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

Ruins of the ksar at Timimoun, Algeria

The origin of the Maghrebi Arabic term qsar is qaṣar (قَصَر) in Standard Arabic, which means "castle" or "palace";[1] this term is also found elsewhere in the Muslim world. See, for example, the Iberian alcázar.

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.


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 Ksar

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 also


  1. Wehr, Hans; Cowan, J. M. A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic (Third ed.). Ithaca, N.Y.: Spoken Language Services. p. 768.
  • www.ksour-tunisiens.com – complete documentation of all ksour of southern Tunisia, Herbert Popp & Abdelfettah Kassah
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.