Hidden in the valley, resting at an altitude of 1200m in the Atlas Mountains (60 km from Ouarazazate and 140 km Marrakech), only a stones throw away from the road is found the village of Targua. This ageless jewel of Morocco will touch the heart of any hardened traveler
Situated on the side of the valley this mountain Berber village is of historic interest; with the southern approach of the valley protected by the Kasbah of Ikiss and the top of the pass slowing down any invading force with its vertical rock walls, the village has for generations been a secure home for the 300 inhabitants.
The people of this valley are of deep Berber standing, an understanding of nature and the natural elements has lead this village through the ages. With the forever growing pressure of modern day life knocking on the door the village has now opened her doors due to the necessity to find employment in the valley for the young population.
A longing for new stories by this Berber population, will give you many happy hours of conversation over the forever full pot of tea and some khobz.
An afternoon was spent at my van with some of the family. The carpet was rolled out and the table was filled with tea and spicy khobz (bread). The conversation moved from the finer areas of the English language, to the quality of the bread baked in the oven.
The watermill : Over 400 years old. This example is found hidden in the trees at the side of the road. Just stop and the locals will be happy to show you around. If you have the urge for adventure, take a guide and see if you can make it to the 13 century Portuguese archaeological site which is hidden from view high up in the mountains.
Power : At the moment the water is not directed through the mill, By moving a few stones above the mill the flow can be diverted through the blades giving power to the machinery.
Gear Box :By dropping the Blades deeper into the running water the current from the stream will accelerate the grinding stone and in turn the speed at which the flour is produced so giving different grades of flour.
Wild life of the region Bread, Milk, Butter, Walnuts, Wheat, Apples, Red Berries, Potatoes, Onions, Mint, Cherries and Apricots are all part of the villages local produce. With Lamb, Goat, Chicken and Cow making the meat course, you can not go wrong.
The Domestic Animals are kept in the house, giving warmth and milk close at hand. Who needs a fridge when the fresh either lives in the house or the garden. The wild life of the region keeps the domestic animals near to the house. Wolf, wild dog and fox can be spotted on the higher ground. Pigeon. Nightingale, Stork, Falcon, Pelican, Eagles can be seen floating on the air waves.
flat bread or khobz : The bread or Khobz as it is called by the Berber's is traditionally produced by the women of the family in Morocco. From the collecting of the wood.
The production of the bread turns the valley into a hive of activity throughout the daylight hours, from the back breaking carrying techniques used by the women to carry the wood for the oven, to the heat of the fire.
PREPARATION : The baking of the bread has a more relaxed pace. As the women and children sit down together to talk as the outside oven does its job.
The dough for the unleavened bread (no yeast) has been made from the crops grown in the valley. The dough is placed onto metal semi circular trays inside the oven which will give it its shape and help it to cook evenly.
When the oven has been sealed with twigs and grass the it is "fired up" from the top. The fire will burn for about 15 minutes as the supply of wood is extinguished before being left for 40 minutes to cook under its own heat. Then bread or Khobz are ready..written : 2002 updated : 2020