Ait Benhaddou is a “Ksar,” a fortified village in the foothill of the Atlas Mountain. This famous ksar was once a significant stop for traders carrying gold, salt and slaves along the caravan route between Sahara and Marrakesh. It was named a UNESCO Heritage Site and was a location of many famous films such as Lawrence of Arabia, Gladiator, Jesus of Nazareth, The Mummy, etc.
Inside the ksar’s defensive walls are collective dwellings built from clay brick and has public areas that include a mosque, public squares, cemeteries and a caravanserai. This ksar is a perfect example of earthen architecture that is typical in this region of Morocco.
The view of the ksar from a cafe.
Young lady of Ait Benhaddou
Only six miles away from Ait Benhaddou is the village of Tamdaght, dominated by the canyon walls of a Glaoui Kasbah. This famous kasbah was built by Gloui family who ruled south of Morocco for half century beginning in the late 1800’s.
We had never heard of Tamdaght until the manager at our guesthouse in the Sahara Desert oasis advised that we stay in this village instead of Ouarzazate to break our travel between Sahara and Marrakech. Ouarzazate, the Hollywood of Morocco, he said was “too touristy, no soul.” He recommended this guesthouse in Tamdaght, Kasbah Ellouze, and even made the reservation for us.
We were happy with his recommendation. Tamdaght was scenic and relaxing and Kasbah Ellouze was stunning. This is one of the several charming terraces of Kasbah Ellouze, which is just right next to the ruin of the historic Glaoui Kasbah.
The view of the surrounding rock mountain from the lower terrace of Kasbah Ellouze.
Doors on the ruin of the neighboring kasbah.
We looked down from the dining terrace and saw this adorable white camel looking up at us.
The porter of Kasbah Ellouze waiting for us by the doorway.
Follow our journey to vibrant Marrakesh.