This museum features several historical objects belonging to the Ouarzazate’s Liberation Army. A journey into Ouarzazate’s historical moments and testimonials, photos and real documents of important times in Morocco’s history.
Kasbah Taourirt Museum is a spectacular building that gives you the opportunity to visit inside a real ancient casbah showing the best of south Moroccan casbah architecture right in the heart of Ouarzazate. the entrance costs 20 dirhams per person and you can hire a guide to walk with you and explain things. Don't pay more than 50 dirhams for the guide.
The most well preserver ksar inside the modern city of Ouarzazate, this great example of ancient mud brick made houses in perfect for a walk and explore.
Because is a local attraction for many years now, you'll find many shops and guides trying to take you on a visit.
You shouldn't pay more than 50 dirhams for a guide. Usually guides take you into shops which you don't have to buy anything at all. Usually prices will contain the guide commission for taking you there in the first place. Guides will be persistent on taking you so if you don't want, you have to be firm yet friendly. Actually taking a guide is always good to learn and know the best places.
You can enter this neighborhood near the Taourirt Kasbah Museum and walk around inside the tiny streets.
Amazing place to explore famous movie sets from many blockbuster succes films. These huge studios take you into another world where you are able to walk inside several giant film sets of well known movies such as Kundun, Gladiator, Mary Magdalene, etc. If you have to chose between CLA studios and Atlas Studios, this is the one to visit.
You can visit the covered studios where you can enjoy several objects used in films such as Kingdom of Heaven and much more. Here you have some studio sets but the most important are the outside sets in the desert plateau.
Prestigious successful movies have been shot in Morocco: Lawrence of Arabia, Tea in Sahara, Black Hawk Down, Kundum, Gladiator, Cleopatra, The Mummy 1 and 2, Alexander the Great, Kingdom of Heaven, Sahara, Troy, Hidalgo, Babel.
On the CLA studios you have the amazing set of: JERUSALEM SET, Initially used for the production of the movie Kingdom of Heaven; KASBA Set, Authentique Kasba (Village) Arabe style; MEKKA Set, Initially used for the production of the movie The Greatest Journey.
Tassoumaat is a unknown and non-touristic destination. Because of this, it makes the perfect place to enjoy authentic Moroccan living where children play on the streets and women wash their carpet on the central square called zqaia.
Tassoumaat is attached to the river banks and it is mostly built of traditional clay constructions. Search for the cemetery and Holy Saint zaouia.
If by chance you're around Ouarzazate during the weekend, don't miss out the great and thrilling Sunday souk where thousands of people gather to buy their weekly groceries, clothes, fruits and much more. Starts around 7am and finishes around 12pm.
The Taourirt kasbah has wonderful examples of Moroccan design and you can spend time wandering the streets of the old town within the walls. I particularly like the peacock tail design over the windows in the harem and the detail in the ceiling decoration in both the formal and servants rooms.
The kasbah became the palace of the powerful El Glaoui family who took possession of the kasbah of the former caid (leader). Part of the palace has been restored but the majority is quite damaged. It is one of the biggest kasbahs in Morroco.
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The Atlas Studios are one of 3 film studios in Ouarzazate, Covering a site of over 150 hectares, it is the largest studio in Morocco, and one of the largest in the world.
A local entrepreneur, Mohamed Belghimi, recognised that the natural light, and stunning scenery around Ouarzazate, would be condusive to film making, and therefore established these studios in 1983.
The first big film to be shot here was the 1985 blockbuster - Jewel of the Nile, which starred Michael Douglas and Katherine Turner. The plane that featured can be seen inside the entrance.
Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven, Asterix, The Nativity Story, Alexander and Babel are some of the more recent films, as well as many TV commercials.
The studios consist of constructed sets and stages, as well as workshops for making the sets.
Some of the sets such as the temple constructed for Cleopatra, may also be used in other productions.
Many of Ouarzazates residents may be employed during filming, some as extras, some as craftsmen etc.
Attached to the studios is Hotel Oscars, with a swimming pool and Restaurants. Some of the actors and crew will stay here, but apparently the 5* Berbere Palace in the town is the place where the stars stay!
Tours lasting 30 mins for 50dh give an opportunity to see the sets and learn a bit about how the sets are constructed etc.
0900 - 1800 daily.
I was lucky enough to have my own private tour of these studios - the manager of my hotel had taken me there, but we arrived just after closing. However, he had a word with some of the staff, and a guide was arranged to show me round.
Apparently he used to be the manager of Hotel Oscars, and he had lots of stories of the film stars he'd met.
Just as the south of Spain its a familiar sight to see storks flying over head and their huge nests perched up on anything high and out of the way - powerpoles, mosques, castle ruins - and here at Taourirt theres a whopper that really stands out!
They migrate around with the seasons and come to Morocco when its time for a new season of stork babies! So often you will catch sight of smaller stork heads appearing from the bottom of the nest!
Makes for interesting photos....
One of the few sites in Morocco that Unesco has got involved with, the Taourirt kasbah here in Ouarzazate is a sprawling kasbah that provided additional housing for the Glaoui, Lords of the Atlas and Southern Morocco, with their main base at their main headquarters in the safety of the valley of Telouet - in all the grandeur and opulence that the Glaoui family had a reputation for demanding.
This kasbah had been deteriorating but with the assistance of Unesco parts of it have been saved and renovated in time, unlike the even more beautifully and opulently decorated Kasbah at Telouet (which is down to one section of two rooms and the roof with more damage and deterioration each visit Ive had to it so only time will tell how much longer it will accessible for).
Though there is only one room remaining that one can get an idea of how heavily decorated the Lords living rooms were it is interesting to see the use of beautiful colours and artwork on the ceilings and around the room in this one room and to compare with other palaces and kasbahs that can also be visited around Morocco.
Ait Ben Haddou is a 14th Century fortified hilltop village that was on the old caravan route between Marrakech and the Sahara. (And is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.)
When it first came in sight, we stopped for photos and immediately met “the snake guy.” He’s a jolly old man with no teeth, who lets tourists pose with his snakes for a fee. I kept my distance.
This kasbah was brought to life for me by Mohamed (my guide)- If I'd wandered around by myself, I wouldn't have had anywhere near the insight that he gave of the features, history and customs of the region and kasbah.
It's often quite easy to shun guides- (not just in Morocco) whether official or not- there is often a suspicion that these people are out to 'fleece us' - Well this chap certainly wasn't - he was very knowledgeable, and professional, he'd studied tourism at University - I just wish I could remember half of what he told me! His English was very good too.
After showing me around the kasbah, he took me to a nearby shop, which I initially thought was for a 'commision opportunity' (I think I was a bit jaded still from the ever present stretched out hands for the expected baksheesh in Marrakech for the slightest 'service'), but it was so that the elderly shopkeeper could proudly point out the place at the back of the shop that was part of the kasbah.
The ceiling of the shop in this part is typical of the area, with interwoven oleander roots.
I bought a few post cards, and tried to offer the shop keeper a tip for showing me around, but ths was smilingly declined, he just took the money for the post cards.
Leaving the shop, my guide was waiting to take me around the outside kasbah streets to an artisans shop.
Again, I'm ashamed to say, I was a bit cynical - was this another ploy to gain commission- No it wasn't
- it was simply people who are proud of their heritage and culture, wanting to share this with visitors. It was a bit of a wake up call! I hope this continues...
So I've got no hesitation to recommend Mohamed Saidi - Guide to Ouarzazate/ Morocco, he speaks English, French and Arabic.
Contact him on - GSM 061 61 05 14 or ask at the Kasbah ticket office.
This was once, one of the largest Kasbahs of the area, and was home to members of the Glaoui Dynasty, who ruled the vicinity.
Parts of this Kasbah have been carefully restored by Unesco.
It is probably the main sightseeing venue of Ouarzazate.
Open 0800-18.30 daily
Admission 10dh. (2007)
On entering the kasbah, I was approached by a guide who spoke French. Realising that I was English, he sent for an English speaking colleague.
I wasn't really sure if I wanted or needed a guide, but I was glad to find that the guide that appeared to show me around spoke very good English, and was very informative - I only wish that I could remember half of what he told me about the kasbah- he really bought the kasbah to life!
As well as being informative, he wasn't pushy- he took me to shops etc - where the cynical me expected that I'd be expected to buy something, and I was shamed to find that the shopkeepers just wanted to show me their shops (These were in historic situations etc) and were pleased to welcome a foreign visitor. Quite a humbling lesson!
Its' location in the oasis,and fertile Draa Valley, ensured that there was a good supply of fruit, vegetables, wheat and Barley for its inhabitants, and for trading purposes.
The kasbah, as well as housing the aforementioned family, plus their servants and workers, was an important trading centre.
Nowadays, as well as being a tourist sight, it is a museum and is hired out to film companies, and for wedding celebrations.
During my bus journey from Marrakech to Ouarzazate, shortly after descending the stunning Tizzi n Tichka Pass, we stopped for a toilet/snack break, in a place called Taddert
I had snacked on the bus, with food I'd purchased earlier, so wasn't too hungry, although the smell of meat grilling over charcoal was quite tempting. However, the flies gathering around the carcasses and cuts of meat and poultry displayed in the butchers stalls were not!
Taddert appears to be a hotch potch of shops, stalls and kiosks, clinging to either side of the road for a few metres.
It appeared to be quite an established village, with plenty of locals, not just passing motorists, that were using the shops.
The smoke from the grills was making my eyes water, so I moved, to have a look at one of the nearby stalls. (I didn't want to wander too far away, as I didn't want to miss the bus)
This was a gift shop with a display of fossils, and minerals.
The elderly shopkeeper was quite friendly, showing me some of the stones etc. I couldn't understand a word he was saying, but he was so enthusiastic about his collection, showing me each piece with such a gentle reverence, that I decided to buy something.
I selected what looked like a lump of coal, with a rubber band around it. On removing the rubber band, the lump fell into 2 halves, which revealed a centre covered in shiny purple crystals. (Hmmm I wish I'd kept up with my O'level Geology lessons!)
I think I paid 50dh, which was worth it for the look of genuine pleasure on the mans face, and the way that he so carefully wrapped it up in a piece of newspaper- Someone wrapping a priceless Faberge Egg couldn't have been so careful !
Yes, I'm sure that I paid well over the odds, but every time I see this piece on my shelf, it makes me smile as I remember this shopping experience and the mans face - Priceless!