Virtually all of Morocco’s ethnic groups are Berber-Arabs, a fact reflected in much of this exciting city’s architecture and cultural traditions about which much can be learned by visiting the Berber Eco-Museum near Ourika, in the foothills of the High Atlas, some 37 kms south of Marrakech. Located in the pottery village of Tafza, in one of the village kasbahs, the museum is said to be the first Berber museum in Morocco.
Restored using traditional construction techniques, the museum features a permanent collection of rugs and pottery and various other fine examples of Berber culture, and also hosts temporary exhibitions such as “Landscapes and Faces of the High Atlas 1957″, which featured documentaries by humanist photographer and film-maker Daniel Chicault. More than just a historic collection, the museum also offers a research and student centre as well as a variety of activities, including tree planting, village and High Atlas treks, music and pottery courses.
Pottery in Tafza
Traditionally, Tafza has been, and remains, the Ourika Valley’s largest pottery village with 40 workshops still operating in the vicinity. Not surprisingly, the Berber Eco-Museum offers, among all its other activities, courses to introduce visitors to the tradition of Berber pottery making.
Set among the splendid scenery of the Ourika Valley, worth a visit just for the mountain scenery, the ‘Ecomusée Berbère de la Vallée de l’Ourika’ is a must-see attraction for anyone interested to learn about Berber culture.