The modern day town of Rissani was once the legendary desert capital of Sijilmassa. Founded in the 8th century, Sijilmassa grew rich between the 14th and 18th centuries from trading slaves and gold with desert caravans. After ultimately being destroyed by the Ait Atta tribes, the townsfolk of Sijilmassa resettled, and established Rissani a few kilometers away. Today, Rissani is first and foremost a market town, and its souk (best on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays) caters to locals. For visitors, this means an totally authentic look at a Moroccan market, where you can have your shoes resoled with old tires, and pick from piles of colorful spices and textiles. There’s even a parking lot for people’s donkeys. History lovers will want to seek out the Mausoleum Moulay Ali Cherif, the great-grandfather of the founder of Morocco’s current ruling dynasty, or visit one of the traditional Berber ksars (fortified Berber dwellings).
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