Taghia : The Unknown Heaven

Casablanca, Morocco

You would perhaps be mesmerized upon catching sight of this picture. It indeed speaks of the unparalleled beauty of nature in Taghia, Azilal. But under the beautiful landscape and from where I took this picture live the most impoverished and isolated, yet philanthropic people. They are unfortunately the only ones who pay the dire price of such beauty with no roads to link them with the outer world.

To foreign or domestic tourists, professional rock climbers, and hikers, Taghia is a heaven-on-earth considering its astonishing rocky pathways, immense gorges, and breath-taking limestone walls. With its renowned hiking trail, The Berber Hiking Trail (famously known under French label Passage Berbere) is ranked amongst the most dangerous mountain pathways in the world. Taghia is also an attractive destination to Adrenaline lovers. To the eyes of the inhabitants of this village, Taghia can at times be a nurturing, loving mother but can at other times  be a tyrannical, usurping  father, particularly during winter when the village is covered with snow, and access to or exit from it becomes almost impossible either by car or foot. It is then when locals suffer the most, simply because the nearest hospital to the village is in Azilal.

Taghia is a small village located in the outskirts of Azilal; it floats amidst a series of dazzling orange limestone walls and rocky mountains in the high Atlas. To reach the core of this village, I went on a one-hour-road trip from Azilal to Zouiat Ahnssal. Because Taghia is inaccessible by any modern mean of transportation, I was obliged to resort to ancient means; I rented mules to carry my luggage and went on a two-hour-hike. On my way to the village, I met children with chapped cheeks from the cold, wearing worn-out clothes. Their cheeks are an ideal personification of what the villagers suffer from during wintry weather. When I arrived at the village, my jaws dropped upon looking at the  magnificence of God’s creations. As a source of income, locals rely mainly on the generosity of the agriculturally rich soil of the village and the charities of visitors or tourism. They adhere to a trouble-free, healthy lifestyle based on self-sufficiency; they grow their food and build their homes using bricks made of mud, sand and straw.
Among the unusual enthusiasm and unequalled hospitality of Taghia’s dwellers,  I was lost in a sensation of tremendous ecstasy. My burdened soul became once again free, and the tranquility of the village seemed to have sneaked joyfully into my being. It is true that the villagers of Taghia are financially deprived and lack many of the basic living conditions that many enjoy.  What these people have that many do not possess is humanity.

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