one of the largest of its kind and has the capacity to house up to 25,00 people at any one time. Adjacent to the mosque are archaeological remains of the original mosque which it is believed was rebuilt to correct its orientation to Mecca. These remains are accessible to visitors and can be seen through glazed protective cases. The fabulous Rose gardens adjacent to the Mosque are an oasis of calm in the city used by locals and tourists alike, a must for your Marrakech holiday. The Avenue Mohammed V runs adjacent to the mosque and can be used to take oneself directly to the Guelliz ditrict where one can find many a trendy bar and restaurant. All this a mere 15 minute walk from our wonderful Riads in the heart of Marrakechs historic Medina district. Reserve a room now to avoid disappointment.