Ouarzazate is a city south of the Moroccan High Atlas Mountains, known as the gateway to the Sahara Desert. Its enormous Taourirt Kasbah, housing a 19th-century palace, offers views of the surrounding rocky landscape, which appears in several films. To the north-west is the fortified red earth town of Ait-ben-Haddou, while the rocky gorges of Toudra stretch to the north-east. A road winds south-east, through the lush palm groves of the DrÃ¢a Valley, towards the desert.
For a long time, Ouarzazate was a small crossing point for African traders on their way to northern Morocco and Europe. In the 16th century, Sheikh Abu al-'Abaas Ahmed bin Abdellah al-Wizkiti al-Warzazi, amir of the Kasbah of Warzazat and father of Lalla Masuda, helped establish Saadi control over the Sous-Dra'a region.
During the French period, Ouarzazate expanded considerably as a garrison town, an administrative center, and a customs post.
It is home to the kasbah of Taourirt, which was the casbah of the former caÃ¯d and later owned by T'hami El Glaoui.
The Krupp field gun which secured Glaoui power is displayed outside the kasbah today.