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Morocco has booming ports like Casablanca and prospering agricultural phosphate, mineral and fishing industries and men in business suits, but there are also moonlit whitewashed courtyards, flowing robes, distant ramparts, fiery Barbary steeds, camels and the mysterious Berber people, formerly fierce warriors who favour the mountain areas, indigenous long before the arrival of the Phoenecians, Carthage, the Roman legions and the Arabs.

This race were there even before the camel and instead, when the horse appeared in North Africa in 1200 BC, became master horsemen using their steeds in battle and, amazingly, to penetrate the Sahara, pioneering the trade routes still used today. The prowess of their cavalry became legendary.

They were the famed Numidian cavalry known throughout the classical world, Berber knights with long split robe, strong sword, and several javelins.  Their tradition survives today in the Fantasia, the thrilling charges and exhibition of horsemanship at festivals, echoing those ancient fighting techniques, guns replacing javelins.

The Greeks named them barbaroi, foreigner, but they called themselves imiazen, the noble ones, also amazigh, freemen.

When Morocco became part of Roman Mauretania, Berber scholars studied in Latin and Greek and produced the famous theologian philosopher, St Augustine.

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Saint Augustin

Saint Augustin

Fantasia - Chez Ali

Fantasia – Chez Ali, Marrakech