Top 6 attractions in Morocco that I visited last year. Although Europe, especially France and Spain, has had a great influence on the history and culture of Morocco, most of the sights are associated with Arab and Islamic traditions. The Ait Ben Haddou Kasbah and the nearby city of Ouarzazate, built in typical Moroccan brick architecture, are of interest not only to us but also to Hollywood directors as a “natural setting” for their films. Ait Ben Haddou is an impressive 11th-century kasbah with red walls dug into the hill and an oasis with date palms at the foot.
The Ait Ben Haddou Kasbah is located on the left bank of the Ouarzazate River, which originates in the High Atlas and then disappears into the sands of the Sahara Desert. In ancient times, the route of caravans and spirals passed here for rest, accommodation and replenishment. Today, most of the houses are deserted and used as movie sets. This fortified city, created by people, has stood for ten centuries on the hillside under the scorching sun, surrounded by endless sands. The colorful ancient city is built of several dozen clay fortresses.
Landmarks in Morocco
The kasbah and its towers are decorated with original openwork ornaments. It is perfectly preserved to this day, because directors often choose the fortress as a “natural decoration” for their films. Thus, Ait Ben Haddou is constantly undergoing restoration work. Ait Ben Haddou is an example of typical Moroccan brick architecture – all the buildings are built of red clay, have a straight roof, and the narrow streets on the slope form a maze.
Most of the rocks in the Dades Gorge have strange names. Nature has created shapes that can be easily compared to the various objects of our daily lives. In some of them we can see tables and chairs or silhouettes of animals. Particularly interesting are the jagged shapes, resembling people, which the locals call “Hills of the human body”. The Dades Pass is created by the flow of the river of the same name, which flows nearby. The walls of the Dades Gorge rise to more than half a kilometer and this is the most beautiful gorge that can be passed by car.
Almost 200 million years ago, these rocks were coral reefs, but gradually the movement of the earth’s crust lifted them up, forming the ridge of the High Atlas. The sides of the gorge are made of multicolored layers of sandstone, limestone and clay. Morocco’s sights are everywhere. And the natural resources of our country accompanied us throughout the trip. On the way to the hot desert, we passed at the foot of the snow-capped peaks of the Atlas through the gorges of the Todra River and the formidable Dades Pass with rocks over half a kilometer high.
The best attractions in Morocco
And through the town of Merzouga, called the “Sahara Gate”, we reached, after an hour’s camel ride, the Erg Chebi dunes and, of course, the luxurious desert camp where we slept. Merzuga is a small town without a large and developed infrastructure – everything is limited to a few department stores, supermarkets, several medium-sized hotels and cafes. It is famous for its close proximity to the sand dunes. This is where the desert journeys begin. Constantly moving sand, colors from orange to purple, height over 150 meters, this is Erg Chebi.
And we, like everyone else, got up early for sunrise, and watched the beautiful sunset. And this is not the whole variety of landscapes. We also stopped in Ifran – an important ski resort in Morocco. In the past it was built as a cave city, and later rebuilt by European conquerors as a typical alpine resort. The end point of our trip was Tangier. Like any Moroccan city, Tangier is known for its interesting markets. I come across a fish again.
The medina descends from the rocks to the ocean with a labyrinth of narrow streets. The historic quarter is perfectly preserved after hundreds of years. Most of the buildings were built in the 17th and 18th centuries. The date of construction can be seen above the doors of many buildings. In the historic quarter is preserved the old fortress, which is located on top of the hill.
And close to it is the most northwestern point of Morocco – Cap Spartel, where the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean converge and from afar you can see Spain. Cap Spartel is the most northwestern point of Africa, and in the water is the imaginary border between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. The Atlas Mountains create a barrier between the dry Sahara and the milder coastal climate of Morocco. The highest pass accessible for transport is Tichka (2260 m.) Through which is a very picturesque asphalt road connecting Marrakech with Ouarzazate and Transatlas villages. The journey through the Tichka pass is a real adventure – strong slopes, dizzying precipices and countless turns. Ifran is a small resort town located at the foot of the Atlas.
It is considered the second most important ski resort in Morocco (number one is Ukaymeden). The landscapes of Ifran are similar to those of the Alps. Ouarzazate – the capital of the Moroccan film industry. In 1983, the first film studio appeared in Ouarzazate. Many Hollywood movies have been shot here. The gorge of the river Todra. The length of the gorge is about 40 km. We move in a pedestrian section with a length of 600 m, where the walls of the canyon approach each other at a distance of only 10 m. At the same time their height reaches 160 m.
During the day the huge sides of the gorge change color depending on the position of the sun. The small town of Meladi in the valley of the river Todra. At the foot of the Atlas Mountains, the towns are inhabited by Berbers. The Ziz Valley is a green oasis around the life-giving water deep at the bottom of the canyon. The western side of the Atlas Mountains is green and the eastern side is desert, without much vegetation.