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The Miracle of Water, conference and debate with Souad Belkeziz at the Badii Palace

Written by FDM

 The Regional Directorate of Culture of Marrakech-Safi organized a conference debate, May 18, around the book of “Le Miracle de l’eau ; Marrakech, cité-jardin idéale” by Souad Belkeziz.

In light of “Heritage Month”, the book “Le Miracle de l’eau; Marrakech, Ideal Garden City” by Souad Belkeziz was presented at the Badii Palace. During this conference debate, the author thus exposed three of the main themes present in her book, namely:

  • The Khettaras, an ancestral technique of irrigation in Morocco that results in underground galleries dug manually from vertical manholes distant by about ten meters each. By the simple effect of gravity, the water is conducted into the crops. The author reveals that these galleries are the result of the spirit of innovation and the work of the school of hydrologists and surveyors, scholars from Iran also known for their specialty in earthen constructions. Souad Belkeziz indicates that in Marrakech in particular, more than 900 km of Khettaras were identified in 1970 by Paul Pascon.

 

  • The watercourse inside the city is the foundation of Arab-Muslim culture and the basis of its spatial organization. The author explains in this sense that during the Almoravid period, the city of Marrakech adopted a radioconcentric model around water and the mosque which was its guardian. We thus learn that water has strong symbolism and sacredness, in particular thanks to the precepts of the Quran concerning it, such as free water for all, or the obligation of equity in its distribution, which was provided by this institution and power base represented by the mosque, as can be read in a press release. All the neighborhoods were laid out in such a way that their alleys converged towards a centrality where the neighborhood mosque, the fountain, the hammam, and the latrines were located.

 

  • The Badii Palace and the Saadian Period. Souad Belkeziz thus uncovers the origins of this exceptional place that is the Badii palace, through old engravings and reconstituted plans allowing a projection of the old Almohad kasbah that later became Saadian within which the palace was built.

The conference and the debate that followed were marked by the idea of creating an association in Marrakech to safeguard the city’s historical and plant heritage, including the Khettara and buildings from the colonial era.

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