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Ait Ben Haddou & Ouarzazate

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Day trip begins: On the road to Ait Ben Haddou

Away from the hustling of the crowded city, joining to our day trip from Marrakech to Ait Ben Haddou is your opportunity to reenergize yourself. Such a wonderful trip will guide you to the most outstanding landmarks in the region to spend the day out there. My friends, make yourselves ready to start the trip at 08:00 am. You will directly meet the driver at your Riad going ahead to your destination. Don’t be hesitant to share the car with the driver; you will enjoy his accompany since he has a friendly sense of humor. All the way long, sipping a cup of coffee is perfect at the morning to refresh you while listening to your favorite music. I guess the music that is coming from the lovely simple car is going to be enchanting since the Moroccan rhythms hug the pure mother nature in a magical imaginative manner. On the route’s both sides, the Berber villages are noticeably seen at the entrance of the mountains; they rather form a harmonic union with nature in a more attractive completion.

Agriculture and the living stocks are what make the villagers from the Berber alive. They are self-sufficient depending on animals and planting crops to facilitate their life. They are considered the main tools of living there and this is related to the environmental conditions of this region. The land is rich that provides a variety of earthly products such as wheat, vegetables, fruits, original oils and meat from the live stocks. People consume only the animals especially the weak ones if there is really a special occasion, a feast, sacrifice or a dear guest. After you acknowledge the Berber villages, we will stop at one of the terraces to rest and relax before our next destination. A cup of fresh juice with a light meal will exactly suit you to continue the road. We will cross the Tizi n Tichka Passing road almost about (2160m) of the High Atlas to reach the ancient village of Ait Ben Haddou. At the doors of Ait Ben Haddou, the word” Ksar” won’t be strange since it is such a common expression of the word” palace”.

Ksar of Ait Ben Haddou is a pre-Saharan habitat made of several Kasbahs. The Ksar or the palace is surrounded by a huge wall to protect the building. Visiting this place of UNESCO as the World Heritage Site which is one of other eight sites is quite enthusiastic. The building is a very iconic fortify that luxury dwells in each detail in the palace. On the salty valley of Ounila, the ksar is situated in a very special point of Ait Ben Haddou.

Ait Ben Haddou gains it importance according to both location and history. It was the major station for the caravans to exchange products. At the old times, it was the crucial point where different people meet to trade and also to rest before they continue their journey. However, all merchants and sellers throughout Morocco and Europe had chosen Ait Ben Haddou to transport jewelries as gold, silver, and other materials such as salt, spices and even slaves to the depth of the Moroccan Desert. Ait Ben Hadddou is where trade and economics dwell in one place. such a spectacular area is worthy visiting and exploring.

Ait Ben Haddou: At the Ksar

What makes Ait Ben Haddou even more famous and special is that the interesting contributions of the area in Hollywood. It has been regarded as one of the most essential basic studios for many of Hollywood movies. This is according to its magical diversity of nature while the number of films that were directed and shot in Ait Ben Haddou studios are massive. However, the scenes when Russel Crowe has played “the Gladiator” were shot in the village itself.

“Lawrence of Arabia”, and other films as “The Mummy” has also chosen the Ksar of Ait Ben Haddou as a background for many scenes. The location of the place was specifically used by Welles for “Sodome and Gomorrah”, and also for “Jesus of Nazareth”.

The sand village at the entrance of Ait Ben Haddou was also filmed in the scene where Deanerys Targaryen enters the Sand village.

When you are in Ait Ben Haddou, you will feel revived to examine the real locations behind your favorite movies. It is such quite a chance to encounter the true resource studio of filming, direction and backgrounds. And at the top of the hill, you will see the most unforgettable scene of the whole valley of Ounila which is beautiful.

Visiting Ait Ben Haddou deserves a full- day trip to let you spend enough time in such a place. The visitors will be glad exploring the village with sites and the natural studios of Ait Ben Haddou. After that, having a good meal on a terrace with the Kasbahs’ clear views will seem quite relaxing and warm.

Our next station is directly after 30 km from Ait Ben Haddou and it is Ouarzazate or the Moroccan capital of film making industry. The area includes the richest natural studios in the whole world. One of the most influential studios in Ouarzazate is the huge museum of the cinematographic art. The name “Ouarzazate”, however is a combination of Berber origins that means “without noise. Despite its peaceful meaning, Ouarzazate made the most prosperous activity ever.

The day trip continues…Off to Ouarzazate

The trip continues to Ouarzazate, and the first attraction to visit is the Kasbah of Taourirte, a beautiful construction that is well- preserved. The ancient building is a living example of history where many heroic stories are remembered in such a place. the guide will accompany you in order to direct the visitors answering each inquiry. During the trip, you will enjoy listening to the old stories related to the largest Moroccan Kasbah. Long time ago, Taourirte Kasbah was the home of the Pacha Glaoui, the former ruler of the region long time ago.

After that, the cinematographic art museum is going to be the trip’s second attraction in Ouarzazate. It is situated in the front hills of the previous Kasbah. The place is the main studio for a lot of international films; the building contains a massive collection of tools including costumes and the complete technics of VFX. However, different kinds of cameras are there for various usages. The chambers of the cinematographic art museum are also used in the filming and direction of many movies.

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