Category Archives: Morocco

Ouarzazate, Morocco

Ouarzazate, Morocco nicknamed “The Door of the Desert”

With the Atlas Mountains to the north and the desert to the south, the ancient city of Ouarzazate, inhabited and chiefly built by Berbers, was an important stop for traders from central Africa and the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts of the continent.  It sits on a plateau about 3,800 feet above sea level.

It was to Ouarzazte that Mother and Oliver traveled when scouting the location for the jetsetters resort he hoped to build.  The French had converted the trading post into a garrison town but starting in the early sixties with “Lawrence of Arabia”, Hollywood was turning it into a movie location.  

He never built his resort but Oliver was right about the area.  It is now a major tourist destination for Moroccans and Europeans and the area is filled with luxury resorts and condo towns.  It is also home to Atlas Studios one of the largest movie studios in the world where everything from “Lawrence” to “Gladiator” to “Game of Thrones” has been shot.

The Mamounia

La Mamounia

The Mamounia Hotel in Marrakech, Morocco or La Mamounia as it’s commonly known sits at the heart of the old section of the city facing the Atlas Mountains.

 We stayed  here while our step-father was scounting locations for a new resort in Morocco.  It was a wonderful, mystical-feeling place in which a couple of young girls could have a lot of adventures.  Mother and Oliver’s version of the trip had it’s own kind of magic but sadly it’s own very grown-up kind of sorrow.  

A wonderful series of photos and history of the hotel can be found on The New York Social Diary at the link: 

Crazy double exposure picture of mother, on the landing strip in Morocco right before we left in a private plane to cross the Zagora desert, to Ouarzate. Love the English gent behind her…

Once the movie camera in her hands turned on in her purse.  It made for a very funny movie of her lipstick and compact in the dark interspersed with glimpses of the bright sky when she opened the purse.  Wish I had it but, as we know, there were very few survivors.

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