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For other uses, see Kasbah (disambiguation).
View of the Kasbah Glaoui main building

A kasbah Arabic قصبة , or in older English casbah, and qasbah or qassabah in India, is a type of medina, Islamic city, or fortress (citadel).[1][2][3]

It was a place for the local leader to live and a defense when a city was under attack. A kasbah has high walls, usually without windows. Sometimes, they were built on hilltops so that they could be more easily defended. Some were placed near the entrance to harbors.

Having a kasbah built was a sign of wealth of some families in the city. When colonization started in 1830, in northern Algeria, there were a great number of kasbahs that lasted for more than 100 years.

The word kasbah may also be used to describe the old part of a city, in which case it has the same meaning as a medina quarter. The Spanish word alcazaba is a cognate naming the equivalent building in Andalusia or Moorish Spain. In Portuguese, it evolved into the word alcáçova. In Turkish and Urdu the word kasaba refers to a settlement larger than a village but smaller than a city; in short, a town.

In the al-Baha and Asir provinces of Saudi Arabia and in Yemen, the word "qasaba" usually refers to a single stone or rock tower, either as part of a tower house or a tower isolated on a hilltop or commanding a field.

In India, a qasbah is a small town distinguished by the presence of Muslim families of rank.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Morocco Baedeker Guide -Ingeborg Lehmann, Rita Henss – 2012 Page 214 "KASBAH A mud-brick castle that serves as a residence for the local Berber tribe is called a kasbah or »tighremt« in Morocco. Some are private mansions, others are even whole fortified villages with many large and small buildings crowded on ..."
  2. ^ Marrakesh Fez Rabat Barnaby Rogerson – 2000– Page 65 "as its purpose, for a kasbah should be the domain of a ruler, be he sultan, governor or just a tribal chieftain. Most of the ancient cities of Morocco retain a large portion of their outer walls, but the kasbah (the government citadel containing ... "
  3. ^ Morocco – A Country Study Guide Usa Ibp, International Business Publications, USA. – 2006 Page 229 "Sultan Abdelmoumen transformed what was not much more than a Casbah and built a mosque and a palace here too."
  4. ^ Boundaries and identities: Muslims, work and status in Aligarh E. A. Mann – 1992 p. 23 " "A qasbah is a small town distinguished by the presence of 'decent people or families of some rank' (Platts, 1974). ."