02/27/2012 Exploring Ait Benhaddou


Ait Ben Haddou has been used in many movies, including Laurence of Arabia, Jesus of Nazareth, The Jewel of the Nile, and the Kingdom of Heaven. It was named a UNESCO world heritage site in 1987.

Though it’s impossible to know how old individual buildings are, the Ksar has been known to have been here since before the eleventh century. Above the ksar is an agadir, or fortified granary. It’s walls encompass a few acres.

I am fed a wonderful breakfast at my hotel, The Nomad, and set off early to explore the ksar.

Approaching from the town.

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Looking across the river.

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At the most obvious entrance I am hassled for 10DH “entrance fee” I talk to the guys for 10 minutes, explaining that I know there is no entrance fee. Eventually I pay it and walk in. Sometimes it’s not worth the hassle.

The ksar is made of piste, which is wet clay gathered from the river bank and put into a moving mold. Floors are created with logs and bamboo covered with more piste.

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Detail

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Looking up at a wooden door hinge.

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A pair of old shoes.

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Detail of a section showing Kasbah lifestyle.

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Door lock and key. See the matching holes? Ingenious!

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Wool combing.

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A family home entrance.

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The tops of the piste walls are protected with this cap. It is a layer of overhanging bamboo topped with more piste. The top layer is sacrificial.

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Note the wood hinges and knob.

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Looking at the top. We’ll be walking on that top roof soon.

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Decoration

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View

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The mysterious doors. What lies behind? The ksar was a treat to explore. There were only a handful of tourists.

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The ceiling of a tower.

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View ledge.

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The oasis.

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Detail. You never know what you are going to see when you turn a corner. A collapsed roof and ruin or a beautiful room.

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View.

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The top roof. Remember, it is 5? stories high, made of bamboo and clay, filled with holes, and often spongy. Don’t go here if you are overweight and wearing heels!

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The view from the agadir.

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My lunch, wow! The wife prepares the meals and has gone to culinary school. She is very pleasant. After this lunch I happily pay extra for meals here.

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4 thoughts on “02/27/2012 Exploring Ait Benhaddou

    • Hi Sage!

      Actually I am riding on over the Atlas to Marrakesh and then maybe to Oussariou. I’ve still got a couple weeks to pedal!

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