Ksar Ouled Soltane is well located approximately 20 kilometers south of the city of Tataouine, in southern Tunisia. This is an attractive and perfectly preserved fortified granary well built by the Berbers in the 15th Century. This is built with adobe; the ksar is spread out over two courtyards, each of which has a perimeter of multi-story vaulted granary cellars called ghorfas. In those unruly Middle Ages, granaries were frequently fortified to stop raids on a village’s food supply. Such as other granaries created by North African Berber communities, Ksar Ouled Soltane is located on a hilltop, to help protect it from raiding parties.

Ksar Ouled Soltane was originally built in the 15th century and had myriads of ghorfas for storage of grains. Therefore later in the 19th century, the ksar was stretched into a second courtyard, and the quantity of ghorfas increased to around 400. The two courtyards are interlinked by a passage made of palm wood. The ghorfas are four stories high and reachable by steep external stairs that reach up one by one to the single doors. Each ghorfas was assigned to and used by a single family. So more than five hundred years, the nomadic tribes used them to store grain and olives. However on Friday afternoons the courtyard functioned as meeting places for the community, the majority of whom spent most of their year in the pastures with their goats, sheep and camels. Ksar Ouled Soltane appeared in the Star Wars movies as slave quarters where Anakin and his mother lived in the Phantom Menace. With the passage of ups and downs, The Ksar was needed to repair in 1997 and restored to its original state, though with cement rather than the original materials of mud and brick. It is now a popular tourist destination in Tunisia with visitors coming to see its well-preserved granary vaults.1 2 3 4 5 6

Leave a Reply