Just a short journey south of Agadir but a whole world apart, Tiznit is a traditional town sandwiched between the Atlantic coast and the Anti-Atlas Mountains to the west and east. It's a small pink-walled Medina, built by Sultan Moulay Hassan in the middle of the 19th century to stabilize the dissident South. Tiznit first established a reputation by settling Jewish "silver artisans" within the walls of the city. Today, the surrounding areas are laid to agriculture, but Tiznit has retained an unparalleled reputation for metalwork and silver jewellery, as can be seen in the jewellers' souk. The walls, buildings and ancient alleyways of the Medina have all the ingredients for a fascinating visit and is a very good place to start for the ‘not so seasoned beginner tourist’ in Morocco. Tiznit is also a good base to enjoy the national park and wildlife sanctuary to the north and the desert to the south.
Things to See & Do
Every Thursday it is ‘souk day’. The ambulating souks of this region come together in Tiznit, making up the largest market within miles. Such markets are exotic to visitors, but they are really just a necessary part of everyday life. They are not set up for tourists, they are real. Of course, shopping is considered as fun here as everywhere else, but there is a pragmatic touch to it all, as this is really among the better places to buy everything from new clothes to vegetables. Tiznit is famous for its Berber silver jewellery and the jewellers' souk is not to be missed.
As most Moroccan cities, Tiznit consists of two parts: the newer part outside the city walls and the less newer part inside the city walls (medina). Tiznit is not old, the boom came about 100 years ago. It is a huge group of salmon red houses with blue iron doors. And then in summer there is the burning sun. It is a comparatively young city, but constructed after old patterns. The old city (or the not-so-young part of the city) is modernistic in a way.
Entering one of the gates to the old fortified town of Tiznit, there is a large Muslim cemetery with a very important white "Marabou's" tomb. From here you can easily get to "Source Bleu" (Blue Source or Spring), a place dedicated to the town patroness Lalla Tiznit, which tells the story that she was a prostitute, who later came to repent her sins, and become a holy woman (marabouta). The place is not very clean nowadays, but it is said that at the place where she settled, a spring appeared, providing for her and other people settling down here.
Tiznit has the first example of a typical Saharan minaret in Morocco. Perches punctuate the corners of the minaret of the Grand Mosque, an architectural element central to mosques in Niger and Mali. This mosque is a strangely simple, yet alluring heart of Tiznit.