Ait Benhaddou, Morocco © Donar Reiskoffer
Aït Benhaddou is an ancient fortified city (ksar) situated along the former caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakech. It is certainly one of the most breathtaking tourist attractions in Morocco. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Aït Benhaddou is not only a place of great historical significant that stands as a record of Maghreb architectural practices, but is so immediately evocative of the most romantic visions of ancient Arabia that visitors may mistake it for a fanciful mirage. The buildings, constructed against a mountain and surrounded by steep defensive walls, are all built from moulded earth and clay brick, and the sight of them, ornamented with decorative motifs and appearing blood-red in the evening light, is so stirring that Aït Benhaddou has been featured in numerous Hollywood films (from Lawrence of Arabia to Gladiator). Providing some picture-perfect examples of kasbahs and medinas, no trip to Morocco would be complete without a visit to Aït Benhaddou. The city is most picturesque at sunrise and sunset, so visitors should remember to pack their cameras. Aït Benhaddou is a 3.5 hour drive south east of Marrakech.