Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou as seen from across the Asif Ounila River

The UNESCO World Heritage site of Ait-Ben-Haddou is situated in the Moroccan desert, about 100 miles from Marrakesh. This ksar, or group of earthen buildings surrounded by high walls, was a key stop along the caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakesh.

Disney Parks fans may recognize the earthen clay towers of Ait-Ben-Haddou as they’re represented in the facade above the entrance to Restaurant Marrakesh in Epcot.

Entering the ksar

A number of films have been shot here due to its unique and biblical looking structures, the most famous being the very non-Disney Ridley Scott’s Gladiator (2000). Disney and their subsidiary’s films include Fox’s The Jewel of the Nile (1985), Kundun (1997), Fox’s Kingdom of Heaven (2005), and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010). Additional studio and outdoor sets for most of these films were located at the nearby Cinema Studio Atlas.

One of the scenes of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time filmed at Ait-Ben-Haddou. Image ©Disney

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