Ouarzazet: Making Movies in Morocco

Did you know one of the largest film studios in the world is in rural Morocco. Atlas Studios is in Ouarzazet. Scenes from Babel, Gladiator, Lawrence of Arabia, Game of Thrones and many other films have been shot in the area.

Atlas Studio

CLA Studio nearby

Set used as Jerusalem. Atlas saves many sets and has tours.

Parts of Gladiator were filmed at Ait Ben Haddou, a historic village along old caravan route. It is a Unesco site.

Camels and Dunes in the Erg Chebbi

No trip to Morocco is complete without a night at a tented camp in the red sand dunes. We were in the Erg Chebbi near Merzouga. Our trek included a 30-minute camel ride over a flat surface into the dunes, but the rest of the trip was by 4X4.

Me and my camel. Most of the pictures of the dunes were taken from the 4X4 because I was afraid to let go of the camel’s swaying saddle. The wrapped cloth turbans are a type of traditional headdress for the Berbers tribes, now called the Amazigh, any of the descendants of the pre-Arab inhabitants of North Africa.

The tented camp. At home in the desert with all the amenities, except wi-fi. Luckily, I could still get a signal.

We had a Moroccan musical performance of Gnawa, a mystical music originating from West Africa.

Gnawa Music

“Gnawa is one of the most popular types of music in Northern Africa. The Gnawa are slave descendants who were brought to Morocco by the Arabs and claim to be descendants of Sidi Bilal. Their sub-Saharan music has a lead, long-necked lute player who sings and is accompanied by metal castanets. . . .This style has been blended with hip-hop, jazz, rock, and funk but still preserves the traditional sound of their ancestors.” (from https://simply-morocco.com/moroccan-music/)

“For Gnawa music is a fusion of Arab, Berber and African rhythms. It is powerful trance music that goes back to the 16th century and has gained international popularity over the last few years. If you are in Morocco during the month of June, don’t miss the three-day Gnawa festival in the city of Essaouira in the south of Morocco. The main instruments of Gnawa music is the double-headed drum – or tbal – and metal castanets or qerqbat. Gnawa has also gone through changes and can be heard mixed with different musical styles such as Jazz.”  (from https://www.morocco.com/culture/music/)

Morning brought clouds and then rain as we left the dunes behind.

Square Tops #18: Sunrise at the Top

Top of the Dune

On Top of the Dune, Sossusvlei , Namib Desert, Namibia

 

Join Becky’s April Squares: SquareTops. There are only two rules: the photo must be square and it must relate to the theme of the month.

The theme for April Squares is ‘top‘, and Becky has listed five idioms to choose from;

  1. On Top of the World – summit, crown, peak (tiptop) or uppermost part of something.
  2. Under the Big Top – topping or covering (or if you are really lucky a circus!)
  3. Room at the Top – first or highest in position
  4. Cherry on Top – something made even more wonderful by becoming square
  5. Top and Tail – or maybe you’d prefer to play around with word combinations such as top dog, top stitch, top hat, top secret, top knot, top drawer or top dollar!

The main tag is #SquareTops but you may also want to add a second tag using the idiom your square is coming under.

Mean and Green

Euphoric Euphorbia

A type of Euphorbia, Fullerton Arboretum, Cal State Fullerton and the City of Fullerton, California

Join Weekly Prompts’ Photo Challenge: Green

Backroads America

Wide open spaces:

New Mexico

East of Santa Fe, New Mexico

The Road Taken

The Desert Adapted Elephants Of Namibia

Desert Adapted Elephants, Nambia

Desert Adapted Elephants, Namibia

My first encounter with an elephant in the wild happened in Damaraland, in Namibia’s northwest. Just before sunset, we drove out to look for a herd of desert adapted elephants moving through the area. We turned a corner and there they were, grazing on the shrubs and trees. I was in awe. To see my first elephant in the wild—no chains, no pens, no fences—was a magical moment.  For more information, check out Desert Elephants of Namibia.

WPC: The Road Taken

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