Located in Morocco just south of Marrakesh, is the Kasbah of Ait Benhaddou in Ouarzazate. This ancient fortified city — known as a ksar (castle) is made of mud bricks and clings to the foothills along the Ounila River. A settlement of the Berber peoples since ancient times, Ait Benhaddou is a UNESCO world heritage site that attracts travelers from all over the world.
Ait Benhaddou Map and Terrain
For hundreds of years, Ait Benhaddou has been a stop on the Marrakesh-Ouarzazate caravan route that traverses the Sahara Desert. If you look at the Ait Benhaddou terrain map above, you can see that Ait Benhaddou is the last stop on the trail to Marrakesh before you enter the steep and rugged canyons that lead to the Northern Sahara Plateau and finally to Marrakesh and the Marrakesh Market.
Though it is located in the Southern reaches of the Sahara Desert, the area of Ouarzazate is a particularly wet area of Africa, with a rushing river nearby giving birth to this oasis fortress. Though the water brings life into Ait Benhaddou, the rainstorms are constantly eroding the red mud-brick walls of the city, requiring constant maintenance to preserve the walled city.
The city began as a kasbah or a ksar, meaning that the richest of the residents in the area pooled together hundreds of years ago and built their homes in close quarters with high mud-brick walls and towers to protect themselves against invaders or marauders that might attack from out of the desert.
Again, the rains and the winds are constantly bearing down on the red brick walls of Ait Benhaddou and eroding the city away with each day. The city is constantly having to be maintained and rebuilt. What you see today is the latest incarnation of Ait Benhaddou that was built in the 16th Century. Though a fairly-recently built ksar, it is one of the oldest existing kasbahs in all of Africa and the world.
Ohhhh, I want to go! Lovely city.
Wonderful travel location — just watch the kids in Ait Benhaddou… They like to trick you for tips…
Absolutely stunning place… thanks a lot for introducing this unknown marvel to us 🙂
Sreejith, thank you for continually visiting us. We are glad to share these destinations.
Such an amazing place! 🙂
One of our top African travel destinations. Than you.
I can imagine a thriving, dynamic settlement here in the past… absolutely beautiful!
Yes, just like the Silk Road, Ait Benhaddou was a major outpost for trade.
Beautiful pictures! The history is truly amazing, thank you for sharing.
There is so much more history that we didn’t have time to reveal. We may have to follow up on this one. Thank you again for being our guest.
Reblogged this on Carole McCall Author and Coach and commented:
Wow!!! Love it
It is such an amazing sight. The buildings and streets are tightly fit and like a maze — in case attackers get into the city
Morocco is one of my travel bucket list. I definitely want to go there in the next couple of years.
G’day ABSOLUTELY gorgeous and hope to experience Morocco one day!
Cheers! Joanne @What’s on The List
Thanks for continually traveling with us Joanne! We appreciate it.
Thats such a beautiful place!
We just had a wonderful stay there….
I just watched a program on the internet about “Kasbah.” Little did I know that there were many of them in the deserts…places for rest and respite. Photos are just beautiful. Only problem…deciding to leave!!!
This brought back some fantastic memories of my trip through Morocco. amazing photos – can’t imagine it could be better captured than you have here.
Thank you, and I’m glad we could bring good memories back!
Wow breathtaking, thanks for sharing these stunning images and the history 🙂
Ouarzazate is one of our favorite places in Morocco – thank you for the tour down memory lane – a great start to my week! 🙂
I’ve been there, lovely place… Nice article and amazing photos. Nice to meet you. Thanks for your visit. Wait for you again on Ostriche!
Lucky you, thanks for traveling with us…
Very well written and lovely pictures!