Ait Benhaddou, Marrakech - NCL Tours
  • Duration (nights):
    • Adults:
      16+ years
    • Teenagers:
      12-15 years
    • Children:
      2-11 years
    • Infants:
      0-23 months

Welcome to Ait Benhaddou

Ait Benhaddou

Aït Benhaddo is a fortified city, or palace along the former caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakech in present-day Morocco. Most citizens living in the area now live in more modern dwellings in a nearby village, although there are 4 families still living in the ancient city. This giant fortification, which is made up of six forts (Kasbahs) and nearly fifty palaces which are individual forts, is a great example of earthen clay architecture, which is also used in Moroccan architecture.

It has appeared in more than 10 movies, including Lawrence of Arabia and Gladiator.

Aït Benhaddou has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987

Ksar of Ait Ben Haddou is a striking example of South Moroccan architecture. The Ksar is an essentially collective group of housing. Inside the defensive walls reinforced by corner towers and pierced by a baffle gate houses regroup - some modest, others look like small urban castles with their high towers corner and upper sections decorated patterns in clay brick - but there are also community buildings and areas. It is an extraordinary complex of buildings that offer a complete panorama of construction techniques in pre-Saharan land. Older buildings do not seem to be prior to the 17th century, although their structure and technique were propagated from a very early period in the valleys of southern Morocco. The site was also one of the many trading posts on the ancient trade route linking Sudan to Marrakech by the Dra valley and the Tizi-n'Telouet.

Information & Facts


Location and Values:  The Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou is located in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, a natural gateway to the desert, 30 km north-west of the Moroccan town of Ouarzazate.  Ksar (plural Ksour) is the term used for a fortified tribal village, and Ait-Ben-Haddou is a prime example of one of these villages, dating from the 17th century and built entirely of local organic materials, with a rich red mud plaster.  It stands on a small hill on the left bank of the Ounila River, dominating the valley which once served as a principal trading route across the Atlas Mountains to Marrakesh and beyond.



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