Amerco Castle


Historical monuments indicate a diverse historical and cultural depth steeped in authenticity and heritage, and express the civilization of nations that have passed from some places and left their mark, and the entrances to cities and mountain peaks are the favorite places to build forts and castles, including Amerco Castle in central Morocco, which was classified as a world heritage a year ago.

Amerco Castle linguistically and historically

Amerko Castle, which means quail in Amazigh, was given this name due to the castle being located in a crossing area whereas this bird is in the migration season from Europe to Africa.

In repelling the aggression of the revolutionaries and rebels, and confronting the attack of the Almohads, in the year 1145 AH, where the Almoravids took refuge there after Abdel Moumen Ben Ali’s control over the metropolis of Fez, before this impregnable fortress surrendered after a violent siege.

It regained its defensive role during the period of French colonization of Morocco, where the French resorted to it against the Mujahideen revolutionaries, Abdul Karim Al-Khattabi, specifically in the historic Battle of Anwal that occurred on June 22, 1921.

This castle was mentioned in some history books, including the book Description of Africa by Al-Hasan Al-Wazzan, where it is mentioned that its foundation dates back to the Roman era, as evidenced by the presence of some Latin writings on the walls and walls of the castle.

The general geometric shape also takes on a Roman character, and does not differ much from the city of Volubilis in the Meknes region in Central Morocco.

With the development of new archaeological studies, at the hands of some French researchers who they proved that this castle was not from the remains of the Roman or Portuguese civilization that passed through this region in pre-Islamic times, it dates back to the Almoravid era, which ruled North Africa, between 1056 and 1147 AD, and its edges extended over a wide geographical area starting from the Atlantic ocean in the west to Chinguetti and the Senegal River basin in the south, it extended beyond the Mediterranean to include areas in Andalusia.

Amerco Castle is one of the landmarks of this powerful Islamic state that built in the middle of the eleventh century AD, and so after it was believed that it was a remnant of previous civilizations, before the spread of Islam in the north Africa, due to the geometry of its circular towers that resemble Latin architecture, has turned out to be an authentic cultural and Islamic heritage, perhaps the artist benefited from previous nations and developed his tools to design a military structure that responds to the need to survive and defend the state’s existence during periods of power struggle.

A castle on the top of a mountain

Amerco Castle is located on the highest mountain peak in the Taounate province, central Morocco, overlooking the Ouargha plateau, 50 kilometers northwest of the city of Fez, and not far from the grave of one of the righteous, namely Wali Moulay Bouchti Al-Khimar, near the village of Bamhamed, which is a strategic location of great military importance, due to its presence in a high place and close to some cities, where it provides protection and repels aggression, as soldiers can obtain It has abundant food due to the location's proximity to fields, orchards, fresh water sources, and roadways.

This military landmark occupies the entire area at the top of the mountain, where the castle walls cling to the sides and slopes of the high mountain and its sever decline, which reminds us of some similar castles in Andalusia.

The area of this castle extends approximately 1.4 hectares, taking a rectangular shape, its length is 225 meters, and its width is about 62 meters high, has three doors, and is surrounded by a wall built of stones, containing 14 circular towers, it includes four chapters.

It is noted that this castle has two fortifications: the first is internal, which is the first or original old Kasbah, and it contains underground warehouses for storing foodstuffs and collecting rainwater, and they also contain traces of old, dilapidated buildings, as for the second fortification, it is external, its wall is about 1.45 meters thick, and the main door was built in it, for the castle with brick material.

This entrance is a convex arch, similar to ancient Roman architecture, and leads to a rectangular main hall, in shape, it opens into another square hall, and in the middle, there is a third hall that was intended for the residence of the commander of the army, and inside there are also traces of many burial mounds that were prepared to hide weapons and other necessary items the castle was responsible for managing the lives of its inhabitants.

Historical value and tourism investment

Due to the importance of the castle’s high location at the top of the mountain, this allows preventing any intrusion, attack or a threat, which made it an impregnable fortress and a cultural heritage that dates to an important era in military history and jihad (fight)  for the sake of protecting the country's security and stability.

Although several centuries have passed since the construction of this historical landmark, it has remained steadfast in the face of circumstances the difficult climate at the top of the mountain, with strong winds, intense erosion factors, and the effects of sabotage and destruction that occurred over time, which made the Ministry of Culture in Morocco think about restoring it, which it set about doing.

 Indeed, the maintenance and rehabilitation work of this castle has begun, with the completion of restorations that included the fences, walls, doors, towers, and all facilities of this historic fort, restoring some of its ancient glory.

Today, Amerkou Castle, or quail, according to the local Amazigh language, is a popular place for tourists, due to its proximity to the cities of Fez and Taounate, in a geographical location that allows seeing the distant horizon, as far as the eye can see, which overlooks the Unity Dam, the largest dam in Morocco, and the second largest dam in Africa after the Dam High in Egypt, where a view of a vast lake extending over dozens of kilometers can be seen from this castle of water, blue skies, and green fields, which qualifies this castle to receive thousands of visitors, explorers and adventurers, from Morocco and beyond, where the magnificence of history and the steadfastness of urbanism stand in the face of the tyranny of nature and the power of human will.

Finally, preserving the historical monuments of Islamic civilization is considered a protection of human memory and the glory of a struggling nation, and the struggle people against slavery.

It is no secret that the greatness of a country is not measured only by its present, but also by the remains that its land stores, heritage and antiquities that remind of events and achievements that bear witness to the culture of charity and the dominance of the values of perfection in Islamic society which prevailed thanks to his commitment to the morals of Islam, which calls for protecting homelands and spreading the values of work and construction.

It was a renaissance of arts, crafts, crafts, and handicrafts that contributed to the development of urbanization, thanks to a creative person his work was of extreme quality and mastery, to the point that it enabled him to build a castle in the most difficult place to build, which is the top of a mountain exposed to constant winds, soil erosion, and factors of demolition and destruction, and with all these risks and challenges,  this man was able to build an impenetrable fortress, whose features remain a witness to the strength of the forearms when they want to raise the word of God, God helps whoever helps him.             
























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