Ait Ben Haddou is a kasbah or village in the Ounila Valley, south of Télouet in the province of Ouarzazate. This valley was a traditional crossing caravans linking Marrakech to Saharan region. It is a true example of the architecture of traditional southern Morocco which is on the side of a hill on top of which there was a collective attic (an agadir). There’s a set of earthen buildings surrounded by walls, the ksar, which is a type of traditional pre-Saharan habitat. The defensive walls are reinforced with corner towers and houses are grouped within the oldest of which date back to the seventeenth century. Around it, a group of villages gathers next to the river that runs through the valley. The people, of nomadic origin, are mostly Berber. The village is inscribed on the World Heritage of UNESCO. For movie lovers, many films have been made in this lovely place such as Lawrence of Arabia, Jesus of Nazareth, Sodom and Gomorrah, The Nile diamond, The Mummy, Gladiator, among others.
There are two ways to access the kasbah, the ‘tourist’ one, being helped by children waiting for tourists to cross over sandbags on the small river in exchange of some coins or by a bridge built in recent years which will not cause you problems in the case of having a hard time climbing the small hill or for disabled people.
If you insist on taking photos with villagers, always ask their permission, remember that this is their place and us, we are just visitors …
You will find some craftsmen and as usual, you have to negotiate the price before.
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