Ouarzazate, Drâa-Tafilalet Region, Morocco

Etymology | History | Film studios | Sights | Sights nearby

🇲🇦 Ouarzazate, nicknamed the door of the desert, is a city and capital of Ouarzazate Province in the region of Drâa-Tafilalet, south-central Morocco. Ouarzazate is at an elevation of 1,160 metres (3,810 ft) in the middle of a bare plateau south of the High Atlas Mountains, with a desert to the city's south.

Berber-speakers make up the majority of the town's inhabitants, who were responsible for the creation of many of the prominent kasbahs (locally referred to as: iɣeṛman). Ouarzazate is a primary tourist destination in Morocco during the holidays, as well as a starting point for excursions into and across the Draa Valley and the desert. Aït Benhaddou (a fortified village) west of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Ouarzazate area is a noted film-making location, with Morocco's biggest studios inviting many international companies to work here. Films such as Lawrence of Arabia (1962), The Man Who Would Be King (1975), The Living Daylights (1987), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), The Mummy (1999), Gladiator (2000), Kingdom of Heaven (2005), Kundun (1997), Legionnaire (1998), Hanna (2011), The Hills Have Eyes (2006), and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (2011) were shot here, as was part of the TV series Game of Thrones.

The nearby Ouarzazate solar power station, co-funded by the Arab League, was connected to the Moroccan power grid in February 2016.

Etymology Its name comes from a Berber phrase meaning "without noise" or "without confusion".

History For a long time, Ouarzazate was a small crossing point for African traders on their way to northern Morocco and Europe. In the 16th century, Sheikh Abu al-'Abaas Ahmed bin Abdellah al-Wizkiti al-Warzazi, emir of the qasba of Ouarzazate and father of Lalla Masuda, helped establish Saadi control over the Sous-Dra'a region.

During the French period, Ouarzazate expanded considerably as a garrison town, administrative centre and customs post. It is home to the Kasbah Taourirt, which was the kasbah of the former caïd and later owned by T'hami El Glaoui. The Krupp field gun which secured Glaoui power is displayed outside the kasbah today.

The area is also known for its Ouazguita carpets with geometric designs of red-orange on black background.

Film studios Atlas Studios is one of the largest movie studios in the world, in terms of land area. Movies were shot here including The Living Daylights, Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra, Lawrence of Arabia, The Man Who Would Be King, The Mummy, Kingdom of Heaven, Gladiator, and Babel. It was also the location of an episode of the television series The Amazing Race 10 and Game of Thrones (Season 3). Prison Break Season 5 was filmed here.

Another large studio in Ouarzazate is CLA Studios.

Sights The kasbah-town of Aït Benhaddou is nearby. Many excursions through the valley of the Draa River into the Sahara start from the city. These include trips to Zagora, an oasis town surrounded by palm tree plantations and a departure point for camel trains to Timbuktu, a journey that would take about 52 days. These days the border to Algeria is closed, stopping the Timbuktu route.

The city was part of the route of the 2006 and 2007 Dakar Rally.

Many sights can be visited within the city, but also, a wide list of interesting attractions can be found around Ouarzazate.

Sights nearby: 1 Megdaz; 2 Bou Tharar; 3 Tifoultoute Kasbah; 4 Fint Oasis; 5 Jbel Adad Petroglyphs; 6 Iguernan Nature Reserve; 7 Ksar Ait Benhaddou; 8 Ounila Valley; 9 Skoura Oasis; 10 Stork's Kasbah; 11 CLA Studios; 12 Atlas Film Studios; 13 The Abandoned "Hills Have Eyes" movie set; 14 Tizgui Waterfall; 15 Al Mansour Dahbi Dam; 16 Gazelle Animal Natural Reserve of Bouljir; 17 Cinema Museum (Musée du Cinema).

Casablanca Time 
Casablanca Time
Image: Adobe Stock Tarik GOK #242664923

Ouarzazate has a population of over 71,067 people. Ouarzazate also forms the centre of the wider Ouarzazate Province which has a population of over 499,980 people. It is also a part of the larger Drâa-Tafilalet Region.

To set up a UBI Lab for Ouarzazate see: https://www.ubilabnetwork.org Twitter: https://twitter.com/UBILabNetwork

Ouarzazate is a member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network for Film see: https://en.unesco.org/creative-cities

Twin Towns, Sister Cities Ouarzazate has links with:

🇫🇷 Maubeuge, France
Text Atribution: Wikipedia Text under CC-BY-SA license

Antipodal to Ouarzazate is: 173.083,-30.917

Locations Near: Ouarzazate -6.91667,30.9167

🇲🇦 Zagora -5.833,30.317 d: 123.3  

🇲🇦 Marrakech -7.993,31.625 d: 129.1  

🇲🇦 Marrakesh -8,31.63 d: 130  

🇲🇦 Tinghir -5.517,31.5 d: 148.1  

🇲🇦 Beni Mellal -6.35,32.333 d: 166.4  

🇲🇦 Fquih Ben Salah -6.533,32.5 d: 179.8  

🇲🇦 Ben Guerir -7.95,32.233 d: 176.1  

🇲🇦 Chichaoua -8.767,31.533 d: 188.8  

🇲🇦 Khouribga -6.917,32.883 d: 218.7  

🇲🇦 Settat -7.617,33 d: 240.9  

Antipodal to: Ouarzazate 173.083,-30.917

🇳🇿 Whangārei 174.326,-35.725 d: 19468.1  

🇳🇿 Hibiscus Coast 174.698,-36.606 d: 19365.1  

🇳🇿 North Shore City 174.75,-36.8 d: 19343.1  

🇳🇿 Auckland 174.763,-36.853 d: 19337.1  

🇳🇿 Hamilton 175.28,-37.788 d: 19224.9  

🇳🇿 Cambridge 175.467,-37.883 d: 19210.2  

🇳🇿 Tauranga 176.154,-37.7 d: 19210  

🇳🇿 Rotorua 176.25,-38.133 d: 19162  

🇳🇿 Taupō 176.072,-38.687 d: 19109.1  

🇳🇿 Stratford 174.283,-39.333 d: 19072.9  

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