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Ruins of the ksar at Timimoun, Algeria

Ksar, plural ksour (Maghrebi Arabic: قصر qṣer, plural qṣur; Berber: aghrem or ighrem, plural: igherman) is the North African term for "Berber castle", possibly loaned from Latin castrum. The term generally refers to a Berber fortified village.

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Related termsEdit

The counterpart of Maghrebi ksar in literary Arabic, qaṣr, means "castle" or "palace"[1] and it is found in this form elsewhere in the Muslim world.

The Berber (Amazigh) original word for "ksar" used in North Africa by the Berber-speaking populations is aghrem (singular) or igherman (plural). In the Maghreb, the term has a more general meaning of "fortified village,"or "fort". The Berber word igherman might be a cognate word, with an identical meaning, with the word Garamantes, which is the name of the ancient Berber city-states in modern-day Libya.

ArchitectureEdit

Ksour in the Maghreb typically consist of attached houses, often having collective ghorfa (granaries) and other structures like a mosque, bath, oven, and shops. Ksour / igherman are widespread among the oasis populations of North Africa. Ksars are sometimes situated in mountain locations to make defense easier; they often are entirely within a single, continuous wall. The building material of the entire structure is normally adobe, or cut stone and adobe. The idea of the ksar as a granary is a confused notion of two things, the granary itself, found within a ksar, and the ksar, which is a village, normally with granaries within it. Ksars form one of the main manifestations of Berber architecture.

Places named KsarEdit

The word is part of place names across Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia, — the region called the Maghreb; and is particularly prevalent on the Saharan side of the various ranges of the Atlas Mountains and the valley of the Draa River.

 
View of Ksar Hallouf, Tunisia

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Hans Wehr, J M. Cowan. A dictionary of modern written Arabic. Third Edition. Ithaca, N.Y.: Spoken Language Services. p. 768.

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