Ait Ben Haddou Things to Do Tips by globetrott Top 5 Page for this destination
Ait Ben Haddou Things to Do: 55 reviews and 125 photos
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Stepping inside of the houses of the old part of Ait ben haddou is mostly no problem at all, as these houses are mostly not used any more for living by the local population. You will learn a lot about the way these houses had been constructed, you will see the shady inner-courts, the store-rooms and a lot more !
To construct one of these houses, they built a form made of wood and placed it, where the house should be.
The clay was put into water and straw was added and finally it was put into the forms untill it got a certain hight of about 1 meter...
then the clay was dried by the sun, while the form was built again a bit higher and higher step by step.
on a ROTEL-bustour through Morocco we made a lunch-break just opposite of Ait Benhaddou.
There is a river we had to cross before beeing able to visit the old town, and we have been told, to cross it only with local guides, who will know the way to cross it.
The ground of the mostly flat river is full of rolling stones, streams may occur and you may fall into the water all of a sudden, as the depth of the river varies a lot.
When we arrived, plenty of children of all ages offered us to lead us to the town, some of them pushing the others in order to get the best deals...
I went in a shop to buy postcards until most of the children were gone, and finally I was asked by this young Lady, whether she should lead me to that town.
Sali was maybe 7 years old and she knew exactly the way to cross the river. My little tourguide spoke a very clear French with me, and even could speak some German, and while we crossed the river, she counted from 1 to 10 in English,French and German and it sounded a bit like one of the rhimes, children would sing in that age. While we were walking through town and Sali was counting from 1 to 10, it took just a few minutes to explain to her, that except 11 and 12 all other numbers till 20 and furtheron go the same way as 1-10, and at the end of the tour,she could easily count till 30 in German...
My 2nd pic : what is Sali happily hiding in her apron ?
While she was counting in the different languages she actually also counted some coins in her hand, and when I changed a film I offered her one of the empty black film-boxes and she was so very happy about that new "purse", that I emptied my camera-bag and gave her all the boxes I had...
that is what she had in her apron then.
Between Ait Ben Haddou and Zagora you will find the so-called "Street of the Casbahs", a series of old clay-villages but none of them is as big as Ait Ben Haddou and most of these clay-houses in the street of Casbas are still used for everyday life by the local population, so you would only be able to take pics from outside there.
Local markets in Morroco are an absolute must !These markets are held once a week somewhere on a big square inside or even completely outside of the small villages.
We were lucky to pass by such a market-square in an open field, where merchants and customers came obviously from big distances just to do their shopping and offer their goods.
You will see men riding on a donkey, while the wife and daughter are walking next to the donkey (my 2nd and 3rd pic), you will see oldfashioned scales and a lot more.
Taking pics on a market might be a problem, when you are not part of a group, that is just walking through and taking fast pics here or there.
Of course you should ask for permisson, but you will never catch the situations you are looking for - and they will ask for some money and finally they will look completely differently on the pic...
All of the buildings that you will find inside the old town of Ait Ben Haddou were made of nothings else than just clay and staw, mixed with water, pressed togeather and finally dried in the sun.
Look at the lovely ornaments and the many storeys these buildings have.
Arches like the one shown on my picture have also wooden elements, otherwise it would not be possible to build it that way by the primitive technique.
We entered the old town of Ait Ben Haddou by a small side-entrance. Some of the houses are still used for stables for sheep and goats, but they seem to be not comfortable enough to live there for everyday life of the local population.
This fact gives also a great chance to the tourists, to go inside some of the buildings and take a closer look without the need to ask for permission or maybe disturbing anyone.
In any case the tourguides will know, where you may enter and where it is not possible or advisable.
This was the main entrance to the old village of Ait Ben Haddou and once it played also an important role in the movie " Sodom and Gomorrah "
It sounds strange to us, but these walls, simply made of clay, straw and water get so very hard, that once that they are totally dried out in the burning sun, these walls may well defend the village against enemies.
Nowadys there are only a few people still living in this old part of town.
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