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February 22, 2024

45 Wonderful Black and White Photos Capture Everyday Life of High Atlas, Morocco in the 1980s

The High Atlas, also called the Grand Atlas, is a mountain range in central Morocco, North Africa, the highest part of the Atlas Mountains.

The High Atlas rises in the west at the Atlantic Ocean and stretches in an eastern direction to the Moroccan-Algerian border. At the Atlantic and to the southwest the range drops abruptly and makes an impressive transition to the coast and the Anti-Atlas range. To the north, in the direction of Marrakech, the range descends less abruptly.

The range includes Jbel Toubkal, which at 4,167 m (2.589 mi; 13,671 ft) is the highest in the range and lies in Toubkal National Park. The range serves as a weather system barrier in Morocco running east–west and separating the Sahara from the Mediterranean and continental zones to the north and west. In the higher elevations of the massif, snow falls regularly, allowing winter sports. Snow lasts well into late spring in the High Atlas, mostly on the northern faces of the range. On the Western High Atlas, there is Ouka├»meden, one of three main ski stations in Morocco.

The High Atlas forms the basins for a multiplicity of river systems. The majority of the year-round rivers flow to the north, providing the basis for the settlements there. A number of wadis and seasonal rivers terminate in the deserts to the south and plateaux to the east of the mountains.

The High-Atlas Mountains are inhabited by Berbers, who live from agriculture and pastoralism in the valleys. In the steppe zone of the High-Atlas, where precipitations are low, the locals created a smart technique in managing the low precipitations and the weak soil. They turn the rather semi-arid lands into fertile valleys called locally by Agdal (garden in Berber). This technique has intrigued many Western agriculturalists, in which they were impressed by the high efficiency of this agricultural system. Many scientists, particularly French scientists, make yearly expeditions to observe the community and their living system.

These wonderful black and white photos were taken by Wolfgang Kraus that documented everyday life of High Atlas, Morocco in 1983 and 1985.

Annual fair (agdoud) at the shrine of Sidi Hmad ou Lmghenni, Assif Melloul valley, central High Atlas mountains, Morocco, 1983

Assif Melloul valley, central High Atlas mountains, Morocco, 1983

Assif Melloul valley, central High Atlas, Morocco, 1983

Café, Imilchil, Morocco, 1983

Churning butter, High Atlas, Morocco, 1983

Girls doing the laundry, High Atlas, Morocco, 1983

Imdghas valley, central High Atlas mountains, Morocco, 1983

Imilchil, High Atlas, Morocco, 1983

Mules in the livestock market at the annual fair (agdoud) of Sidi Hmad ou Lmghenni, Assif Melloul valley, central High Atlas mountains, Morocco, 1983

Nine men’s morris game, High Atlas, Morocco, 1983

Playing a game of draughts (checkers) with crown caps and small stones, Imilchil, central High Atlas mountains, Morocco, 1983

Potter, High Atlas, Morocco, 1983

Primary school, High Atlas, Morocco, 1983

Tabachtint, Assif Melloul valley, central High Atlas mountains, Morocco, 1983

Tea, High Atlas, Morocco, 1983

The guardian of the collective granary of Amzray village, Assif Ahansal valley, central High Atlas mountains, Morocco, 1983

Wedding company, High Atlas, Morocco, 1983

A celebration, High Atlas, Morocco, 1985

Baking bread, High Atlas, Morocco, 1985

Building a rammed earth wall, High Atlas, Morocco, 1985

Building a rammed earth wall, High Atlas, Morocco, 1985

Conversation over a coke, High Atlas, Morocco, 1985

Girls dancing during wedding celebrations, Assif Melloul valley, central High Atlas mountains, Morocco, 1985

Harvest time, High Atlas, Morocco, 1985

High Atlas, Morocco, 1985

High Atlas, Morocco, 1985

High Atlas, Morocco, 1985

High Atlas, Morocco, 1985

High Atlas, Morocco, 1985

High Atlas, Morocco, 1985

Indoor barbecue, High Atlas, Morocco, 1985

Irrigating the potatoes, High Atlas, Morocco, 1985

Knitting sandals, High Atlas, Morocco, 1985

Marketplace conversation, High Atlas, Morocco, 1985

Post office, Imilchil, High Atlas, Morocco, 1985

Pouring tea, High Atlas, Morocco, 1985

Reaping barley, High Atlas, Morocco, 1985

Tea under the stars, High Atlas, Morocco, 1985

The oldest remaining building in Imilchil, High Atlas, Morocco, 1985

Threshing with mules, High Atlas, Morocco, 1985

Threshing, High Atlas, Morocco, 1985

Transporting barley, High Atlas, Morocco, 1985

Two shepherds, High Atlas, Morocco, 1985

Weaving, High Atlas, Morocco, 1985

Working with a quern (hand mill), High Atlas, Morocco, 1985

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