Between Marrakech and Ouarzazate is Ait Ben Haddou, which is located on the left bank of the Wadi Mellah (the valley) where the Oued Ounila flows, a river whose source is in the High Atlas Mountains. This spectacular city consists of a set of dwellings and infrastructures surrounded by defensive walls and towers.
Ait Ben Haddou is the most impressive in Morocco and became world-renowned due to the series Game of Thrones. In the famous series, Ait Benhaddou is the slave town of Yunkai. Needless to say, fans of the series have an additional reason to visit this true marvel of Morocco. Today, we continue our article on this fantastic place that you should visit at least once. And if you’ve missed the first part of our blog, check it out here.
So what should you visit in Ait Ben Haddou? Let’s find out below.
Ksar of Ait Ben Haddou
The Ksar (the arabic word for castle) impressively presents its buildings built on a 100 meter high hill, crowned by towers that serve as defenses, similar to medieval castles. These ksars were once large fortified Berber villages, designed to defend houses and crops.
It is an example of strategic construction: they are located in front of a mountain and surrounded by angular towers with a defensive wall. This ksar is also an example of the use of materials such as adobe, earth, straw and wood for construction in the past. It has three access doors, from which one can approach the kasbah of Ait Ben Haddou, which are a sample of the way of life of this city.
To visit this ksar, it is not necessary to have a guide, but if you prefer, you can hire one who will surely be happy to show you around in exchange for a few coins. Of course, don’t forget to haggle over the price, as some tend to raise the price to take advantage of unsuspecting visitors.\
The Dungeon of the Kasbah
The dungeon of the Kasbah is an almost historical place, which has become a trace of the fortified splendor of this ksar. Today, it is practically in ruins, but if you climb to its top, you can enjoy the best panoramic views of this city.
The Ounila Valley
The Ounila Valley was known as the main passage between the cities of northern Morocco and the caravan routes of the Sahara Desert. This is where Ait Ben Haddou is located. It is a hot landscape, full of sand and a characteristic reddish tone.
In addition to this ksar, other villages are spread out in the valley of the Ounila. The most populated is the one along the river of the same name, just where the highway passes.
Here you will find indigenous fossils and minerals that, although they should be preserved as archaeological gems, the state does not yet have the budget to protect them. In the town, you will also find Moroccan handicrafts of all kinds: clay pots, iron tools, leather belts, wool, handmade glass and a few other small treasures.
How to Get From Marrakech to Ait Ben Haddou?
The distance between Marrakech and Ait Ben Haddou is about 181 kilometers. It is a circuit that will take you a little more than three and a half hours to cover. There are several possibilities of transport:
– By private vehicle
In the city of Marrakech, you can rent a car, avoid getting lost by using a GPS.
– Hire a cab
This option is available in Marrakech, but you will not have the freedom to choose your schedule, and in most cases you will have to share the ride.
– By bus
This is a very cheap way, but the tours usually take much longer and you will have to wait until the next day to return to Marrakech.
It is worthwhile to visit the Ksar carefully, to enter its houses and observe its curious buildings and decorative styles. You can stay there for a few days if you stay in a hotel or take a day trip if you come from Marrakech. Don’t miss it
What do you think of Ait Ben Haddou? Would you like to visit it? Have you already visited it? Leave us a comment below to let us know your thoughts.