the (personal) story behind
The oasis of Tighmert is located 17 km far from the city of Guelmim (Morocco), in the community of Asrir. It is presumed that in this area was located the city of Noul Lamta which date, at least according to the descriptions of Al-Bakri, from the 11th century and according to the last works realised by Spanish and Moroccan archaeologists (Jorge Onrubia Pintado and Youssef Bokbot), from the 9th century.
Asrir and Tighmert played a very important role in Northern Africa history (with M'hamid El Ghizlane and Sijilmasa), until the 13th century (then the city moved to Tagoust). These places were departure and arrival points for caravans heading towards Mauritania and Mali, connecting the Sahel area to Europe. Thanks to Saharan trade, the city of Noul Lamta became one of the most important cities in Morocco, with Sijilmasa and Fez.
The arrival of a caravan was always an occasion to celebrate with songs and dances the success of crossing the Sahara desert. Each tribe celebrated it on their side and the slaves on their own. Even today, on the banks of the river Noun, the descendants of the slaves meet every summer to celebrate this tradition with the Slave Festival. Despite the historical, cultural and economic importance that Tighmert had in the past, it has no reflection nowadays in the oasis, except some traditional songs and dances. Of course there is no culture event organised by authorities. In this situation it is hard to be aware of the importance this place had.