Aït Ben Haddou (or Benhaddou) is a fortified traditional village located south of the Atlas, a few km north of the road connecting Marrakech with Ouarzazate. In old times the caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakech passed along Aït Ben Haddou, and the Berber inhabitants controlled the trade between Marrakech and Timbuktu. The village is in a remarkably well preserved status. Most of the inhabitants live in the nearby settlement across the river, with only four families left living in the old village. Up to 1000 people lived in Aït Ben Haddou between the 12th and 16th centuries. in the 17th century a kasbah (fortress) was built on the hill above the village. Aït Ben Haddou has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1987.
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