Guide to Rissani and its famous market

History of Rissani

Rissani is the ancient capital of Tafilalet. Under the name of Sijilmassa, it is a former major caravan center of trans-Saharan trade, the most important of Morocco, in the Middle Ages. Most of the traffic with Africa at that time was for gold, ivory, slaves and salt from Sudan, which includes present-day Mali.

Hassan al-Dakhil, the ancestor of the Alawite dynasty from Arabia, settled in this city (then Sijilmassa) in the 13th century.


The leather of Tafilalet was made in Rissani, and had no equal in the whole of Morocco. It is a fine and supple leather, made of goat skins tanned with tamarisk bark.

Rissani has remained one of the great commercial centers of the region, with a large souk, particularly lively nowadays on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Its location as a crossroads between the north and the south gives the city an important status.

The city, still commonly known as Rissani, was renamed after Moulay Ali Cherif, leader of Tafilalet in the seventeenth century and father of the current Alawite dynasty, whose mausoleum is a point of cultural, religious and local tourist attraction. Administratively, “Er-Rissani is an urban municipality and also gives their name to the caïdat and the rural municipality of er-Rissani.

Population and society

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Places and monuments

Er-Rissani has a Kasbah from the 17th century and lively souks.


Morocco sahara


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