And what exactly is a Kasbah? We spent a fair amount of time in Morocco trying to wrap our heads around this very question.
At first, we understood a Kasbah to be another term for “fortress” and in fact, that is partially true. Every Moroccan village has a Kasbah where either the ruling sheik or a king once lived. Kasbahs provide a high vantage point from which to watch for approaching and possibly unwanted visitors. Generally, they look like mud castles, coming in many shapes and sizes, with high walls made of layered dirt and stone, and very few windows.
An entire town can be considered a Kasbah but sometimes the Kasbah is a just a single building. The most beautiful kasbah that I visited in Morocco was the Kasbah of Rabat. This Kasbah, built during the reign of the Almohads, was completed in 544 and overlooks the Atlantic Ocean – considered at that time to be the western edge of the world.
Its winding stone streets and rich indigo walls were dramatic and enticing. And of course, I could only imagine Charles Boyer (Algiers) whispering “Come Weeth Me To Ze Kasbah” as I explored these narrow passages.