Zagora: Morocco’s doorway to Sahara Desert

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Zagora: Even though only some Moroccans have heard of Zagora, this city is becoming a well-known holiday destination among foreign vacationers.

Zagora: Morocco’s doorway to Sahara Desert

Zagora: Morocco’s doorway to Sahara Desert

The city of Zagora situates at the foot of Anti-Atlas Mountains and on the coast of the Draa Valley in South Eastern Morocco. Zagora’s attraction is primarily ascribed to the great Draa Valley, which is still a home for some of Morocco’s tribes. The name Zagora is originated from “Tazagort,” a mountain by the seashore of Draa Valley having a view over the city.

The prehistoric name of the town was “Draa,” mentioning to the valley. Not until the twentieth century was the town renamed “Zagora” even if some Bedouins in the vicinity still refer to the town as “Draa” in their every day discussions.

In the sixteenth century, Zagora played an significant role in Morocco’s trade under the Saadyin empire. Trade caravans passed through the Draa Valley when coming from the sub-Saharan regions and headed to their final destination, Marrakech.

Zagora and its surrounding regions became important spiritual and scientific centers under the Saadyin dynasty’s rule. This is evidenced by the various “Zaouias”* and “shrines,” which fascinate visitors and students who seek knowledge and spiritual blessing. Zaouia Nassiria in Tamegroute, near Zagora city, is one of the scientific centers, where a collection of very old books and scripts are conserved, marking a splendid history of the nation.

Zagora’s historical monuments and natural features are what captivate foreign visitors most. Tourists from major European nations, such as Germany, Switzerland and France, tour to Morocco to travel around Zagora. The region still conserves several Kasbahs and old castles that mark previous age. Also, the Sahara desert landscapes of sand dunes and “Hamadas”* is also worth locating.

Mohamed Dekkak