Nestled in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, the city of Ouarzazate has become a centre for film producers seeking an exotic and versatile filming location. Dubbed the “Hollywood of Morocco,” this desert oasis has attracted some of the biggest names in the film industry over the past few decades.
Located in the southern region of Morocco, Ouarzazate boasts a stunning natural landscape that ranges from rocky deserts to snow-capped peaks. Its unique setting has made it an ideal location for filmmakers looking for a range of backdrops, from epic battle scenes to sweeping romantic vistas.
In recent years, Ouarzazate has become a hub for big-budget Hollywood productions, including “Lawrence of Arabia,” “The Mummy,” and “Gladiator.” The city has also been the backdrop for a number of popular television series, such as “Game of Thrones” and “Homeland.”
Weather and natural beauty
Due to its climate and weather, the location has offered reliable and predictable conditions. Adding that to the area’s natural beauty and ruggedness that can mimic the natural environments of many countries has made the location favorable for filming desert-like scenes in the Game of thrones or the Mummy.
Ouarzazate also serves as a gateway to the Sahara desert, offering visitors the opportunity to experience camel rides, dune bashing, and stargazing in the remote desert landscape. The city has been heavily featured in Moroccan tourism and has become an attraction to many celebrities.
Atlas Corporation Studios
One of the main draws of Ouarzazate is its impressive studio facilities. The Atlas Corporation Studios, founded in the 1983 by a Moroccan entrepreneur Mohamed Belghmi, is the largest movie studio in the country. Its facilities have been used for productions ranging from blockbusters to small independent films.
The facility includes several sound stages, workshops, and a large backlot, which has been used to recreate everything from ancient Rome to medieval Europe.
Another attraction for filmmakers is the availability of skilled local crews and cost-effective production services. The Moroccan government has also been proactive in promoting the country’s film industry, offering tax incentives and streamlined permit processes to encourage more foreign productions to be filmed in the country.
UNESCO World Heritage site nearby
While Ouarzazate has become a global destination for filmmakers, it also has a rich cultural heritage that is worth exploring. Nearby the city lies the site of the impressive Ait Benhaddou. The palace a UNESCO World Heritage site that is one of the most well-preserved examples of traditional Moroccan architecture.
Also nearby, the Kasbah Taourirt, an ancient fortress that was once the residence of local rulers, is another must-see attraction in the city.