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ruins of Sijilmassa

Sijilmasa (or Sijilmassa) was a mediaeval trade centre in the western Maghreb.


Sijilmasa was an oasis town south west of Fez on the northern edge of the Sahara, overlooking the Ziz River. It was established by Sufris in 757. Up until the 11th century, it was, as the exit-point for the western Trans-Sahara trade route, one of the most important trade centers in the Maghreb. Sijilmasa became very wealthy through trade with Ghana, above all through the exchange of luxury items from the Mediterranean for gold.


On account of its wealth, the city was able to assert its independence under the Miknasa tribe as a Kharijite Emirate ruled by the Midrarid dynasty, freeing itself from the Abbasid Caliphate as early as 771. In alliance with the Caliphate of Córdoba it was also able to remain apart from the Fatimids of Ifriqiya in the 10th century. However, when the Miknasa allied themselves with the Fatimids, they were dislodged by the Berber Maghrawa tribe, who were allied with the Umayyads of Córdoba.


Under the Maghrawa the city retained its role as a trade centre, but came increasingly into conflict with the Sanhaja, a nomad tribe of the Sahara. In 1054, Ibn Yasin allied the Almoravids with the Sanhaja and captured Sijilmasa in 1054, imposing his rigorous interpretation of Islam. A revolt quickly followed (1055), in the course of which the Almoravids were defeated and their leader Yahya ibn Umar killed. His successor Abu-Bakr Ibn-Umar put down the rebellion in 1056 and laid waste to Sijilmasa, which never recovered its status a centre of trade.


Although it was destroyed again in 1363, it was rebuilt under the orders of Sultan Moulay Ismail in the 18th century. It was conquered and destroyed - once again - by the nomadic tribes of Ait Atta in 1818. Today, the ruins of Sijilmassa are recognized by the World Monuments Fund as an endangered site, and preserved by the Moroccan Ministry of Culture.

Text from Wikipedia








The Grave Yard


simple grave











tomb of a Holy Man

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