Asilah is a Moroccan town facing the Atlantic, 40 kilometers to the south of Tangier.
It comes alive in the summer, as the location of an arts festival and an attraction for Moroccan tourism, the place where Tennessee Williams chose to write Suddenly Last Summer.
The home of Ahmed Tligui is one of the last signs of its glory days. Ahmed is an antiquarian, though he has no shop.
He spends the cold months stringing amber and coral to make Berber necklaces and lately he has also created gigantic necklaces for trees using floats from fishing nets found on beaches.
As soon as it is warm enough, he goes out on the sea in a boat, by himself, to fish. He has no telephone, but he is a great connoisseur of Andalusian ceramics.
Today Ahmed is almost certainly the sole inhabitant of Asilah capable of being moved by the beauty of a root, of enjoying the complexity of the spiral shell of a snail, and of confidently identifying a 19th-century table in painted wood as something produced in a workshop in Fez or di Tétouan.
These two houses—Ahmed’s home and the house next door where he works, which he would like to turn into a museum one day—reflect his nature and his career as an aesthete.
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