Ait Benhaddou

Ait Benhaddou is a fortified city, or so called ksar. It is situated in Souss-Massa-Draâ in Morocco. Settled on a hill along the Ounila River, this buildings made of earth are representing spectacular example of a southern Moroccan architectural style, or to be precisely, pre-Saharan architecture. This sort of architecture is typical for all countries of the Great Maghreb, Mauritania and Libya.

Kasbah Ait Benhaddou
Via Flickr by Jan Kalfus Photography

Ait Benhaddou is consisted of a group of crowded earthen houses inside the defensive walls which are reinforced by corner towers. The oldest testimonies about these constructions are dating from 17th century, although it is very possible that they are constructed earlier. Ait Benhaddou owns beautiful examples of kasba (or Kasbahs). Most of them are damaged during the rainstorms. Kasba was a place where the local leader lived and it had high walls which usually have no windows. But, kasba can have another meaning. In southern Morocco, kasba means a unit of a wealthy class family, whose members had various functions.

Ait Benhaddou
Via Flickr by srte

Ait Benhaddou represents one of the most beautiful examples of the kasba collection, and the group of kasba actually makes a ksar. Today, about ten families still live there. If the Ait Benhaddou village looks familiar to you, the answer is simple. Many films or some of the film scenes were shot there! Some of the films are: Lawrence of Arabia, Jesus of Nazareth, The Jewel of the Nile, The Last Temptation of Christ, Gladiator and many, many others.

Ait Benhaddou
Via Flickr by srte

Because it has very important cultural significance, especially for Morocco, it is on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list since 1987.

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