Ouarzazate, Morocco: The gateway to southern Morocco
Quarzazate is located around 200 kilometers southeast of Marrakech and is also a very good starting point for trips to the south of Morocco. The city lies on a desert-like plateau in the Presahara. Founded as a garrison town by the French in 1928, Quarzazate is now an important administrative and economic center. The tourist infrastructure is very well developed – there is an international airport here.
The greatest attraction in Quarzazate is the Glaoui-Kasbah Taourirt
The city complex extends far over the desert-like plateau. The cityscape is dominated by the color of the reddish-brown houses, which blend harmoniously into the desert plateau. The main street of Quarzazate is the wide avenue Mohammed V, which runs through the town from east to west. The biggest tourist magnet in Quarzazate is the Glaoui-Kasbah Taourirt. It strives impressively up from the Ksar Taourirt, which was built from mud under the protection of the gigantic castle. The best way to explore the village’s nested streets made of clay is to take a long walk. The kasbah itself is one of the largest in Morocco and was the residence and official residence of a Khalifa of El Glaoui.
The favorite’s room is particularly splendid
Inside the Kasbah, in addition to a large number of living rooms, visitors can also expect magnificent halls in the style of Moorish architecture, which were used for representational purposes. On the outer walls, the extensive Berber ornamentation, which consists of geometric motifs, is impressive.
Certain rooms of the Kasbah have been restored and can be viewed by tourists. The so-called “favorite” room is a special gem. The narrow room is characterized by walled-in seating in the side walls. The ceiling of the room is made of carved cedar wood and impresses with its splendor of colors. A side passage leads from here to the small museum of the Kasbah. Another museum is right across from the Kasbah, the Musée du Cinema, which is entirely dedicated to cinema. Quarzazate has served as the location for some famous films such as Game of Thrones, The Popess, and The Medicus.
Quarzazate’s Berber carpets have an excellent reputation
Quarzazate is also famous for its Berber carpets, which are hand-knotted by women. Its shine is silky, the copper tones are extremely warm, and the background is black. You can buy the wonderful carpets either in the Ensemble Artisanal opposite the Kasbah or in the Coóperative Artisanale. At the gates of Quarzazate there is an area of around 30 hectares with film sets that the film studios had built by Moroccan craftsmen. Guided tours through the open-air studios are possible.
Aït-Ben-Haddou is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Many tourists use Quarzazate as an ideal starting point for excursions in the surrounding area. The well-fortified village of Aït-Ben-Haddou is one of the most popular excursion destinations. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987. Aït-Ben-Haddou is one of the most beautiful places in all of Morocco. The village consists of a confusing maze of warehouses, towers and houses. The place has already served as a backdrop for film productions several times. Local guides offer tourists to accompany them through the nested maze of the village.
Another destination is the Kasbah Tiffoultoute, which is just under ten kilometers northwest of Quarzazate. In the arcade courtyard of the rammed earth kasbah, tourists are treated to local dishes. From the terrace you have a wonderful panoramic view over the valley of the Qued Quarzazate river.