History of


Discover the fascinating history of Ouarzazate since it was founded by Yusuf ibn Tashfin, leader of the Moroccan Almoravid empire, up until the present day.

The gateway to the Sahara Desert and the little Hollywood of Africa

Ouarzazate is a city where different cultures and artistic traditions meet, point of departure for the oases. It stands at the crossroads between the Drâa valley which reaches as far as Agadir, the Dadès which cuts through the High Atlas and the Ziz, which feeds Tafilalet’s vast stretches of palm grove before vanishing into the sands of Taouz.’

The geographical status of Ouarzazate makes of it one of the most beatiful cities in Morocco. Located in the south of Morocco and 540 kilometers from the Capital, Rabat. Ouarzazate remains the biggest attraction of the south besides Marrakech. It has been a historical melting of different populations coming from the surrounding tribes and Douars. In a military area under the control of Caid namely, Caid Hammadi El Glaoui since 1860. Ouarzazate was selected by the French colonel Spilman, who draw its plan in 1928, as a military camp annexed to Marrakech before being independent in 1934. In 1959, Ouarzazate was one of the biggest provinces after the administrative stratification in Morocco. Ouarzazate, which used to be a military basis for the French army, has inherited a French administration structure. Consequently, this heritage made of it predisposed to be a place of tourism, because of its European structure. For sure Ouarzazate has not got the historical monuments like The Oudayas or Hassan, Jamaâ El fna or Al Badî Castle or any other monuments that morocco is proud of, but as it has many large landscapes a very hospitable people. Ouarzazate is also known for its architecture, which shows the intelligence of its people art making. In fact, they use hey and mud to build houses which adopt to all types of weather, The hot one in the Summer ( up to 47C°), and in the Winter (-6C°).

Ouarzazate is a geographically rich city. Lying in the south among cities like Marrakech, Zagora, kelaat Mgouna, Tata. This city has its own characteristics. Its landscape is largely mountains, oases, deserts… Therefore, this has created problems to its population which leans on agriculture to win its living. This mountainous nature of Ouarzazate has made transportation quite difficult. Ouarzazate is also lucky to have large areas of dunes where tourists find their pleasure. However, its people suffer from the lack of green places where they can plough and exercise their agrarian culture. Being a Southern city, Ouarzazate is nearly all the Year round hot in the day and very cold in the night. People have problems to find fields to graze for their cattle, however, others consider it a blessing to have this city where excursions on the hot sand, and not very far, skiing in the snow are always a wonderful pleasure for the tourists.

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Morocco is renowned the world over for its alluring all-natural beauty, barren landscapes and the beautiful Sahara Desert, as well as breathtaking beaches running along the coastal cities of Agadir, Asilah and Essaouira.

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