Fez Fancy Tours


The town of Midelt, situated at an altitude of 1,521 meters, was established in 1917 by the Protectorate as an administrative center for the region, known as the “Circle of Midelt.” This area spans 6,000 km² and encompasses key centers including Itzer, Zaida, Boumia, Aghbalou, Tounfite, Ksabi, Bouayach, Krouchen, Mibladen, and Ahouli. Beyond these urban centers, the majority of the population resides in closely situated spaces known as Igharman (referred to as ksours, douar, dchar, depending on the area and language).

Reasons for Establishment

The Protectorate founded this administrative center for several key reasons:

  1. Administrative Management: To oversee the administration of a widespread rural population.

  2. Military Strategic Importance: Midelt serves as a critical passage to the southeast of the country and towards Algeria. This is facilitated by National Road 13 (RN 13, formerly RP 21), which connects Midelt to Errachidia (formerly Ksar-es-Souk). A notable feature of this route is the Zaâbal tunnel, carved out by the Foreign Legion soldiers stationed in Midelt, to secure the path. This strategic location was essential for monitoring France’s economic interests, particularly in protecting the exploitation of the region’s two lead mines in Mibladen and Ahouli.

  3. Economic Exploitation: The French company Peñarroya operated two significant lead mines within 15 and 25 km of Midelt, employing over 1,500 workers under French supervision. The lead extracted from these mines was transported directly to the port of Casablanca for export. In 1928, to support mining operations, Peñarroya constructed one of Morocco’s first power plants at Ksar Flilou. This hydroelectric plant powered both the village and the mines, leveraging the water from the retention dam at Ksar Tatiouine at the foot of Djebel Ayachi.

Infrastructure and Legacy

  • Railway Connection: The Guercif-Midelt railway line, operational until 1935 with a 60 cm gauge, connected Midelt to the broader Fes-Oujda railway network. The infrastructure and station names from this era persist.

  • Aerodrome: Midelt was equipped with an aerodrome, now out of use, which served military and mining executives, highlighting the town’s strategic and economic significance.

  • Healthcare Contribution: Dr. Louis Tonellot, who would later direct the Maurice-Loustau hospital (now Al Farabi) in Oujda, worked in Midelt between 1943 and 1953. He is noted for diagnosing the region’s first cases of silicosis, marking a significant contribution to occupational health in the mining sector.

Open chat
Hello 👋
Can we help you?