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Open map of Western SaharaFlag of Western SaharaWestern Sahara / Cities and Towns /
Arabic: 'as-samāra

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Smara, Morocco.
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Smara, Morocco.

Smara, Morocco.
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Travel information from
LookLex / Morocco
Red and friendly
The Zawiyya
The mosque
The old mosque
Alive at night
Domed barracks
Hotels / Restaurants / Transportation
Town in Western Sahara (Moroccan occupied and annexed) with 45,000 inhabitants (2009 estimate), along the Oued Salouam.
The traditional economic foundation of Smara is trade. Today, military and administration financed by the Moroccan government is more greater importance. There is some local farming and livestock raising.
Smara is the only sizeable urban centre founded by the local population of Western Sahara, and is distinctly Saharan in appearance, with all houses in red. Smara is an attractive town with a handful of sights, like the zawiyya of the so-called Blue Sultan (early 20th century), as well as a pre-Moroccan mosque. Both of these are built of highly decorative basalt stone.
Smara is linked with other urban centres by excellent highways, Laayoune 230 km west, Goulimime (Morocco) 265 km north.
The population of Smara is largely Sahrawis, with a substantial presence of Moroccans. The languages are Hassaniya Arabic and Moroccan Arabic, with French and Spanish as first foreign languages. Religion is Sunni Islam, with strong presence of Sufism.

19th century: Develops into an important trade centre for the region.
1902: Becomes a religious centre headed by Shaykh Ma' al-Aynayn (meaning Water of the the two springs).
1913: Smara is destroyed by French troops, who transfer control of the village to the Spanish.
1934: Smara is sacked by Spanish troops following a local rebellion.
1975: Spain gives up its claim on Western Sahara, fighting between Polisario and Moroccan military over Smara.
1976; Morocco establishes full control over Smara and the region.

By Tore Kjeilen