Morocco’s Film Set: Ait Benhaddou and Ouarzazate

I have to admit, the majority of my free time at home is spent watching TV. I don’t think I have ever existed in a state of not obsessing over at least one box set. I also love a good movie, particularly when it’s being shown on the big screen and I can spend a couple hours attempting to get popcorn in my mouth, before inevitably leaving the cinema and finding crumbs for a good few hours afterwards. 

Since I do get quite obsessed, if I find out that somewhere I’m going has been used as a location in a programme or film that I love, I have no choice but to find it. Hence, on my trip to Marrakech I spent hours bundled in the back of a boiling hot car to go to Ouarzazate, the location of Morocco’s biggest studios and Kasbah Taourirt fortress, for the one simple reason that some of Gladiator was filmed there.

Whilst I didn’t get to go into the studios, I did get to go to the fortress, which was pretty impressive. Sadly, however, I could only view it from the outside and from buildings overlooking it. I didn’t get the chance to actually wander inside. Considering the amount of time I’d spent in the car to get there, it was a shame.

The day trip I went on included a stop off at another site as well, just outside Ouarzazate, Ait Benhaddou. I had never heard of the place but it turns out it was used to film Gladiator, The Mummy and Game of Thrones (amongst others), so I was pretty excited to see it.

As far as I was concerned, Ait Benhaddou was the highlight of the day. It’s an old fortified city made up of earthen buildings, on the edge of the Atlas Mountains en route to the Sahara desert. The architecture was pretty spectacular and I actually got to go inside this one. Although, being on a tight time frame I didn’t have as long to explore as I would have liked.


9 thoughts on “Morocco’s Film Set: Ait Benhaddou and Ouarzazate

  1. Lovely country. The only trouble was the youth were trying anything to get out of the country. The small towns seemed quite and caught in a time warp. There is a lot of potential there.


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