Ait Ben Haddou: A Popular Movie Shooting Destination (Part One)

Morocco is one of the most exotic destinations in the world. Although it is famous for hosting dozens of incredible sites, Morocco stands out for its exuberant culture and its secret places or with a heritage that remains to this day, true treasures that give tourists the opportunity to admire a unique landscape. This is the case of Ait Ben Haddou, a place not to be missed if you plan to visit this beautiful North African country.

Perhaps you have already seen some of the places of Ait Ben Haddou in a movie, as its enormous mystery and beauty have made it a set for series and movies on several occasions. So are you eager to learn more about this destination? Keep reading below!

Ait Ben Haddou, the Most Fascinating Place in Morocco

Ait Ben Haddou is located in the province of Ouarzazate, in the Draa-Tafilalet region of Morocco. It is a spectacular city built of clay and stone, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987. Over the years, it has become a great tourist attraction.

Ait Ben Haddou is Morocco’s most famous ksara kind of walled city that consists of many kasbahs inside. If you have the opportunity to visit it, don’t hesitate a second. Ait Ben Haddou has a very particular architecture and entering its labyrinthine streets is an unforgettable experience.

History of Ait Ben Haddou

The history of Ait Ben Haddou is a little unclear as it is not known exactly when its construction began. Thus, some historians claim that its founder was Ben Haddou, who established a tribe there around the year 757, while the current buildings date from a period between the 11th and 17th centuries.

In ancient times, Ait Ben Haddou was located on one of the most coveted trade routes between Marrakech and the Sahara. It was also an important strategic point, as the ancient Sudan met the imperial cities there. This allowed the city to gain popularity and spread. For the time, these trips took months, however, this city offered everything a traveler could need: inn, mosque, granary.

Ait Ben Haddou was on the verge of disappearing, because when its commercial splendor ended, many buildings remained uninhabited. Indeed, the adobe construction was very vulnerable. However, thanks to the resources granted by UNESCO, private organizations and the profits that some films have left, this site has been preserved. So much so that today it offers services dedicated to tourists, such as cafes, hotels and restaurants.

And although it looks like an uninhabited city, it is not! It is still occupied by a few families, although on hot summer days it is difficult to see people walking around, as they seem to get lost in the shadows of the labyrinthine streets and underground passages. But what is certain is that many of its inhabitants have decided to seek a better quality of life and settle in the city or in Villa Nueva, where the majority reside, near the Ounila River.

Ait Ben Haddou has been chosen as a film location for movies and television series, including Game of Thrones. The profile of the buildings, the weather conditions, the impressive setting and the kindness of the inhabitants have seen many film crews pass through over the decades.

The films recorded in Ait Ben Haddou were:

  • Gladiator
  • The Mummy
  • Lawrence of Arabia
  • The Jewel of the Nile
  • 007: High Tension
  • The last temptation of Christ
  • The Kingdom of Heaven
  • Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
  • The Queen of the Desert

There you are! Now that you know more about Ait Ben Haddou, we are sure that you definitely want to visit this country. And if we are right, we recommend you come and check the second part of our article where we will tell you more on the places you should visit there! What are your thoughts so fa about this destination? Let us know in the comments below.

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