Ouarzazate: Old Moroccan Citadels, Spectacular Views and Delicious Food

Ouarzazate's Kasbah

From left to right myself, my sister and craftsman. Kasbah means old citadel.
From left to right myself, my sister and craftsman. Kasbah means old citadel. | Source

Ouarzazate (pronounced war-zazat) was created by the french in 1928 as a garrison and regional administrative centre. Before that, all there was around here was the Glaoui Kasbah of Taourirt (Kasbah meaning Citadel or Fort). In itself, Ouarzazate is an interesting town to visit if you really want to have a glimpse at the way Moroccans live; after a day in this village, the fusion between the traditional and modern culture, as well as the roll of women in contemporary society will become clear to you.

Besides the experience of the day to day life, in Ouarzazate you have access to traditionally made arts & crafts and direct contact with artisans. When I was there, a very pleasant man who had a workshop of woven carpets gave us an extended explanation of the process they use to die the wool and the natural colorants with which they attain the different colors. My companions and I bought him a very nice woollen carpet we still use as a bedspread after 5+ years.


Taourirt Kasbah, Old Moroccan Arquitecture

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Taourirt Kasbah, one of the largest citadels in the area. Ouarzazate, Morocco.Woven carpets are one of the many moroccan crafts in Ouarzazate.Taourirt Kasbah's detailed design, Ouarzazate, Morocco.View from Taourirt Kasbah, Ouarzazate, Morocco.A beautiful Moroccan Postcard Image.
Taourirt Kasbah, one of the largest citadels in the area. Ouarzazate, Morocco.
Taourirt Kasbah, one of the largest citadels in the area. Ouarzazate, Morocco. | Source
Woven carpets are one of the many moroccan crafts in Ouarzazate.
Woven carpets are one of the many moroccan crafts in Ouarzazate. | Source
Taourirt Kasbah's detailed design, Ouarzazate, Morocco.
Taourirt Kasbah's detailed design, Ouarzazate, Morocco. | Source
View from Taourirt Kasbah, Ouarzazate, Morocco.
View from Taourirt Kasbah, Ouarzazate, Morocco. | Source
A beautiful Moroccan Postcard Image.
A beautiful Moroccan Postcard Image. | Source

Old Moroccan Citadel of Ouarzazate

The Taourirt Kasbah is one of the largest citadels in the area. It housed numerous members of the Glaoui Dynasty, along with hundreds of their servants and workers. The Glaoui fort consists of courtyards, living quarters and reception rooms build in traditional Moroccan style and it has been carefully restored by the Unesco.
Opposite the entrance to the Kasbah is another building which houses the Ensemble Artisanal. Here you can find stone carvings, pottery and woollen carpets woven by the region’s Ouzguita Berbers, famous throughout history as warriors of the desert. Berbers are elegant looking people with quite distinctive features such as light skin, blue/green eyes and a strong and profound look. They might approach men with an offer to trade the women in your group for quite a few camels, it is just a proposal which you can courteously reject, so don’t feel threatened or scared in any way.


Berber Craftsman and Trader

Artisan and myself at the Ensemble Artisanal, Ouarzazate, Morocco.
Artisan and myself at the Ensemble Artisanal, Ouarzazate, Morocco. | Source

Mouth Watering Moroccan Gastronomy

Harira soup (thick broth replete with lamb, chicken, lentils, chickpeas, tomatoes, onions, fresh herbs and spices such as coriander, cinnamon and saffron. Traditionally eaten with a wooden spoon.
Harira soup (thick broth replete with lamb, chicken, lentils, chickpeas, tomatoes, onions, fresh herbs and spices such as coriander, cinnamon and saffron. Traditionally eaten with a wooden spoon. | Source
Distinctive and Glorious Lamb and Prunes Tajine.
Distinctive and Glorious Lamb and Prunes Tajine. | Source
The conical shallow earthenware dish called Tajine in which Tajines are cooked very slowly over a charcoal fire.
The conical shallow earthenware dish called Tajine in which Tajines are cooked very slowly over a charcoal fire. | Source

Moroccan Food

Another grate thing about Ouarzazate is the food! Passionate culinary lovers will feel in paradise eating the most traditional rich succulent dishes home-made-grandma-style that will make you never want to leave. Tajines are a must eat and never forget experience.
The famous Moroccan dish called Tajine is a stew of meat and vegetables, sometimes with the addition of fruits and nuts, cooked very slowly over a charcoal fire. Traditionally, they are prepared in the conical shallow earthenware dish of the same name. Typical tajine combinations include: lamb with dates, lamb with raisins or prunes and almonds, chicken with preserved lemons and olives and saffron chicken with chickpeas. All of them usually eaten with dense round loaves of bread.


Best Moroccan Dishes

Don’t miss Bus Station Kefta (lamb) with Eggs and Tomato (Kefta Mqawara), a delicious dish cooked on the spot and eaten straight from the pan or tajine, which is available everywhere throughout Morocco. The lamb meatballs make a perfect combination with the egg and its mouthwatering spices and it is so special that I even searched for the recipe and have it at your disposal in one of my hubs.


Street Food Tajine

Bus Station Kefta (lamb) with Eggs and Tomato (Kefta Mqawara).
Bus Station Kefta (lamb) with Eggs and Tomato (Kefta Mqawara). | Source

Ouarzazate's Country Sight

View on road to Ouarzazate, Morocco.
View on road to Ouarzazate, Morocco. | Source
View on road to Ouarzazate, Morocco.
View on road to Ouarzazate, Morocco. | Source

Ouarzazate Surrounding Nature

Last but not least, Ouarzazate is the ideal launching pad for excursions along the Draa and Dades Valleys, Mountainous Regions and Western Sahara Desert.

Draa Valley
From Ouarzazate the P31 leads you south-east along the magical Draa Valley along a ribbon of technicoloured palmeraies, kasbahs and Berber villages. One of the longest rivers in Morocco, the Draa, originates in the High Atlas and winds its way through mountains and desert sands. The fertile palmeraies of the Draa are crammed with date palms, olive and almond groves and citrus trees.

Dades Valley
Heading roughly east of Ouarzazate, the Dades Valley threads its course between the mountains of the High Atlas to the north and rugged Jebel Sarhro range to the south. The biggest oases and the line of kasbahs that give this route its nickname, Valley of a Thousand Kasbahs, begin just before the town of Skoura. Further along the valley lie the beautiful Dades and Todra Gorges.

Western Sahara Desert
Head towards Zagora for an expedition into the desert.

Roadmap of Morocco

show route and directions
A markerOuarzazate -
[get directions]

B markerMarrakesh -
Marrakesh, Morocco
[get directions]

Tea Time in Ouarzazate, Morocco.
Tea Time in Ouarzazate, Morocco. | Source

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