Ouarzazate (Morocco)

What to See in Ouarzazate (Morocco)

According to Shoppingpicks.net, Ouarzazate is located in the south of Morocco on the eastern side of the Atlas Mountains at an altitude of more than 1000 meters. The rivers Draa, Dades and Ziz flow here. The valleys of these rivers are very beautiful – there are palm groves that surround the ancient villages. Local landscapes are known all over the world; more than one film of the main American film studios has been filmed here. The city also has a local film studio, one of the largest in the world. Ouarzazate is also known for the fact that ancient dinosaur remains were discovered in its vicinity, their age is at least 180 million years. This fossil animal, approximately 9 m long, was the ancestor of diplodocus and brachiosaurs. In appearance, it resembled a rhinoceros with a rather long neck and tail.

22 km northwest of the city is the most impressive in Morocco kasbah (a fortified Berber city made of clay, which served as a refuge for the local population during wars, and was used for housing the rest of the time) Ait Benhaddou, in which almost no one lives now. This kasbah was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, all the buildings here are made of clay with battlements.

8 km west of Ouarzazate, on a hill, stands the Tifultu Kasbah, which in ancient times controlled the entire valley. The Kasbah once belonged to the pasha of Marrakesh Glaoui, but today it has been turned into a hotel with a restaurant where performances with traditional dances are held in the evenings.

To the east of Ouarzazate is the Dades Gorge. in which there is a deep canyon. A strong wind blows in the canyon. Once upon a time, lions lived in the gorge area, but the last of them was killed in 1905. Through this gorge you can reach the Berber villages of the High Atlas, such as Agudal and Imilchil, which hosts the “Moussem des Fiances” marriage festival in September, which gathers young women and men from all over the region in the hope of finding a mate, and from the village Agudal can be reached in the Todra Gorge – one of the most picturesque natural attractions in Morocco. The trail goes among the palm groves growing along the banks of the drying riverbed, after which it goes to the gorge, which is only 10 meters wide, while the sheer cliffs that limit it reach a height of 300 meters!

Valley of the Dades River

The Valley of Dades is sometimes called the Valley of a Thousand Kasbahs. Unfortunately, most of the kasbahs are in a deplorable state. However, some sections of the valley have escaped the ravages of time. Skura palm grove, or rose valley is one of them. This grove was founded in the 12th century by Yakub el-Mansur and is famous for plantations of rose bushes, from the petals of which rose water is made. Kasbah El Kelaa de M’Guna is the rose water capital. Rose water is very actively used in Morocco in perfumery and cooking. The best time to visit this place is the end of May, when the harvest festival is celebrated. During the holiday, the whole city turns into one big market, which is accompanied by music and dancing. At the festival, a queen of roses is chosen to rule over the harvest.

Several kasbahs have also been well preserved in the valley, the most beautiful of which is the kasbah of the Amerhidiles, with finely decorated outer walls.

Draa river valley

The valley stretches along the riverbed for 200 km from Ouarzazate to Zagora, which is also known as the “gate of the desert”. The path passes through numerous palm groves and villages with lush vegetation. This route is considered a classic for Morocco. as it allows you to see traditional Berber villages. The most daring travelers can continue on to Zagora to see the first sand dunes of the Sahara Desert. The highest dune reaches 150 meters. It is from Zagora that all tours on the sands of the Sahara start. The main routes pass through the Red Dunes, dry riverbeds and rocky areas. Zagora used to be on the caravan route leading to Timbuktu.

Ouarzazate (Morocco)

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