Welcome to Rissani
Rissani is where the River Ziz quietly ebbs away, but between the 14th and 18th centuries it was the location of the famed desert capital, Sijilmassa, where fortunes in gold and slaves were traded via caravans crossing the sahel. Rissani was so strategic that the Filali (ancestors of the ruling Alawite dynasty) staged their epic battle here to supplant the Saadians. Today, Rissani is a dusty shadow of its former self. Barely a quarter of the population live in the 17th-century ksar (fortified granary) while the modern town constitutes a single street and one square. Still, echoes of the past can still be heard in the epic haggling over birds, sheep and desert jewellery at Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday souqs.