Ouarzazate, nicknamed The door of the desert, is a city and capital of Ouarzazate Province in Drâa-Tafilalet region of south-central Morocco in the middle of a bare plateau south of the High Atlas Mountains.
In the past, Ouarzazate was a crossroad for African traders seeking to reach northern cities in Morocco and Europe. During the French period, Ouarzazate expanded considerably as a garrison town and administrative centre. It is the largest town in the Moroccan Sahara.
Its name comes from a Berber phrase meaning “without noise” or “without confusion”. The town is chiefly inhabited by Berber-speakers, who constructed many of the prominent kasbahs and buildings for which the area is known.
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 Living Daylights (1987), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), The Mummy (1999), Gladiator (2000), Kingdom of Heaven (2005), Kundun (1997), Legionnaire (1998), Hanna (2011), and Salmon Fishing in Yemen (2011) were shot here, as was part of the TV series Game of Thrones.
The area is also known for its Ouazguita carpets with geometric designs of red-orange on black background.
You do not need to enter the centrally located Taourirt Kasbah, as it is empty, crumbling and unimpressive. You will get the very best impression of it from the street.
As featured in Road to Desert • MOROCCO.