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When you think about films associated with Morocco, your mind can’t help but shift to black and white, as the faces ofIngrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart appear along with the soundtrack of “Casablanca.” However, this mythical movie was shot entirely in California, though it has left us with the memory of a romantic but dangerous Morocco.
Many movies have been filmed in this African nation, which prides itself on its own version of Hollywood or, as we Spaniards would say, its own Almería in the age of Westerns. One city in particular stands out for its popularity amongst American film productions which frequent the famous Atlas Studios: the city of Ouarzazate. This city is unique in that it combines its location in a valley with its proximity to both mountains and desert, with photogenic adobe houses that have acted as the set for a variety of films, including “Lawrence of Arabia” and “Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra.” The film crews for other productions such as “The Sheltering Sky”, “The Mummy” (pictured above) and our beloved 007 in“The Living Daylights” have also wandered these same streets.
Set in the south of the country, this city is a must-see for film lovers who, in addition to recreating scenes from their favorite flicks, can enjoy the spicy Moroccan cuisine and delicious mint teas (just be careful not to fall into the pot like Obelix!).
As in many other movie towns, visiting the studios is a tourist attraction in itself, and though it doesn’t have the typical attractions you may find in other movie-themed parks, lovers of classic cinema may evoke their silver screen memories and imagine Elizabeth Taylor dressed as Cleopatra exiting the temple in the luxurious recreation of Egypt inJoseph Leo Mankiewicz’s film, which was also shot here.
As with any city so close to the desert, summer is not really the best time to visit. But since we can’t always choose our vacation dates, just remember to load your suitcase with light, white clothing and end your day with a refreshing swim at any of the beaches you’ll find only a few kilometers away on Morocco’s gorgeous coast.
Photo | Universal Pictures