Ouarzazate (Berber: Warzazat, Arabic: ورزازات, lit. "noiselessly"), nicknamed The door of the desert, is a city and
capital of Ouarzazate Province in the Souss-Massa-Drâa of southern-central Morocco. Ouarzazate is at an elevation of 1,160 metres (3,810 ft) in the middle of a bare plateau south of the High Atlas
Mountains. To the south of the town is the desert.
The town is chiefly inhabited by Berbers, who constructed many of the prominent kasbahs and buildings for which the area is known. Ouarzazate is an important holiday destination in Morocco, as a base for excursions across the Draa Valley and into the desert. The fortified village (ksar) of Ait Benhaddou west of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Ouarzazate area is a noted film-making location, with Morocco's biggest studios inviting many international companies to work here. Films such as Lawrence of Arabia (1962), The Living Daylights (1987), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), The Mummy (1999), Gladiator (2000), Kingdom of Heaven (2005), Kundun (1997), Legionnaire (1998), Hanna (2011), and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (2011) were shot here, as was part of the TV series Game of Thrones.
Atlas Studios is one of the largest movie studios in the world. Several historical movies were shot here, including Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra, Lawrence of Arabia, The Man Who Would Be King, Kingdom of Heaven and Babel. It was also the location of an episode of the television series The Amazing Race 10.
The kasbah-town of Aït Benhaddou is nearby. Many excursions through the valley of the Draa River into the Sahara start from the city. These include trips to Zagora, an oasis town surrounded by palm tree plantations and a departure point for camel trains to Timbuktu, a journey that would take about 52 days. These days the border to Algeria is closed, stopping the Timbuktu route.