As I mentioned in the previous UNESCO post, I made a trip to Morocco in 2006, and on the way to the Sahara we stopped off at Ait Ben-Haddou.
The Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou is a remarkable example of the traditional pre-Saharan villages characteristic of Southern Morocco and is considered one of hte best preserved kasbahs of the entire Atlas region. This fortified city has many earthly coloured buildings huddled together closely within the defensive walls of the village. It is thought to hae been founded by the Almoravids in the 11th century to control the caravan routes from Telouet to Ouarzazate.
Ait-Ben-Haddou has been listed as a World Heritage Site since 1987, and many films have been shot there including Lawrence of Arabia, The Mummy, Jesus of Nazareth and Gladiator. When visiting we were introduced to a local man who proudly showed us his pass he was given when he was an extra in Gladiator.
Perfectly situated on a hill overlooking the fertile river valley, surrounded by desert, and with the snow capped Atlas mounrtains as a backdrop, the view from the top seems to encompass the whole world; making the ascent through the alleys of Ait-ben-Haddou, which is like rambling through the middle ages, one of life’s great experinces.
- More images from my trip to Morocco can be found here.
- More information about Ksar Ait-Ben-Haddou can be found on the UNESCO website here.