Reviving the last Pasha of Marrakech

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The castle of the last Pasha of Marrakech in the High Atlas mountains of Morocco is finally getting a face-lift after more than 50 years of neglect, as the BBC's Bojan Kveder discovered.

The Kasbah of Telouet, built not more than 100 years ago, has been crumbling into the reddish dust of the valley since 1956, the year Morocco won independence from France and T'hami el-Glaoui fell from grace with the king.

He is considered a traitor to this day for siding with the French colonisers and helping to topple two sultans.

At the time of his death in 1956, the Lord of the Atlas was the most powerful man in Morocco and one of the wealthiest men in the world.

Now, the remote village of Telouet is only accessible by a side road branching off from the trans-Atlas highway running from Marrakech to Ouarzazate.

Getting there is a feat in itself. Before embarking on the journey from Marrakech, I combed the city for a travel agency organizing trips there, to no avail. Whoever I asked would respond with shrugging shoulders and a look of consternation mixed with embarrassment.

"Why Telouet? Tourists don't go there. You have so many attractive places to choose from," was the standard reaction.

Finally I managed to find a hole-in-the wall agency with two banged-up 4x4's through my hotel, but the bargaining went on for more than a day....

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