Ouarzazate, although a small city by Moroccan standards, is the largest city with the most charm in Saharan Morocco.

Its name comes from a Berber phrase meaning ‘without noise’ or ‘without confusion’.

It was a crossing point for African traders heading towards the north of Morocco for many centuries. During the French period, it expanded as an administrative center and a customs post.

Today it has a populaton of about 55,000 and has over 200 hotels.

One point of interest is the Ait Benhaddou Kasbah which is located about 30 minutes (15 miles) north of Ouarzazate.

It is a mud brick city consisting of multiple homes and a high mud brick wall. It was settled by nomads and is now on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

As many as 10 movies have been shot here, including Lawrence of Arabia and Gladiator.

The Atlas Studios which is located about 2 miles from the town center, works in the production of the movies in this area. They welcome visitors, offering tours of old movie sets.