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Leaving Azemmour or coming to it, follow your liking in the Doukkala countryside and search for surprising dry stone buildings, that is to say without mortar, unique in Morocco and called tazotas; they are circumscribed within a well defined territory, in a 20kms radius about between Azemmour and El-Jadida.
About 400 can be counted in Oulad Rahmoun. The countryside is littered with small mounds of limestone standing up like sentries and farmers have to remove the stones on this rocky agricultural land. These stones are used for the erection of walls or “stara”, for the building of enclosures or “zriba”, for shelters, for corbel-vaulted dry stone huts or “tazota” and for buried silos or “toufri”.
As for the origin of the word tazota different ideas have been put forward but the most current one is the following: in the Berber or “amazight” dictionary, “tazudea or tazoda “ means “bowl”,” inverted bowl” and, by extension, “megalithic building” in the Doukkala area. In fact, the huts are somewhat shaped like upturned bowls. The tazota generally reach a height of between two and a half to three metres but it is possible to find higher ones.
With a thickness of about two metres at the first level, the wall slants slightly forwards as it goes up to make on the second level a circular dome or arched roof whose top is closed with a craftily shaped slab. Its base is made of stone rubble capable of supporting a load of several tons. Bigger stones are used around the openings, for linkage as well as for the stairs. On the upper level the stone rubble are of a weight that a man is able to carry up the stairs; nevertheless some people say that they used to employ donkeys or a race of camels today extinct.
The narrow entrance of about 70cms on 160cms is shaped like a trapeze. A corridor measuring 2ms at the maximum shelters the inside from winds and rain. The tazota have one or two flights of stairs on the side used for climbing on the ledge of the lower truncated cone and only one flight of stairs to reach the top of the upper truncated cone. Sometimes the stairs stand between semi-detached tazota. It is a rare architectural heritage to discover along roads or tracks.
The UNESCO is in the process of protecting the tazota and declaring them World Natural Heritage.