What does the word “Zakora” mean?
Opinions about the origin of the city of Zagora have been different. Some refer to Amazigh roots as the village of Wau Zakor, which is 70 km from Zakoura. In addition, in the South of Zagora region, there was a region called Zwakr locted located between the two mountains. The original name is “Tazakurt” which means a short tree with thick leaves and thorns. Also, “Azkur” in the local dialect which means treasure.
The History of the city
Based on the Hebrew sources dating back to the twelfth century AD, which is one of the oldest historical sources of the region, people of the valley of Draa are mostly Kushites of the Kush son of Ham son of Noah. The Kushites represent the majority of the population of Tazakrut fortress alongside a large group of Jews. Where the Fort Tazakurt is located in the northern slope of Zagora Mountain which consists the first nucleus of the current city of Zagora.
Attractive places in Zagora and things to do
One of the most important monuments in Zagora is Zagora Mountain, or Zagora High, which is 3000 feet high and can be reached through a small passageway that the local will happily show to you. The mountain combines the ruins of Roman monuments of a queen called Zagora, as some historical references suggest.
The Palaces and “Al Kasbat”
The city is given a special charm because of the palaces and fortresses. The palace is similar to the village, but the Kasbah may be isolated or established within the palace, which is generally the seat of the ruler. The Sand dunes or “Kasbat” extend along the streams of groundwater springs. They are formed in the form of desert islands that were used to be resting places for nomadic tribes. The palaces are usually in the form of a unified geometric design with some variation in terms of decoration in the doors, but all of them are mixture of Amazigh architectural drawings with the Islamic arts in architecture. No chamber in the Kasbah looks like the other in size, design, or location of the window. Between the rooms, there is only a high staircase, sometimes a narrow passage that you think it was meant for children only. The difference is a common feature between rooms that are only united by the wooden ceiling.
The most famous corner for learning Arabic, Holy Quran, astronomy and engineering in Morocco is located at Tamkrot. It was founded by the Sheikh Sidi Ahmed Ibn Nasser al-Nasiri, who toured the Arab countries in order to provide the Tamkrot treasury with notable books.
The Shiekh Ahmed turned the corner into a shelter to receive caravans and secure them and a hospital for complainants of mental illness. The treasury was left with only part of the books. There were four thousand books, most of which were taken to the treasury of Rabat and to an internal school for learning the Holy Quran. Every year, a revival season is held to commemorate the sheikh, where many people from Africa come to trade, visit and bless.
Things to do in Zagora:
In contrast to what may come to people’s minds that Zagora, due to its desert climate, is free of plants except for palms and other trees known for its ability to withstand climatic conditions, the vegetation of this region is diverse despite the predominance of the desert nature of its components. The location of the city gives the visitor the chance to discover some extraordinary things.
Being the oasis on Draa Valley, Morocco’s longest river despite its irregular flow, Sahrawi tourism lovers flock to Zagora throughout the year. The city has some excellent places for trekking and camels can be hired for this. People of Zagora are very helpful and welcoming and will often invite you for tea while shopping at their craft markets. Moreover, a visitor needs only one or two miles to find himself in the middle of the palms and oasis cultivation.
The camel trekking tour is considered an interesting activity at the sahara of Zagoa. Another interesting thing to do in Zgora is to participate in Zagora’s fabulous festivals such as Draa’s big event, the Moussem of Moulay Abdelkader Jilali and other national festivals like the feast of the throne.
This moussem takes place at the same time as Moulid an-Nabi, is the Drâa’s biggest shindig. Members of the Sufi Jilala brotherhood make a pilgrimage to Zagora to pay their respects, and you may hear their hypnotic music of praise and celebration with the bendir (hand-held drum).
Unexpectedly, the high temperature becomes a point of strength, rather than of weakness, as an attraction to the tourists who aim to discover desert cities climate, habits and lifestyles.