When hearing it for the first time, the name Ouarzazate seems strange to us, but surely you must have seen scenarios of this incredible Moroccan destination in a Hollywood movie.

The city of Ouarzazate is one of the great tourist highlights of the southern region of Morocco. The territory is well known among filmmakers, and has been selected several times to be the stage for numerous films and series such as Asterix and Obelix, Babel, The Mummy, Prince of Persia, Kingdom of Heaven and Game of Thrones. Stories that can be seen in two highly recommended attractions in the destination: the cinema museum, which brings together a spectacular collection of equipment, accessories, clothing and some scenarios created for the recording of films in Ouarzazate, and the Atlas Studios, with halls and areas where tourists can stroll inside famous Hollywood movie sets, such as Martin Scorsese's Gladiator and Kundun.

It's not just the film industry that Ouarzazate stands out, the region is famous for housing numerous Kasbahs – majestic fortified buildings with geometric designs and shapes of Berber origin. Built in strategic locations, these true monuments served as points of refuge for trade routes and a space where populations protected themselves from invasions, sandstorms, or from the intense cold that came to kill livestock, for example. These millennial buildings are found in several Arab cities in North Africa, and are living examples of the grandiose architectural style of the people who lived in this region thousands of years ago.

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There are so many buildings scattered in this part of the country, that there is an itinerary entitled “Route of a thousand Kasbahs”, much sought after by tourists who want to know in depth this exotic desert region of the globe. Located in the urban perimeter of the city of Ouarzazate, Kasbah Taourirt is the second most preserved in the country and one of the most famous.

Taourirt Kasbah, the best known in Ouarzazate. Photo: Gustavo Albano

Shops in Ouarzazate. Photo: Gustavo Albano

The Kasbah of Taourirt was built in the 18th century and served as a palace for El Glaoui Pasha, a great political leader in the country in the first half of the 20th century. Today the building with more than 400 rooms serves as a museum and also houses some craft shops and spaces where artists translate their name into Arabic and Berber on letters and sell them as souvenirs. The building can be considered a true labyrinth, with spaces decorated by impressive mosaic murals with endless details, which fill the most different corners of the room, such as walls, doors, windows and roofs.

Ouarzazate is known worldwide for the films that were shot in the city. Photo: Gustavo Albano

Other famous Kasbahs in the destination are the Kasbah Tifoultoute and Ait Ben Haddou, a grand fortified city, camouflaged in a rocky mountain 28 km from the center of Ouarzazate. The attraction is one of the most important in the country and has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1987.

The city of Aït Ben Haddou is more than 800 years old. Photo: Gustavo Albano

The city looks like a biblical setting and has served as a location for several films. Photo: Gustavo Albano

Nature was also generous in this area of the country, in Ouarzazate there are numerous oases that further enrich the region's cinematographic scenarios. Oasis Fint, for example, is located just 14 km from the city center between rocky mountains and palm groves that create an incredible play of colors along with the stone-colored villages and the blue sky prevailing at almost any time of the year.

Take some free time to walk through the downtown streets and get lost in the many shops selling typical handicrafts in the country. This tour will certainly bring you closer contact with the culture and will make you discover a festival of colors and flavors, present in spices and handicrafts. Those who are lucky can visit the souk that opens on Sundays and get to know the day-to-day life of Moroccans and this strong culture driven by commerce.

So many leisure options ask for at least one night in the city. To the delight of tourists, charming inns and luxury hotels can be easily found in Ouarzazate, it is the case of baby palace, just a 5-minute drive from the famous Kasbah of Taourirt. The hotel with traditional Moroccan architecture has areas adorned with pieces that served as decoration in films that were recorded in the city in super elegant environments that surround leisure spaces, outdoor pool, spa center with the traditional hammam (turkish bath), sauna and hot tub.

Walking through the streets of Aït Ben Haddou. Photo: Gustavo Albano

* This trip was made at the invitation of the Official Delegation of Tourism of Morocco in collaboration with the airline Royal Air Maroc Brasil.

» Morocco: tips on how to plan a trip around the country
» Itinerary in Morocco: discovering the south of the country
» Ksar Aït Ben Haddou, a journey through the history of Morocco
» Chefchaouen, the blue city in Morocco
» Morocco: what to visit in Casablanca

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