One of the most famous places in the world is a tiny desert town in Morocco where everything from 'Game of Thrones' to 'Gladiator' was filmed
- The medieval ksar of Aït Benhaddou is a gorgeous tiny town in southwestern Morocco and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Located in a stunning red desert landscape, Aït Benhaddou is a frequent filming location for historical and epic movies like "The Mummy," "Gladiator," "Alexander," "Prince of Persia," "Kingdom of Heaven," and, most recently, "Game of Thrones."
- I recently visited. While it doesn't rival ancient archeological sites in places like Greece or Egypt, it is a stunning sight in its own right.
A tiny medieval town in southwestern Morocco is one of the most iconic sights in the world. You just don't know it by name.
The medieval ksar of Aït Benhaddou has played the part of an Egyptian town in the 1999 action movie "The Mummy," the Hindu Kush in Oliver Stone's 2004 Greek epic "Alexander," the Roman-era African city of Zucchabar in the 2000 classic "Gladiator," and, most recently, the city of Yunkai in "Game Of Thrones."
It's a strange phenomenon that locations that are historical and famous in their own right sometimes become more famous for the fictional things that happen there.
On my first trip to Philadelphia, I recall joking with my parents that Independence Hall is famously where Nicholas Cage's "National Treasure" character Benjamin Gates discovers a pair of glasses "made by" Benjamin Franklin, rather than where The Declaration of Independence was signed. "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" is half the reason I was so excited to visit the ancient city of Petra last year.
But that doesn't make a place like Aït Benhaddou any less awe-inspiring. Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, the mud-brick structures of Aït Benhaddou date back to the 1700s and are an impressive example of Moroccan architecture.
On a recent trip to Morocco, I decided to make a stop to check out Aït Benhaddou. Here's what it was like: