Visiting the UNESCO heritage site of Ait Bn Haddou was a stop on my three day trip to the Sahara from Marrakesh, Morocco. Ait Ben Haddou is a well preserved and restored example of a ksar, that is, a collection of traditional earthen houses surrounded by a defensive wall and protective corner towers. Here is my experience of Ait Ben Haddou in photos.
On the way to the Sahara desert, we made a brief stop at the Ait-Ben-Haddou UNESCO site. The site is recognized as a great example of a ksar, a collection of earthen dwellings built behind defensive walls which are reinforced by angle towers. At one time, the village was part of a thriving commercial trading route between the Sudan and Marrakesh. Today however, the site has been abandoned except for tourists, hawkers selling their wares, and the film industry. The guides make sure to let you know that the movie Gladiator and scenes in The Game of Thrones were filmed here.
My Sahara Desert experience was hosted by Merzouga Luxury Desert Camps. All content is my own.
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Mission San Juan Capistrano is one of four historic mission complexes that are part of San Antonio’s Missions National Historic Park. The park preserves and educates about the history associated with these missions. But unlike other historical sites, the churches that make up the mission complexes are still very much in use, providing regular services to the local parishioners.
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The historic west Texas towns of Terlingua and Lajitas share a common location as gateway towns for both Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park. Though only fifteen minutes apart, their personalities are as distinct as their heritage. On my recent visit, I found that both towns are very much a reflection of their historic cemeteries: Terlingua is wild and woolly while Lajitas is more sedate and proper.
“Please. Come into my shop. Let me show you what I have. I will make you a good deal”. This was the constant litany that accosted us as we wandered the narrow lanes and tried to do some last minute shopping in Stone Town, on the Island of Zanzibar.
Barns and quilts. Both of these represent unique aspects of America’s traditional farming heritage. Today, old barns and old quilts are lovingly preserved as a link to a slowly disappearing lifestyle. What better way to foster awareness of America’s legacy and history than a Quilt Barn (or Barn Quilt) Trail through the rural landscape.
A hamam, or Turkish bath is a unique experience to Turkey. I wanted to try it on my first visit to Istanbul, but to do so, I would have to set aside my inhibitions about being seen naked by strangers. Could I do that?
Paris has the Palace of Versailles. Vienna has the Hofburg Palace. London has Buckingham Palace. In Istanbul, it is Topkapi Palace that was the opulent home to the Sultan rulers of the Ottoman Empire and their female entourage for almost 400 years.
To step through the door into Hagia Irene in Istanbul is to step through a time portal back to fourth century Constantinople. Before the more famous Hagia Sofia was built, Hagia Irene served as the main church for the capital of the Byzantine Empire. Hagia Irene also served as a model for the construction of the Hagia Sofia next door.
Not all of the mosques in Istanbul are open to non Muslim visitors. But fortunately, the most beautiful ones in and around the historic core of the Sultanahmet area can be visited by tourists during the non prayer times of the day.