High Atlas: Places to Explore

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Demnate

Demnate is a market center to which Berbers from the neighboring hills and plains bring multifarious produce, especially for the Sunday souk held outside the walls. Once famed for its ceramics artisans, Demnate still has some traditional kilns. The rectangular ramparts are made of an unusual ocher-color pisé (clay) and pierced by two monumental portals; within is a kasbah built by T'hami el-Glaoui. As you approach the town, look out for the government-built dam, towering above the road. The Moroccan star symbol decorating it is captioned: "My God, My Country, My King."

Up a 6-km (4-mi) piste above Demnate is the natural stone bridge Imi-n-Ifri, where the diminutive River Mahseur has carved out a tunnel inhabited by hundreds of crows. A path twists down through the boulders and under the "bridge," where stalactites and sculpted hollows dramatize the natural rock formations. Women come to bathe in the stream because it is said to bring them good luck, but the crows are considered harbingers of doom. The legend associated with these birds—a St. George and the Dragon–type saga in which a lovely maiden is saved from an evil genie who, when destroyed by the brave hero, dematerializes into crows—is told in several variations by imaginative guides.

Bus Contacts

Demnate CTM Station (Av. Mohammed V s/n. 0523/45-60-87.)

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