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Morocco in Cinematography: Why it’s So Popular, and Famous Places You Can Visit

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Morocco in Cinematography: Why it’s So Popular, and Famous Places You Can Visit

Did you know that Morocco has been Africa’s little Hollywood for almost as long as there have been Hollywood movies? Morocco is a country that can perfectly represent a wide range of other locations around the world, including the Middle East.

Check out exactly why Morocco is so widely popular in cinematography, and explore some of the most beautiful places you can visit there.

Why Do Hollywood Location Managers Choose Morocco?

The Sahara Desert is the most common choice for shooting a movie in the desert. It spreads across ten countries in Africa, so filmmakers have a lot of options to choose from. However, Morocco seems to be the most popular choice. Why is that?

It’s because the country has a lot more to offer besides its sand dunes, and it’s ideal for representing both real and fictional cities. Moroccan cities are incredibly vibrant, full of buzzing markets, and pleasant people on every corner.

The narrow streets of the cities remind visitors of the Middle East, which is precisely why there’s a great number of countries and cities that Morocco can pose as. It can recreate a backdrop that resembles Pakistan, Israel, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Yemen and many other places.

But there’s more than just sand dunes and lively cities in Morocco. There are also exotic beaches and even snow-capped mountains. The possibilities for filming movies there are truly infinite.

Popular Hollywood Movies Filmed in Morocco

Morocco has been luring filmmakers for decades and birthed many of the most popular movies ever.

Some of the greatest classics of all time, filmed in the magical Moroccan landscapes, include Orson Welles’ Othello, The Man Who Knew Too Much, The Man Who Would Be King, Lawrence of Arabia, and The Jewel of the Nile.

A lot of newer blockbusters came from Africa’s little Hollywood as well, including Gladiator, Alexander, Babel, Inception, Sex and the City 2, American Sniper, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, and many others.

Even some TV series found their way to Morocco’s breathtaking landscapes, including Homeland, Prison Break: Sequel, and HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones.

5 Famous Filming Locations You Can Visit in Morocco

Whether or not you choose to visit Morocco because of its vast number of stunning filming locations, you definitely shouldn’t miss them. They’re in the movies for a good reason, so put them on your trip itinerary.


One of the most famous locations seems to be the so-called Gateway to the Sahara. It’s the city of Ouarzazate, which quite literally means “the door of the desert.” Located south of the High Atlas Mountains, it’s an enchanting place with stunning views over the rugged landscape.

If you’re a fan of Gladiator, Lawrence of Arabia, The Kingdom of Heaven, The Mummy, The Man Who Would Be King, The Last Temptation of Christ, Black Hawk Down, or Babel, you should definitely visit Ouarzazate.

This is also one of the filming locations of Game of Thrones. It served as a backdrop for the fictional cities of Yunkai and Astapor.

Taourirt Kasbah

Taourirt Kasbah is one of the numerous filming locations in Ouarzazate. It stands out because of its gorgeous architecture, as well as historical significance. This Kasbah is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and it served as a backdrop for a few Star Wars scenes.

Atlas Studios

Just outside of Ouarzazate, you can visit the Atlas Studios, where there are plenty of movie sets to explore. You can visit the sets of The Jewel of the Nile, Kundun, Kingdom of Heaven, Gladiator, The Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, The Sheltering Sky, and many more.

The Fint Oasis

This green valley with a wonderful oasis is an off-the-beaten-track location that will take your breath away. It served as the location for The Kingdom of Heaven, The Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Babel, and many other movies. The road to the valley is quite rocky, so be sure to get a 4×4.


Marrakech is also very popular among filmmakers. Its main square, Djemaa El Fna, is one of its most famous filming locations. You’ll recognize it if you watched The Mummy, The Man Who Knew Too Much, and Sex and the City 2.

If you stay at the La Mamounia hotel, you’ll feel as if you were in Alexander, or The Man Who Knew Too Much, to name but a few of the movies that featured it.

Ready to explore the magical country of Morocco? Pack some modest clothes, including proper shoes for the hot sand dunes, and don’t forget to get a VPN to upload all your adventurous selfies safely. You don’t want prying eyes looking at your data while abroad, do you? Stay safe and have an awesome trip.



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