Located in the foothills on the southern slopes of the High Atlas in the Province of Ouarzazate, the site of Ait-Ben-Haddou is the most famous ksar in the Ounila Valley. The Ksar of Aït-Ben-Haddou is a striking example of southern Moroccan architecture. Inside the defensive walls which are reinforced by angle towers and pierced with a baffle gate, houses crowd together - some modest, others resembling small urban castles with their high angle towers and upper sections decorated with motifs in clay brick - but there are also buildings and community areas. The community areas of the ksar include a mosque, a public square, grain threshing areas outside the ramparts, a fortification, and a loft at the top of the village, a caravanserai, two cemeteries (Muslim and Jewish) and the Sanctuary of the Saint Sidi Ali or Amer.
Tourists generally arrive there via the Tizi-n-Tichka mountain passage, one of the most spectacular roads in the country. Almost 200 km of a beautiful, though somewhat dangerous road reaches 1300 m above sea level. This road was built under the French Protectorate at the beginning of the 20th century but is always in a state of repair and advancement. The Tizi-n-Tichka passage made a secure link between Marrakech and the South. It remains one of the few ways for people and goods to go over the Atlas Mountain range. When you descend through the High Atlas to “the other side,” it feels you’ve arrived in another planet.
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