Ouarzazate, Morocco - Stein Travel

    • 16+ years

    • 12-15 years

    • 2-11 years

    • 0-23 months

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Welcome to Ouarzazate

Ouarzazate's location high in the Atlas Mountains made it a historically important waypoint for traders, and is today still inhabited by a few Berbers, though many parts of the area feel uninhabited. The picturesque city has many prominent kasbahs and other examples of traditional clay architecture, including Ait Benhaddou, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ouarzazate's primary business though, is movies, as it is home to the gigantic Atlas Studios, where many Hollywood blockbusters including Lawrence of Arabia, Gladiator, Cleopatra, and Star Wars were filmed. The town has a number of restaurants and souks in the town centre and along Mohammad V Street, where you can find good deals on regional specialties like judeo-berber vodka and Berber rugs.

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.

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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