The Getty Conservation Institute continues its work with CERKAS (Centre de Conservation et de Réhabilitation du Patrimoine Architectural des zones atlasiques et subatlasiques) to develop a Conservation and Rehabilitation Plan (CRP) for the Kasbah Taourirt in Ouarzazate, Morocco. The main objective is to create a methodology for preserving and reusing this traditional ensemble as a model for the other three hundred kasbahs and four thousand ksour located across southern Morocco.
In March 2015 the GCI team returned to Morocco for a seventh campaign. The work consisted of implementation of urgent structural conservation measures and in situ training demonstrations in emergency wall painting stabilization methods with CERKAS staff for the Caid Residence of Taourirt. This campaign also included final meetings with CERKAS personnel and authorities from the Ministry of Culture to plan for future management and use of the building as part of the Taourirt CRP.
The GCI is also working with Carleton Immersive Media Studio to design and populate the CERKAS website. During the March campaign, the project organized all information generated by the CRP and collected existing data related to other similar earthen sites in the region, with the goal of making this information available to the general public, Moroccan professionals, and scholars, while disseminating the methodology used to develop the CRP.
A large earthen village and oasis dating from the sixteenth century, Taourirt is strategically located at the intersection of major trans-Saharan trade routes that once brought spices, gold, and other goods across the Sahara from Timbuktou to the rich imperial cities of Morocco. Registered as a National Monument, Kasbah Taourirt was originally one of the residences of the Glaoua family, which ruled the region during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It comprises different earthen building types of high architectural, social, and historic significance, and it includes important features such as wall paintings and decorated wooden ceilings.