Ait Benhaddou, Marrakech - Stein Travel
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Ait Benhaddou

Ait Benhaddou is an ancient fortified city (or ksar) situated along the former caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakech - and is certainly one tourist sight in Morocco that all travellers need to experience for themselves. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ait Benhaddou is not only an important historical area that stands as a record of Maghreb architectural practices - but aesthetically, is so immediately evocative of one's most romantic visions of medieval Arabian cities that visitors will likely be left pinching themselves to ensure that the vision before them is not merely a dream. 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 blood-red in the evening light, is so stirring that Ait Benhaddou has long been featured in 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 stop in Ait Benhaddou. Whatever you do, don't forget to take a camera along.

Information & Facts

Language

Arabic is the official language, but eight other languages are also spoken including Berber, French and Spanish. English is generally understood in the tourist areas, but French is the most widely spoken.

Money

The unit of currency is the Moroccan Dirham (MAD), which is divided into 100 centimes. ATMs are available in the larger towns, but can be unreliable; currency can be exchanged at banks or official bureaux de changes, which are also widespread in major towns. Dirhams cannot be obtained or exchanged outside Morocco and receipts must be retained as proof of legal currency exchange, as well as in order to re-exchange money when departing. Major credit cards are accepted in the larger shops, hotels and restaurants. Travellers cheques can be used in tourist areas, but are not prevalent; they are best taken in Euros or Pounds Stirling.

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