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to Morocco: A guide
- City of Tranquillity and Land of Kasbahs by Siham Ben Chikh
If we talk about Morocco,
we must automatically talk about its natural richness, its cultural variety,
and its long history, and every city in morocco has its own beauty, its
own charm, and its own specificities. Ouarzazate is one of those very famous
cities in Morocco, mostly thanks to its tranquillity (no wonder its name
means "no noise") and its fantastic natural setting. But I also want to
mention in this article the excellent tourist conditions in Ouarzazate
in terms of historical monuments, natural spaces, and cultural heritage.
|The nature surrounding Ouarzazate
and its architectural jewels are so famous that many film directors have
chosen it as their favourite destination to shoot many internationally
celebrated films including, among many others, "Asterix & Obelix: Mission
Cleopatra", "Lawrence of Arabia", "The Man Who Would Be King", "Cleopatra,
"Kundun", "Gladiator" and lately "Alexander", "Kingdom of Heaven" and "Babe".
Ouarzazate was also the location
of the 26th of November 2006 episode of the television series "The Amazing
Race 10", all of which is possible thanks to the big studios equipped with
all the necessary means for a most success film production, such as the
CLA studios or the Atlas Film Studio.
The Kasbahs are the most
important monuments that can attract the attention of the visitors to Ouarzazate.
First, we have Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou, which has been listed by UNESCO as
a World Heritage Site. This impressive and beautiful Kasbah is located
15 miles from Ouarzazate, a huge castle that stands in the middle of fields
and trees, where you enjoy have a wonderful view over the river and the
Also, you can find the Tifoultout
Kasbah, located 7 miles from the city centre and where you can enjoy the
beauty of the fields and murmur of the waters coming from the river. This
17th century Kasbah used to be the residence of the Pasha Glawi and consists
of a series of rising towers that confer it a spectacular appearance. The
Kasbah now hosts a fantastic hotel-hostel-restaurant where you can enjoy
an utterly exotic and adventurous stay.
Equally, you can visit the
Taourirt Kasbah, located in the city centre and also listed by UNESCO as
World Heritage Monument. This majestic Kasbah used to be, in the 19th century,
the residence of the powerful Pasha of Marrakech and, before that, the
ancient palace of the "Lords of the Atlas". It was built with earth and
straw, which makes it certainly fragile, but several rooms, richly decorated
mostly with carved cedar wood ceilings, can be visited.
|More than that, Ouarzazate
has been called "The City of the 1000 Kasbahs", due to the many Kasbahs
that are spread everywhere (Skoura, Talmasl, Agdez palaces, etc.). All
this architectural maste pieces show the incredible skill and savoir-fair
of the local craftsmen.
Near Ouarzazate, you will
also enjoy different and varied natural spaces, such as the impressive
Dadés and Todgha gorges, which are located in Tinghir (90 miles
from Ouarzazate in the road to Errachidia), or the oasis of Fint, located
7.5 miles from Ouarzazate, a magnificent and gorgeous place.
In Ouarzazate, the visitor
will get the chance to discover the local cultural heritage, which can
be experience in many contexts and sites.
For example, the local folklore
(in the "ahwach" and "ahidous" dances), the food (like "baddaz", which
is prepared with corn flour and vegetables and meat, or the traditional
called "tafarnout"), the clothes (such as the "taterft" and the "laktib"
dresses for celebrations), and the Amazigh jewellery (like the "tikhlallin"
and the "talguamout", which are usually made of silver).
So, visiting Ouarzazate is
a perfect occasion to discover another aspect of the endless beauty of
Morocco, and this beautiful city is always glad to welcome its visitors
with open arms to offer them its clean air and its lovely weather. Ouarzazate
treats its visitor to a holiday full of pleasure, full of enjoyment, and
full of peace and tranquillity.
For your holidays in Ouarzazate,
you can stay in one of the fantastic Marrakech hotels, not far from the
City of the 1000 Kasbahs, or in one of the charming and typical Marrakech
riads. You can also stay in a lovely villa in Marrakech, closer to Ouarzazate
and the rural areas, where landscapes are stunning and where the inhabitants
will welcome you with open arms.
About the Author: Siham Ben
Chikh studied in the special centre for the blind Organisation Alaouite
Pour La Protection Des Aveugles in Taroudant, Morocco. She obtained her
Baccalaureate in English Literature from the Mohammed VI High School in
Ouarzazate, her DEUG Honours English Diploma and BA Degree in English Studies
from the Ibnou Zouhr University and her Communication Studies Certificate
from the American Association Sea English Academy International in ISIAM,