A page from the history of the Almohad Dynasty
Trip from Agadir: 2 hours 30 mn / 140 km
This forgotten fortress, located southeast of Taroudant, is the symbol of Ibn Toumert’s initial journey and the genesis of the Almohad Empire. Today it has become an exciting archaeological site (30.399465, -8.365924).
It is difficult to imagine, in these mountains, a revolt which raised the South of Morocco, to lead, 25 years later, to the greatest empire that the medieval Maghreb knew: the Almohad Empire.
Many historians thought that the origin of the Almohads was in Tinmel (near Tizi N’test), a city created by Ibn Tumert, founder of the Almohad Empire. In reality, Ibn Tumert, was born near Igiliz, where he took refuge when the Almoravids drove him from Marrakech.
There he built a fortress out of the rocky outcrop of Iguiliz and gathered around him the surrounding tribes from 1120 to 1124. With this army made up of peasants, warriors and devotees, he won his first battles against the Almoravids. Shortly after, he decided to install his troops in Tinmel (possible visit to the Tinmel Mosque on the road to the Tizi N’Test Pass).
Historians were looking for the location of this forgotten fortress, a symbol of Ibn Toumert’s journey and of the Almohad Empire, but could not locate it.
In 2004, a Franco-Moroccan archeology mission led by Abdallah Fili, from the University of El Jadida, and Jean-Pierre Van Staëvel, from the Paris-Sorbonne University, as well as Ahmed Ettahiri from the National Institute of Archaeological and Heritage Sciences succeeded in identifying the location of the fortress of Igiliz thanks to written sources of the time and the numerous studies carried out. These ruins are located on a spur from which one enjoys a breathtaking view of the surrounding valleys. The fortress is inaccessible on its three sides: to the west, south and east.
A program to enhance the site is underway and allows the summit to take a path through the walls reconstructed by archaeologists, while benefiting from the necessary explanations. The most visible buildings today are grouped together in the central area: a defensive system with a low enclosure with two main gates, as well as a high wall protecting, at the top, the Qasba area, a large mosque established in the southeast, cisterns and dwellings.
How to get there:
To visit Igiliz, take the road 109 (towards Igherm) then the P1712 on the left to the Municipality of Souk Larbaa Magnoun (30.392666, -8.384940) which is part of the rural municipality of Toughmert. From Souk Larbaa Magnoun, you have to bypass the peak of Igiliz to the north of the village, to arrive at the village of Tifigit (30.404850, -8.369491) where you will park your car in order to climb on foot.
It is possible to rent a donkey because the only access is quite steep.