For centuries, Ouarzazate served as a trading center for Sub-Saharan and Moroccan trade, due to its location south of the Atlas Mountains, northwest of the Draa Valley and west of the Dades Valley. During the French Protectorate, the population grew and the town became an administrative center. Morocco’s international film industry is now centered in Ouarzazate, with several movie studios.
In the 17th Century, an Amazigh leader built the Taourirt Kasbah and mellah. In 1954, about 170 Jews lived in the mellah. One of Taouirt’s former synagogues is now a carpet store.
An important saint of the Ouarzazate region is Rabbi David u Moshe in Timzrit, north of Ouarzazate on the Tizi n Tishka road near the town of Agouim. Other Jewish saints are Southeast of Ouarzazate in the kasbahs of the Draa River Valley.