Riad Dades is an ancient fortress build in the 16th century as a major tower to control the access to the Berber village Ait Ibrirne, the restoration of the the Kasbah started in 2011. It took us 4 entire years to restore each part of it, as our aim was to make it an ideal place for the travelers who seek the experience of the Berber traditions and real Berber life and discover the architecture of the soil. Walking in the surrounding gardens of the Riad, in the verdant landscapes where you can relax on your chair in several seating areas enjoy a nap under the sun or in the shade of long trees you will breath easy in the fresh sweet country air.
The usual construction system of all described architectural models is the adobe or rammed soil, which consists in piling the damp earth -without straw- in a wooden form-work and to ram it down to give it consistency. Once completed a bit of wall, form-work is removed immediately and sticks that supported it leave the adobe buildings characteristic holes, but they can also be clogged with soil.
The other traditional construction system is the mud and straw bricks dried by the sun, called adobes. With these bricks, bound together by the same mud and straw mixture, are constructed the thin walls in the second or third floor, pillars, arches and decoration.
The ceilings of Dades valley are made with reeds on trunks of palm tree, poplar or tamarisk. These reeds are sometimes substituted by oleander stems that can perform geometric designs. On the reeds once was palm leaf mat or old tissue, but today people prefer plastic. The whole set is covered with a soil layer of almost 20 centimeters.
The walls and roofs are coated inside and outside with the same mixture of mud and straw, which can withstand twenty years in the first case but should be renewed almost every year on the terraces. In the early 20th century people began to use also plaster, but only in guest rooms of the houses and in the praying room of the mosques.
The most common traditional architectural model in the Dades Valley is the Ighrm, called Ksar in Arabic language. It’s a village surrounded by a wall with watchtowers, one or more monumental entrances and some common facilities inside, between which is always a mosque.
The other classic model is the Kasbah, name that began to be used under the French protectorate to translate the Berber word Tighremt, diminutive of Ighrem. Indeed, it is a much smaller fortification: a single building to house a powerful family. Its plan is usually square with four corner towers and this sometimes an internal court.
Outside the Ighrm, usually in the cemetery, there is always one or many shrines covering the graves of Sufi masters or other people considered holy by the community. These mausoleums are supposed to protect the village and receive pious visits, especially by women. Its shape can be very diverse, but they are all characterized by its central dome.
On the high points close to the valley, many watchtowers allowed once notify the presence of enemies at long range. Today they are almost all disappeared and the only seen, near waterfalls, is in ruins.
The arrangement of the adobes allows creating many geometric figures on the highest points of the walls and towers, as well as entries of Ksour and Kasbahs. Walls are crowned with triangular battlements and windows, very small, are surrounded by a frame of lime or plaster.
Today most of this traditional architecture has been replaced by a new style, made of concrete and based on hybrid influences. It takes from Europe its outside form, from Moroccan cities its domestic distribution of space and keeps the local tradition in the decorative shaped triangular niche over its large windows.