Inside Morocco's Historic Communal Granaries

Indigenous communities are drawing on 1,000-year-old traditions to create a sustainable future in North Africa.

Historic Communal Granary in Morocco by Steven JohnsonGlobal Heritage Fund

What are communal granaries?

Granaries known as igoudar were central to North Africa's Indigenous Amazigh civilization for over 1,000 years. 

As nomadic men and women adopted more settled and agrarian lifestyles, they founded granaries in remote and defensible locations.

Historic Communal Granary in Morocco by Amar GroverGlobal Heritage Fund

What was their purpose?

Working together in the harsh desert environment, communities shared the land and split crops. They stored surpluses in granaries where each family was allotted storage space. 

 

Historic Communal Granary in Morocco by Steven JohnsonGlobal Heritage Fund

What was their social importance?

The granaries were crucial for social cohesion and survival in the inhospitable environment. Even today, the institution still persists within some communities. 

 

Historic Communal Granary in Morocco by David GoeuryGlobal Heritage Fund

What are the threats?

In recent decades, rural depopulation caused by climate change has endangered these historic sites. As dwindling economic opportunities drive younger generations to Morocco's cities, the granaries are left to crumble. 
 

Restoring a Communal Granary in Morocco by David GoeuryGlobal Heritage Fund

How to restore the granaries?

Yet local men and women are working to protect their communal heritage. They train with master artisans in traditional building and crafts, learning to protect the granaries and create new sources of income.


Restoring a Communal Granary in Morocco by David GoeuryGlobal Heritage Fund

Transferable skills training for men...

Workmen learn to restore the crumbling granaries using local building materials and traditional techniques. In addition to protecting the historic granaries, they can translate this training into building opportunities at other sites.
 

Artisan Training in Morocco by Steven JohnsonGlobal Heritage Fund

...and women.

Experts such as designer Amina Agueznay train local women to revitalize regional creative industries. Through workshops, the women keep ancestral traditions alive and create new ways to support themselves and their families.

Children at Workshop in Morocco by David GoeuryGlobal Heritage Fund

Engaging Youth to Protect Heritage

Local children learn about their ancestral heritage and natural environment by visiting ancient granaries, meeting craftspeople, cleaning palmgroves, and creating models from palmgrove plants and recycled materials.

Discover More

Morocco's Communal Granaries

In Depth: Amtoudi Granary

"Morocco’s Historic Granaries," An Interview with Global Heritage Fund Executive Director Nada Hosking

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Partners

Association les gardiens de la Mémoire
Salima Naji
Amina Agueznay
Wilaya Souss Massa
Regional Council, Souss Massa
Societé de Développement Régional Tourisme Souss Massa (SDR)
Prince Claus Fund
Ecole polytechnique Fédérale de Lausane EPFL (Lausanne, Switzerland)
Haute Ecole du Travail Social des Hautes Ecoles de Suisse Occidentale HETS-HES SO (Genève, Switzerland)
Sorbonne Université (Paris, France)
Ecole nationale d'architecture d'Agadir
OBcom

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