Inside the ksar, several parts are separated and have an internal entrance. Like that, even if plunderers could come in, they had to win another deffence to get there. "Ouled Debbab" means "the children" or "the family" of Debbab. That is what is sometimes called a tribe but that ethnologists prefer to call "extended family". : people who are believed to come from a single ancestor (here "Debbab") with servants that have been with them for generations. Not very different from the Scottish "clans".
This picture shows the stairs that lead to a room. As we were camping, we did not stay there and had only a meal in the restaurant, in another ghorfa. We were alone, though it was in March and there should have been other customers. I guess this is why it is now closed.
When we visited Ksar Ouled Debbab, in one part of the ksar, the ghorfas had been turned to a hotel. In each ghorfa, each of the two levels made a room of the hotel. The strairs were made of stones and the whole was perfectly coated in white. It seems that the hotel did not work properly and is now abandoned. Too bad, that was superb !
If needed, it will be very easy to secure the ksar as t is the only entrance. The door is made with very thick logs of palm tree. It is not really wood but as it is very fibrous, it is very strong and it is very difficult to brake it.
The outside of Ksar Ouled Debbab is not very friendly, but it is on purpose : no doors, very small windows with iron bars that would not allow any intruder to come in. If you want to come in, you have to look for the door and there is only one.
As already said, a ksar is a fortified village built for protection from looters and plunderers. In Douirat, the protection came from building high on the hill. Here the protection comes from building houses ("ghorfas") around a square pattern, closed to the outside, open towards the inside.
Though Ksar Ouled Debbab is only 13 kilometers away from Douirat, it is completely different. The first characteristic feature is that it is not clutched to the mountain but laying in the plain. At first, you will not see it on this picture. You will have to enlarge it to spot Ksar Ouled Debbab in the background, at some distance.
Leaving Douirat, this is a view from another angle towards the village. On this side of the village, there is a "ksar", a fortified housing of the same kind that will be found on the next tip with Ksar Ouled Debbab, but which is a part of Douirat.
At the end of the visit, the young boy that was our guide posed in front of his village. He asked us to send him the picture. It is very important, when you promise to send the picture of some ones that, once home, you actually send it. Otherwise, they will never trust next visitors and ask for money. Immediately ! Never give money for a photo but send the photo !
On this picture, the intermediate part has collapsed. The picture is taken from the troglodytic part and shows what remains of the "tunnel house". On this picture, you can see that the intermediate floor was built on strong palm tree logs that can last centuries. The boards that were put on the logs have gone (may be they have been used for something else !).
However, when it is not maintained properly because the inhabitants have left the village, would you bet what will last the most ? The troglodytic part, of course ! Then, in Douirat, you will often see houses where the troglodytic part is kept, with the wooden floor at mi height, while most of the outer part, man built, has collapsed !
In some part of the village, the houses are made of two parts. One is subterranean and is another troglodytic dwelling (though very different from Matmata) but outside the troglodytic part, they have build with the local stones "tunnel houses" that extend the inner part.
When we visited Douirat, it was already half deserted. I have been told that now, it is completely deserted. When you look at this picture, you understand how hard was the life in such a surroundings, which was a perfect shelter against enemies but were everything, including water is in the valley and has to be brought up by women.
The oldest part of Douirat is the highest. It is impossible to drive to this part and you have to walk. No need to insist on the fact that you must wear good walking shoes ! From here, the landscape is superb and changes with the course of the sun.
Two women are leading camels loaded with baskets. They are going to a spring to do the laundry. If you enlarge the photo, you will see on the right a red dot. That is a place where other women hare are already drying their linen.
You can see the trail. It is not very good but a regular 2x4 car with strong tires, can do it, driving slowly and with caution.