Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Ait Benhaddou

If you are a regular film viewer, you have probably seen Ait Benhaddou. It has been used as a backdrop in many feature films such as Lawrence of Arabia and Gladiator.

The road passed through the Valley of the Roses and of course, there is a 'Big Rose'.

February is the wrong season for roses but at the right time of year, there are flowers everywhere.

We stopped to visit a rose outlet.

No, I did not buy any.

Some rain clouds appeared in the distance over the High Atlas mountains.

It rained for a short while. The wipers on the van were going flat out. 

We stopped for a late lunch at Ouarzazate.

I had a salad which was ok but not great.

There are some film making studios to the west of the town. Somebody asked if they were worth visiting and our guide said 'no'. 

And if this is representative of what was inside then our guide was correct. After seeing the real thing in Egypt, this was appalling.

Another studio.

We arrived in Ait Benhaddou. This is the dining room of our Kasbah.

And there is the fortified village which was on the caravan route from the Sahara to Marrakech.

After a brief rest, we headed off to see the village. We had to cross a small river using these stepping stones.

Nobody fell in.

I presume there are occasional flash floods.

Eventually we climbed all the way to the top.

The area was apparently used in the film Gladiator.

Mohammed was leading the group for the tour.

It is quite a climb but I managed to keep up. There are numerous alleys and tunnels.

The view got better and better.

Some of the films which used the village as a filming location. I will have to watch 'Lawrence of Arabia' again sometime.

The buildings with four towers are Kasbahs.

The final climb to the top. It was very windy and quite cold.

The view was stupendous.

Some snow on the High Atlas mountains in the distance.

You might notice a green door in the distant fence which encloses an old Jewish cemetery.

A Moslem cemetery.

As you walk around the top of the hill, the view keeps changing to vastly different scenes.

Looking down to the village and the river.

Rike has her turn taking the same picture. Ayo supervises.

Everybody has a cell phone. I liked the orange turban.

This used to be a Jewish Synagogue. It will eventually be restored with UNESCO funding.

A Kasbah tower. A few families still live in the village.

We walked down a lane with stuff for sale.

Finally there was a pedestrian bridge to take us back over the river.

It was a great walk.

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