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Blue Grey Red

Ouarzazate: Pictures Show

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Pictures Show Abandoned Moroccan Film Sets Once Home to Hollywood Productions

The film set was heavily featured in the TV series Game Of Thrones

The Moroccan region of Ouarzazate has for long been home to many major film and TV productions in the world such as “Lawrence of Arabia”, “Gladiator”, “The Mummy” and “Game of Thrones.”


1- Laurence Of Arabia was one of the first movies to be filmed there
2- The studio was also used as the backdrop for many of the street scenes in Gladiator


Yet, sadly enough, the places where these works were shot lacked glamour because of the poverty of the local population.

Despite being a favorite filming location by many worldwide renowned filmmakers, mega film productions poured into the region but not the money that would guarantee a sustainable development in it.


1- Atlas Studios was used in countless hit films and TV shows after opening in 1983 in Ouarzazete, Morocco
2- Plenty of fake blood has been spilled in the temples and training grounds of this now abandoned movie set


A good number of the local population are in a state of continuous waiting of movies and documentaries to be filmed in the region, hoping to be cast as extras and earn some money to cope with the hardship of life.

Added to that, a sense of decay is now deeply felt just where the shooting of memorable films and very successful TV productions took place.

Abandoned film sets, that were once a highly attractive film location, stand witnesses to the sad story of this place.


Photographer Bob Thissen, 31, spent a day photographing the faded glamour of the site known as ‘Hollywood in the Desert’ earlier this month
Bob, from Heerlen in the Netherlands, said: ‘It was cool to find such a big movie set abandoned and left alone in the desert’


In an article by the British news website “
The Sun,” pictures taken by a Dutch photographer show one of the sets deserted and in a state of ruin.

“It looked like there had been multiple shoots, because the sets were slightly different compared to the old pictures I had found – and an extra wall had been built, said Bob Thissen, the photographer of the pictures of the abandoned set adding that, “it clearly hadn’t been used for a long time, as part of the set had already collapsed and another part was close to collapsing.”

1- Several miles off-road into the desert, Bob discovered the ‘forgotten sets’ that had been abandoned
2- The scenery was perfect for many of the scenes starring Khaleesi ‘Queen Of Dragons’


Thissen went on to say that, “most movie sets are located near the active studios and can be visited legally, but some are remote, abandoned and decayed.”

A few kilometers away, the Dutch photographer discovered more abandoned film locations.

1- Bob, who has been an urban explorer, known as urbexing, for over ten years, discovered the sites on Google Earth
2- Pillars are skewed and some tiles are missing, because decay happens fast


While documenting his finds, Thissen said “it was cool to find such a big movie set abandoned and left alone in the desert”.

It would certainly be difficult to assume that Moroccans would see that way.

Many people would find nothing cool about an abandoned film set that could be used to generate some money for the local population, not matter how little it seems.


1- Most movie sets are located near the active studios and can be visited legally, but some are remote, abandoned and decayed
2- Decay happens quicker than it usually would because the facades are made as cheaply as possible

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