The most compelling reason to visit Midelt is to explore the peaks of the eastern High Atlas. The town may look initially drab – it consists of little more than a main street and a few oversized restaurants – but the atmosphere is surprisingly relaxed and pleasant. The town offers a few good places to shop for superb Berber rugs made by local women from the Middle Atlas.
Berber rugs and textiles in Midelt
Midelt is a great place to shop for different Berber rugs and textiles.
The first place to explore is the carpet souk south of the main souk, Souk Djedid, a daily fruit and vegetable market. In this arcaded market, shops pile up carpets, rugs and textiles in a variety of patterns and colours.
The rugs are mostly local, with geometric patterns reflecting the design of local Berber tribes of the Middle Atlas. You can see good examples of this at the Etoile du Sud carpet shop and the Maison Berbere a few doors away.
A more worthwhile place to buy carpets is the Kasbah Myriem, some 1.5 kilometers out of town. This is a workshop run by six Franciscan nuns as a charitable organisation, assisting local Berber women in developing their trade of weaving and embroidery as well as attending literacy courses. You can see the carpets and textiles being made by the women, who also pass on the traditional carpet-making skills to the next generation. The carpets are for sale, not the cheapest around, but the quality is high. Besides, you will be contributing to the local economy with no intermediaries.
To get to the Kasbah Myriem, also known as the Atelier de Tissages et Broderie, follow the signs on the road to Tattiouine. The workshop is open every Moday to Thrusday & Saturday from 8:00 – 12:00 & 14:00 – 17:30. Telephone: 055 58 24 43.