Qara prison in Meknes

Qara prison in Meknes :

Speaking of prisons, corridors with iron doors and windows with bars come to mind. But there have been cases in history when a prison was built underground and without any doors, windows or bars. One such structure is the Karas prison. The online magazine Factinteres will tell about this complex in a little more detail.

A bit of history

The Karak prison was built in the early 18th century in the city of Meknes in northern Morocco. The design of the prison belongs to the architect Karou, who was a prisoner at the time. In exchange for building the prison, the architect was rewarded with a release.

The design of the Karas Prison is an underground labyrinth that stretches for several kilometers. According to one legend, the prison is at least 200 kilometers long, connecting Meknes with the city of Taza. However, this is not true and the total length of the prison is no more than 2-3 kilometers.

There are no doors, windows or bars inside the prison. According to the version, prisoners were placed in the prison by means of a special passage in the ceiling, where later the food for the prisoners was brought. However, the absence of any doors, windows and bars has raised many questions for archaeologists.

Was the Qara prison in Meknes?

In fact, the purpose of the underground labyrinths has not been proven to the end. The most plausible version says that the labyrinths of the Karas prison were used as a huge warehouse for grain and food. To prove this theory, scientists suggest looking at other warehouses of the region at that time – they are almost identical.

Despite the version about the warehouse, the local population is convinced that the Karama prison was really a prison and there was no warehouse there. To be fair, it is worth noting that there is evidence that Sultan Moulay Ismail actually kept several thousand prisoners in these labyrinths. As a rule, the prisoners of the Karas prison were Christians. According to legend, the prison could hold up to 40,000 prisoners.

Scholars assure that the tens of thousands of prisoners in the Karachi prison is an exaggeration that works as a magnet for tourists. This argument has also been raised more than once in official talks between European ambassadors and Moroccan authorities. However, scholars quite concede that there may have been several thousand prisoners who worked as warehouse laborers in the Karabakh prison. It is this version that is the most plausible.

What is it today?

The local population, despite the official assumptions of scientists, assure that tens of thousands of prisoners were held in the Karas prison. This allows for an increased tourist flow to the region. Also, the local population claims that in the early 1990s, a research team from France disappeared in the labyrinths, which has not been officially confirmed.

Anyone can visit the Cara prison, but on a limited basis. Tourists are invited to see 3 rooms that were used by Sultan Moulay Ismail. It is not possible to enter the remaining rooms because the French colonial rulers closed the other entrances (openings on the surface) due to the fact that there were frequent accidents.

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