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Photographer's Note

Located in the foothills on the southern slopes of the High Atlas in the Province of Ouarzazate, the site of Ait Benhaddou is the most famous ksar in the Ounila Valley. The site was one of the many trading posts on the commercial route linking ancient Sudan to Marrakesh by the Dra Valley and the Tizi-n'Telouet Pass. Historically, traders carrying spices, slaves, and gold on the Sahara Trade Route passed by Ait Benhaddou. Today, the usage of this old trade route is fading and as a result many Kasbahs along it have turned into relics.
The Ksar of Ait Benhaddou is a good example of a ksar in southern Morocco dating from the 17th century in the valleys of Dra, Todgha and Dadès. The ksar is a mainly collective grouping of dwellings. Inside the defensive walls, the Ait Benhaddou village is decorated with a labyrinth like series of sandstone colored towers and walls. The community areas of the ksar include a mosque, a public square, grain threshing areas outside the ramparts, a fortification and a loft at the top of the village, an caravanserai, two cemeteries (Muslim and Jewish). One side of the village, a riverbed of the Mellah (old Jewish quarters) as well as several palm groves and trees can be spotted growing along the river bank. The town has been protected by the Moroccan authorities since 1953 (from http://whc.unesco.org).

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Additional Photos by Ecmel Erlat (ecmel) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 86 W: 0 N: 120] (1109)
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