Ouarzazate (Berber: Warzazat, Arabic: ورزازات, lit. “noiselessly”) (called The door of the desert), is a city and capital of Ouarzazate Province in the Souss-Massa-Draâ of southern-central Morocco. As of 2004 it had a population of 56,616. Ouarzazate is located 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 building for which the area is known for. Ouarzazate is one of the important holiday destinations in Morocco as a nodal point for excursion across the Draa Valley and desert in the area. The fortified village (ksar) of Ait Benhaddou has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The town and surrounding area is also a noted film-making location, with Morocco’s biggest studios inviting many international film companies to shoot their films. Films such as Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Star Wars (1977), The Living Daylights (1987), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), The Mummy (1999), Gladiator (2000) and Martin Scorsese’s Kundun (1997) Legionnaire (1998) shot in the Ouarazate area.