- Off the beaten track
Midelt is a town of approximately 50,000 people, founded in 1917 during the French Protectorate, whose only attractions are the main road and a market two days a week. Once a military and mining town, nowadays Midelt makes money from growing apples and tourism, because the bus passes through on the way to the desert. Which is to say, right off, that I didn't particularly like this little town.
The only thing Midelt has going for it is its location in the heart of the Atlas Mountains, with breath taking views over the surrounding mountains and the fact that it can be a good base for trekking in the High Atlas Mountains. Altogether more somewhere to stop off at than somewhere to head for on your Moroccan itinerary.
The visit to Midelt seems very quick: a main street and the el-Jadid souk. But on taking a closer look, Midelt contains hidden treasures. I advise you to go to Kasbah Myriem: the artisanal centre of Midelt, which is around 2 kilometres away from the town. I appreciated the rugs displayed: authentic Berber rugs from the Moroccan Atlas Mountains; a pretty souvenir of a stay in Morocco. This centre is also renowned for its social activism in favour of literacy teaching.
But the main feature of Midelt is its lead mining industry. An industry that was abandoned at the beginning of the 20th century, then revived after several years by the region's inhabitants. They have reopened the mines with only their arms, wheelbarrows and sledgehammers for equipment and they seek to extract rock crystals, including the famous vanadinite.
If you prefer intercession to mining activities, I recommend the Franciscan monastery Our Lady of the Atlas, which is located a few kilometres away from Midelt.