A kasbah is a traditional North-African fortress. All pre-colonial villages and cities of some size used to have (and in many cases still have) a kasbah. The kasbah was where the local ruler or feudal master could be found, and where the populace fled to when there was trouble.

Like any fortress, a kasbah is usually situated at a good point in the landscape: on top of a hill or mountain or near the approach to a harbour. A kasbah is designed to be easily defended, with high walls and small (if any) windows. The architecture of the kasbah depends on its location and usually reflects the local customs. In the south of Morocco, for example, kasbahs are made from the local materials: bricks made from local clay, palm wood and bamboo, all daubed with red mud and straw. In the north of Morocco, kasbahs tend to be built from stone.

A very well-preserved Moroccan kasbah can be found in Ouarzazate. Many movies have been filmed there, including Lawrence of Arabia and The Sheltering Sky.

Find more information and pictures at http://i-cias.com/cgi-bin/eo-direct.pl?ouarzazt.htm

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