What do Game of Thrones, Gladiator, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade have in common? They were filmed, in part, in the foothills of Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains’ southern slopes. Kasbah Ait Benhaddou, dating to the 17th century, is the setting for many of these television and movie productions. Every day the Kasbah is also host to a steady stream of tourists wanting to see this historic example of southern Moroccan earthen clay architecture.
Located along the former caravan route between the Sahara Desert and Marrakesh, Ait Benhaddou is made up of merchant dwellings and other houses.
I am part of an Exodus Travels tour when I visit. We approach the Kasbah by way of a pathway through a thicket of trees. The closer we walk, the more merchants we come across selling beautiful rugs, pottery and other traditional Moroccan souvenirs. To further experience the Kasbah, sure-footed climbers can also make their way into the interior where they can explore more.
A UNESCO World Heritage site since 1987, the houses are crowded into an area protected by defensive walls. Some homes are modest while others resemble small castles. There are also community areas including a mosque, a public square, grain threshing areas outside the ramparts, a fortification and a loft at the top of the village, a caravanserai (a large inn) and two cemeteries (Muslim and Jewish).
To visit the Kasbah is a truly extraordinary experience of time travel and understanding of this part of the world and another chapter in Moroccan history.
Film productions taking place here:
- Lawrence Of Arabia (1962)
- Sodom And Gomorrah (1963)
- Oedipus Rex (1967)
- The Man Who Would Be King (1975)
- The Message (1976)
- Jesus of Nazareth (1977)
- Time Bandits (1981)
- Marco Polo (1982)
- The Jewel of the Nile (1985)
- The Living Daylights (1987)
- The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)
- Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
- The Sheltering Sky (1990)
- Kundun (1997)
- The Mummy (1999)
- Gladiator (2000)
- Spy Game (2001)
- Alexander (2004)
- Kingdom of Heaven (2005)
- Babel (2006)
- The Hills Have Eyes (2006)
- One Night with the King (2006)
- Prince of Persia (2010)
- Game of Thrones (TV Show 2010)
- Son of God (2014)
- The Queen of Desert (2014)
- Tut (TV Show 2014)