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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

for the town and commune of Mauritania see Ksar, Mauritania
for the French champion racehorse, see Ksar (horse)
Ruins of the ksar at Timimoun, Algeria.

A Ksar (Berber: Aghrem, Arabic: قصر, qaṣr) is a term describing a Berber village consisting of generally attached houses, often having collective granaries and other structures (mosque, bath, oven, shops) widespread among the oasis populations of the Maghreb (northern 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 the main manifestations of Berber architecture.

Ksar is an Arabic word, more correctly transliterated as qsar, singular, and qsur (قصور), plural. The Berber (Amazigh) equivalent is aghrem (singular) or ighrman (plural). Ksar is generally translated as "castle" in English, although the simplest rendering might be "fortified village," with the word sometimes taking on the meaning of "fort" depending on its specific function. 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. The Spanish terms Alcázar and Portuguese Alcácer are derived from this Arabic word, and appear in place names and buildings originating as fortresses.

Places named Ksar

  • El Qsar es Seghir, Moroccan stronghold in the Straits of Gibraltar, between Tangier and Ceuta.
  • Ksar-el-Kebir, location of the Battle of Al Kasr al Kebir, influenced Moroccan, Portuguese and Spanish history.

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