Ait Ben Haddou

A Visual Guide To Ait-Ben Haddou

Our first time in Morocco was too short, but we were determined to make the most of it. This is why we wanted to visit the ancient city of Ait Ben Haddou, the fortified city made of six kasbahs (citadels) which in the past used to be a stop on the Sahara to Marrakech route. A UNESCO World Heritage site, nowadays only a few families still live there, without any electricity, water or (gasp!) Facebook! Most people have moved on the other side of the river to the newer village, but there is a bridge connecting the two, so families still living in the Ksar of Ait Ben Haddou aren’t completely disconnecting during the flood season. Thanks to its unique look (you may confuse it with a giant sand sculpture), it has been featured in many movies and tv shows.

We knew we wanted to visit so we booked in advance a day trip from Marrakech to Ait Ben Haddou and Ourzazate, through the Atlas Mountains. Leaving early in the morning, we arrived to Ait Ben Haddou after a nauseating car ride in the Atlas Mountains. The scenery was gorgeous though, but every picture I tried to take through the car window resulted in me bumping my head on the window and getting motion sickness. We did stop once, but it was so cold, we couldn’t stay out of the car for more than a few minutes.

We arrived at Ait Ben Haddou, where a local berber guide showed us the kasbahs, explained its long history and even helped us take pictures. Even though the weather didn’t cooperate and I missed the blue skies from Marrakech and Essaouira, I still loved it there. I realized I haven’t done a photo post in a while, so I figured why not. It’s totally because “a photo is worth a thousand words”, let’s just leave it at that 😉

If it wasn’t for views like this, I would’ve spent the whole trip with my eyes closed. Winding roads and a driver who seemed to be in a rush to get there, as if he was running from dragons.

You can enter the town on the new bridge or the traditional way of hopping from rock to rock, on the river (when it’s not flooded, of course). We chose the fun route, obviously! 😉

As we’ve mentioned in the first part of our Game of Thrones filming locations series, Ait Ben Haddou was featured in the popular tv show, as well as countless other movies, we’ve even seen a list at one of the shops with the most recent films to have had scenes filmed there.

Have you ever visited Ait Ben Haddou? I hope you had better weather than I did…

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  • Wow, this place looks surreal!
    Even with the shitty weather your photos are gorgeous 🙂

    • Thank you! 🙂

  • I really do not have words to describe this place. Dreaming a lot about visiting Morocco and this place. #citytripping

    • I’m sure you’d love it, Ruth!

  • Oh, wow! It really does seem like you’re stepping back in time, or into another world, like it came directly from a film. What an incredible setting, and just imagine all the history. I don’t know if I’d be too keen on the winding road and the hurried drive, either… 😉

    • One of my friends loved the driver. Me? I was trying to keep all the food down, haha.

  • It’s sooo beautiful and I wanna go! Pinned! I giggled when you gasped that a corner of the world doesn’t have FB! But they must be some tough cookies if they live without running water and electricity! #CityTripping

    • It definitely isn’t easy to live there, but they’ve survived for so long, I imagine they are used to it.

  • Kathleen (Kat)

    Wow, Ait Ben Haddou looks incredible, your photos are amazing! Yeah I have read about this place that it has been featured many times in countless movies – I can see why 🙂 Glad that a trip to Ait Ben Haddou can be part of a day trip excursion, fabulous! #citytripping

    • It’s an easy day trip, though I would have preferred to stay a little longer, but since the roads aren’t illuminated, navigating them in the dark is a big challenge.

  • I had no idea people still lived at Ait Benhaddou – or that you could do it as a day trip from Marrakech, missed out there. It always looks such an amazing place, I’d love to wander round and imagine how life used to be… and marvel at life there today. Thanks for linking up with #citytripping

    • I didn’t know that people lived there either, I was just as surprised as you were.

  • Hahah I love your GoT bobbleheads. I also went to Ait ben haddou when we were driving into the desert and it’s a pretty awesome place!

    • I would love to go to the desert as well, hopefully next time I’m in Morocco.

  • Anisa Alhilali

    Looks amazing but I’m with you how do people live there without the modern conveniences? It does really look like a giant sand sculpture. #TheWeeklyPostcard

    • I guess for them, living with modern technology would be the same as us living without it 🙂

  • Your photos look great even if the weather didn’t cooperate, Vlad. Air Ben Haddou looks like a very strange, exotic place. It must have been great wandering through those streets. #TheWeeklyPostcard

    • Thank you, Anda! It surely was different than any other place I’ve visited.

  • A wonderful post about this historic place. Great images as well.

  • David Johnston

    Ait Ben Haddou was one of my favourite stops when I was in Morocco, it just has so much character and looks fantastic from every angle. You’ve captured it incredibly well with your photos. It’s amazing how many movies and tv series you can recognise it from. #TheWeeklyPostcard

    • I loved it, I was surprised to see just how many movies were filmed there!

  • so nice!

    • It’s a very lovely village 🙂

  • Wow, gorgeous! Such a fascinating part of the world! It almost doesn’t look real!