Tamegroute is a sleepy village in Morocco, one that is on the way from Marrakech to the desert, to M’Hamid el Ghizlane. It’s worth stopping in Tamegroute, a small town that is firmly on the map from a literary and religious perspective. It is where you will find one of the largest and most iconic Koranic libraries with an impressive collection. A large part of that collection has now been shared and distributed to various museums and institutions across the world, but there are still a few thousand priceless and historical manuscripts to be found in Tamegroute today.
The collection at the library is open for public viewing and this is what makes this little sleepy town so impressive. There is so much history here. You will find books and papers on diverse topics, again putting Morocco firmly on the academia map. The library is found in the Zaouia, which is an Islamic religious complex. Not all the books and writings are on religion and the Koran. There are books on mathematics, medicine, poetry, astrology and there are dictionaries too.
When you arrive in Tamegroute, your guide will lead you through narrow alleys towards the library. The walk itself is fascinating and you will want to stop, take pictures, perhaps chat to the local people. When you arrive at the library you will be met by the library custodian who has been there for many years. He is an old man, perhaps 90, and in a wheelchair. We hope when you read this, he is still there. His name is Hajj Halifa el Fassi and nobody knows the library in the way he does.
Hajj Halifa el Fassi will show you the various ancient manuscripts and Korans. Some of the books are beautifully bound, some are held together by a thread. They are all beautiful and historical and there is a wealth of knowledge to be found here, in a small and sleepy village.
Tamegroute is a must see village! Ask your guide if it is on your way, as you travel into or out of Marrakech. You will also get to visit a local family, drink a refreshing cup of Moroccan mint tea, and walk down under the fortified village, through the underground and fascinating passages. Working in clay in Tamegroute is a family tradition, and skills are passed from parents to kids and to you if you are keen to learn!
It’s very often the unknown places that surprise us when we travel. Tamegroute is not on every Moroccan visitors bucket list, only because many people have never heard of it. It is a fascinating town, and while you are not going to spend the night here, a few hours is indeed fascinating.