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

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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.

Seven Saints, Marrakech

Many religious figures are buried in Marrakech but in the seventeenth century the Moulay Ismail assigned particular significance to seven such men (loosely translated as the seven saints) with diverse backgrounds each in their own way significant to the history of Marrakech and the Kingdom of Morocco. A traditional pilgrimage has been respected since the time of Moulay Ismail in which over the course of a day pilgrims visit the seven in a particular order starting with Sidi Youssef Ben Ali in the South East of the medina and proceeding anticlockwise.

City of the Seven Men

In the rest of Morocco Marrakech is still often known to as the City of the Seven Men and a trip to Marrakech could be referred to as a visit to the Seven Men.

Sidi Youssef Ben Ali. A twelfth century leper.

Caid Ayad. An eleventh century theologian.

Sidi Bel Abbes. A great patron of the poor and particularly the blind in the twelfth century, even today food is distributed regularly at his tomb or Zaouia. The most important of the Seven, sometimes referred to as the Patron Saint of Marrakech.

Sidi Ben Slimane. A descendant of the prophet Mohammed and renowned sixteenth century theologian.

Sidi Abd El Aziz. A fifteenth century theologian. His mausoleum is very near to Rue Baroudiyine a short walk from Marrakech Riad Cinnamon.

Sidi Moulay el Ksour. A follower of Sidi Abdel Aziz who led the resistance to the Portugese when they attacked Marrakech in the early sixteenth century.

Sidi Es Souheili. A twelfth century scholar of Islamic law.

Marrakech Jemaa al Fnaa Map

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