The City of Ouarzazate Kasbah

Ouarzazate 03 (Photo credit: soveillame)

Ouarzazate Kabash is literally translated into “door of the desert”. This city is the capital of the Ouarzazate Province in the southern part of central Morocco. Since 2004, its population has been estimated at around 56,000. This city is elevated 1,160 meters over sea level in the center of a barren plateau on the south of the Atlas Mountains. Towards the south of this town is a large desert.

The city is mostly inhabited by Berbers, who constricted most of the prominent fortresses, or Kasbahs, in the area. Ouarzazate Kabash is a very popular holiday destination for Morocco because it acts as a nodal point for excursions across the desert and the Draa Valley. The ksar, or fortified village of Ait Benhaddou lies nearby this city. Ait Benhaddou is full of rich history and culture, causing UNESCO to declare it a World Heritage Site.

Ouarzazate: Kasbah de Taourirt (Photo credit: Jean & Nathalie)

This town is also well known as a filming location for many famous movies. The largest studios in Morocco often invite international filming companies to shoot their movies in this region. Some famous titles are Gladiator, The Mummy, Lawrence of Arabia, The Living Daylights, Star Wars, The Last Temptation of Christ, Legionnaire, Kundun, and the Kingdom of Heaven.

At one point, Ouarzazate was a small crossing point for African merchants who were trying to reach the northern cities of Europe and Morocco. Throughout the period of French occupation, the city expanded greatly to include a customs post, administrative center, and a garrison. This region is also well known for its beautiful carpets with black backgrounds and orange-red geometric designs.

Kasbah Taorirt, Ouarzazate (Photo credit: lin padgham)

The climate in the city is dry and hot during the summer, but it can become very cold all throughout the winter. The freezing winds come from the Atlas Mountains, and the weather may get especially cold during the night, so it is advised to take shelter before sundown.

Aït-Benhaddou (Photo credit: Jean & Nathalie)
seco (Photo credit: Ricardo Hurtubia)

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