OUARZAZATE: hollywood of africa

Ouarzazate: Why this beautiful city of Morocco is the Hollywood of Africa

In the popular series, “Game of Thrones”, you would know “Yunkai” as the fictional Yellow city which is ruled by an oligarchy of slave merchants, but what you may not know is the fact that every scene shot there is from a real life beautiful city in Morocco called Ouarzazate.

More than a decade before the producers of “Game of Thrones” used the rich city for its international production, film director Ridley Scott also chose the North African country to film its ancient Rome in his movie “Gladiator”.

The producers of “Prince of Persia” The Sands of Time” also used the region for their productions and since then, big international companies have been using the site for their major productions. But what more do we know about Ouarzazate?

Known as the gate of the Sahara and the Hollywood of Africa, Ouarzazate is the largest city in south-east Morocco. Made up of about 60,000 people, the city is located about 540 kilometres from the country’s capital, Rabat, and 205 kilometres from the city Marrakech.

People of ouarzazate

Ouarzazate is derived from the Amazigh words “ouar” meaning without and “zazt” meaning noise. Hence, Ouarzazate means a city without noise. In the past, it was a crossroad for African traders seeking to reach northern cities in Morocco and Europe. It was during the colonial era a military base for controlling the whole southeast region of Morocco.

The city with people from diverse cultures depends on agriculture and tourism to survive. And that is how it became a centre for film production where films mentioned above were shot. With its dramatic landscape, the city has since been recognized globally and has attracted investors who are interested in movie making. The city has two studios for professional production of films – the CLA and Atlas.

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