If you want to be transported to what seems to be the biblical times, then go on an excursion to Ait-Ben-Haddou, Morocco. It may seem far away, but it is just a short two-hour flight from Madrid.
From Marrakech, you can drive (or, I highly recommend going on an organized tour; it’s much safer and easier) to the famous Ait-Ben-Haddou.
The tour groups, which normally accommodate anywhere from 8–12 passengers, depart Marrakech as early as 7:00am. The tour takes you over the gorgeous Atlas Mountains where you can photograph local villages against the backdrop of beautiful, dramatic landscapes. Coffee break in a Berber village with a panoramic view is oftentimes part of this itinerary.
Because of the beautiful surroundings and scenery, the three-hour drive seems a lot shorter. I was so fascinated by the villages, animals and the people I saw along the route. Villages and kasbahs made from red clay, snow-capped mountains and misty valleys, arid plains, lush oases and palm groves all come together to create an unforgettable experience for the visitors.
After the journey through the beautiful valleys, you will arrive at the ancient kasbah of Ait-Ben-Haddou, which is a UNESCO world Heritage site. There, you can wander around for two hours with your guide.
Because of the amazing ancient structures, many directors have chosen Ait-Ben-Haddou as an ideal location to shoot the following movies: Prince of Persia, Lawrence of Arabia, Kundun, Sodom and Gomorra, Jesus of Nazareth, Jewel of the Nile, Kingdom of Heaven, The Mummy, Gladiator, 7 Days in Tibet, Alexander the Great, and Babel among others.
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You can also visit the famed kasbah Taourit, built in the 18th century by the powerful Glaoui family, and the Studios Atlas movie studio in adjacent Ouarzazate. This is a popular film studio with sound stages and props from box office movies from the past 40 years.
You will depart this amazing place in the late afternoon with more than just photos, but a lifetime of memories.
Enjoy new highlights of travel photographer Edwin Santiago’s journeys each Tuesday and Thursday.
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Last modified: August 16, 2019