Game of Thrones sites in Morocco
The exoticism of Morocco has inspired for decades to artist, painters and writers. When the art of cinema was born, it was only about time that the natural landscapes, the majestic cities and historic places of Morocco where set for epic and iconic movies like Lawrence of Arabia or Gladiator.
The production team of Game of Thrones, known for carefully choosing natural landscapes from all over the world to bring to life the universe of A song of Ice and Fire, set their eye in Morocco to shape the free cities of Pentos and Yunkai and Astapor, in the Bay of Slaves.
The Morocco landscapes are key in the quest of Daernerys Targayen to conquer the Iron Throne.
Winter may come but the weather in Morocco allows all Game of Throne lovers to enjoy the sites all through the year!
The show fans will immediately recognize the walled medina of Essaouira as Astapor, the slave-trading city where Daernerys buys her army of Unsullied warriors.
The truth is that the city looks like a Mediterranean village with white small houses and deep blue doors as other Moroccan cities has a Phoenician and Roman past.
Essaouira is probably the oldest city in Morocco. Located in a bay sheltered by the Mogador island, it was the perfect location for a port protected from the strong Atlantic winds. In the 5th century BC it was a Carthaginian trading post but probably it has a Phoenician origin.
The Mogador island is the home of many murex and purpura shells what it led to a probably very profitable purple dye factory on the early 1st century BC. In fact, Pliny called these islands “Purpurarias” because of the color production.
After the Punic Wars, Mogador would pass to the Romans and the Berbers after the fall of the Empire.
In the 16th century, the Portuguese settled in the city building the defensive castle. It was the beginning of what it is Essaouira today. In 2001 the medina of Esssaouira and the island of Mogador where included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list.
The medina of Essaouira is a paradise of narrow whitewashed streets inside an impressive fortification.
The white colors of the lime, the blue of its windows and doors and the stone combine to create a surprising artistic historical ensemble, where it is worth getting lost and spend time wandering its charming corners.
You cannot leave the city without trying the local gastronomy based in the fresh fish captured every morning in the Atlantic. Grilled sardines or octopus tajin are among the specialties!
OUARZAZATE AND AIT BEN HADDOU
Ouarzazate is one of the most cinematographic places on Morocco: It has been the scenery for many great films like Lawrence of Arabia. The main economic income of the region comes from the Studios located in this town.
Nearby you can find Ait Ben Haddou. Surrounded by giant red walls, was long time ago an important trading post.
This 11th century structure was the city of Yunkai. One of the slaving cities Daenerys besieges with her army.
The imposing fortified city emerges from the desert floor like a gigantic sandcastle. The houses are made of adobe and many have interesting geometric decoration. The uniqueness of the buildings is a truly photographer’s wonderland.
Its location next to the Sahara and at the foot of Atlas made it the last stop for traders coming from Sudan towards Marrakech, Fez or Meknes before crossing the mountains.
It has been an important trading center for centuries. Today only a few families still live inside its walls. It was declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site in 1987.
Some of the most important filmmakers like David Lean, Martin Scorsese, Ridley Scott or Alejandro González Iñárritu have found in the magic of Ait Ben Haddou the perfect setting for their movies.