Monday, October 17, 2016

The Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou

Ksar is an Arabic word for a fortified settlement, a sort of community that was once common across violent lands from the Atlantic to the Arabian Sea. One of the most famous survivals is Ait Ben-Haddou in Morocco.

The ksar is located where the Atlas mountains run down to the Sahara desert, on the old caravan route from Timbuktu to Marrakesh.

The site is an old one, but the standing clay buildings date to between the 17th and 19th centuries.

There are six kasbahs (forts) within the settlement, and more than fifty other large houses.

Most of the people have moved to more modern villages, but a few families still live here and operate stores for tourists.

Of course this makes a great movie set. Among the films that have been partially shot at Ait-Ben-Haddou are: Sodom And Gomorrah (1963), The Man Who Would Be King (1975), Time Bandits (1981), Marco Polo (1982), The Jewel of the Nile (1985), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), The Sheltering Sky (1990), The Mummy (1999), Gladiator (2000), Alexander (2004), Prince of Persia (2010), and the tv series Game of Thrones.

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