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Berber home tour: Step inside the enchanting world of an Amazigh home in Ourika, Morocco

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Berbers, also called Amazigh or Imazighen, are an ethnic group indigenous to the Maghreb region of North Africa.

The Berber culture is one of the oldest and richest in the world, with roots that can be traced back to ancient times. From the rich tapestry of their nomadic traditions to the intricate hand-crafted jewelry, the Berbers are a people deeply rooted in their history and culture.

This is reflected in the design of their homes, which embody their ancestors’ timeless values and customs. With our Berber home tour, we will explore the traditional Berber houses, the values and layout intrinsic to their design, and how they function perfectly in harmony with nature. Read more on the importance of preserving traditional crafts

donkey with farmer in Ourika, Morocco

I recently visited an Amazigh (Berber) home in Ourika, Morocco. Located in the High Atlas Mountains, Ourika is a small village surrounded by breathtaking views of the mountains and the lush greenery of the valley. The Berber people have lived in the region for thousands of years, and their homes are a testament to their rich cultural heritage and close connection to nature.


Amazigh houses are the epitome of timeless beauty and tradition. Built to withstand the harsh, arid climates of the North African regions, these homes are a testament to the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the Amazigh people. Because the houses are made of natural materials, nature will reclaim any old abandoned houses.


One of the most interesting aspects of Amazigh homes is the way they are integrated into the surrounding landscape. The homes are often built into the side of a hill or into a rocky outcropping, and they are designed to blend seamlessly into the natural environment.

This connection to nature is an important part of Berber culture and reflects the deep respect that the Amazigh people have for the environment.


Amazigh home interiors are not only beautiful and functional, but they are also an important part of the local economy. Many of the homes in Ourika are used as guesthouses and provide a unique and authentic experience for travelers who are looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. These guesthouses offer visitors a chance to experience traditional Berber hospitality and learn about the rich cultural heritage of the Amazigh people.


Kitchen As you can see, things get cooked either on a fire or in a wood-fired clay oven as there’s no electricity. But luckily their water is fresh it comes from the Ourika River, and flows underneath their homes. Many homes have a hole in the floor where you can see the water flowing, so it's an easy way to get a glass of water or wash the dishes.

Ourika Berber kitchen with open fire

Interior

One of the most striking aspects of Amazigh homes is their intricate decoration.

The homes are decorated with intricate geometric patterns and symbols, which are meant to bring good luck and protect the inhabitants from evil spirits.

The decorations are typically done in earthy colors, such as red, yellow, and orange, which are meant to reflect the natural surroundings of the High Atlas Mountains.


In addition to their beautiful decoration, Amazigh homes are also designed to be functional and sustainable. The homes are built with thick walls to keep out the cold in the winter and provide insulation from the heat in the summer.

The homes are also designed to maximize natural light and ventilation, with large openings and balconies that provide views of the surrounding landscape.

Berber living room and outside hammam

Living room and bedroom

Moroccan seating typically has a casual and low style. Typical Moroccan sofas consist of wooden benches with soft cushions on top. Cushions are usually colorful and patterned, and plump cushions and rich throws are placed on the seats for extra comfort.

Seats of this type may also function as daybeds and some families may use them as sleeping areas. It is also known as a Sedari, a traditional Moroccan seating arrangement.

In Berber homes, floor-style seating may still be the norm, with beautiful woven rugs and embellished cushions serving as the primary seating area.


Hammam

The clay building in the picture above is a traditional Berber hammam, which is an authentic bathroom where you can wash or shampoo. Having a wash in this heated room is a pleasant experience, as well as being able to relax and chat while doing so.

There is no limit to the amount of time you can spend there; it is not uncommon for women to spend several hours there. If you feel you need to "give your skin a check-up," do not hesitate to make use of this facility. There are only three items that you will need: a horsehair glove, black soap, and rhassoul clay. For the hammam to reach the required temperature, a wood fire must be used to heat the room for at least four to six hours. Highly recommendable after hiking, trekking, or driving a lot in Morocco! Read more about how to get turn your own bathroom into a Hammam!

Old Berber wooden door and garden with ladder
 
wall decoration on wall in living room

Cake is a lifestyle brand offering unique homewares and accessories that celebrate culture and individuality. Founder Laurine Brugman designs products that withstand trends and fads - creating timeless pieces that you’ll treasure forever.

We’re passionate about preserving traditional crafts and passing on a little bit of love with our hand-made items. All of our items are produced in limited runs to eliminate waste and ensure quality.

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