Exciting culture, flavorful cuisines, and beautiful places, Morocco is a place full of color and inspiration. This country is a popular destination not just by tourists, but also by the movie and fashion industry. This is an Islamic country in North Africa that has been blessed by two coastlines of the Mediterranean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean. A land for all tastes, the country is one of the spice capitals in the world. Moreover, their devotion to Islam shows in the superb architecture and intricate detailing of the mosques. So, wander endlessly through the Red City, Marrakesh, explore the heritage sites, and relax with a Hammam or steam bath.
Important and Interesting Facts about Morocco
- is a country in the Maghreb region of North Africa. Geographically, Morocco is characterized by a rugged mountainous interior and large portions of desert.
- It is one of only three countries (with Spain and France) to have both Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines.
- Morocco is the fifty-seventh largest country in the world (after Uzbekistan).
- To the north, Morocco is bordered by the Strait of Gibraltar, where international shipping has unimpeded transit passage between the Atlantic and Mediterranean.
- The Barbary lion, hunted to extinction in the wild, was a subspieces native to Morocco and is a national emblem.The last Barbary lion in the wild was shot in the Atlas Mountains in 1922.
- The bustling and vibrant buzz of Marrakesh Medina sums up Morocco for many visitors. The old city is entered from the vast plaza of Djemma el-fna Square where, it seems, half of the city converges throughout the day and into the evening to hang out with the stall vendors, traditional musicians, snake charmers and random acrobats.
- Casablanca’s landmark building, the Hassan II Mosque is a lavish symbol not only of the city, but also of Morocco itself. This modern mosque (finished in 1993) doesn’t do things by halves. The decoration detail covering every centimetre of the mammoth 2 ha site took 10,000 artisans to complete. Intricately carved marble pieces, vibrant mosaics and zellige tile details pay tribute to traditional Islamic architecture, and yet still manage to feel contemporary.
- Rabat’s Oudaias Kasbah neighbourhood is a peaceful and perfectly quaint district that feels miles away from the city, yet is right in the heart. Inside the walls of this old fortress are lanes of neat white-and-blue houses rimmed by colourful flowerpots and flapping washing. It’s the prettiest corner of the capital.
- Along with Marrakesh, Fes is Morocco’s other big cultural destination. But unlike its sister Imperial City to the south, Fes hasn’t been trussed up for the tourists. Fes el Bali (Old City) is an authentic muddle of a place where it’s near impossible to not get lost.
- The most European of all Morocco’s cities, Tangier has a fascinating and slightly debauched role in 20th century literary history, and this past is what draws many tourists here. This is the city that inspired famous works such as Paul Bowles’ “The Sheltering Sky” and William Burroughs’ “Naked Lunch”.
- In the beautiful Rif Mountains, Chefchaouen is a gorgeous labyrinth of blue-on-blue buildings that has an incredibly photogenic glow. There isn’t much actual sightseeing to be done and that’s one of the town’s main attractions. It’s simply about wandering the Medina alleys and lapping up all that colourful architecture. It’s a peaceful, easygoing town and a great place to recharge if you’ve been amid the cities for a while.
Cool, Funny, and Fun Facts about Morocco
- In Morocco, it is considered impolite to handle food with the left hand and to say no to meat if it is offered at a meal.
- White is the color of mourning in Morocco. A Moroccan widow wears white for 40 days after the death of her husband.
- In Morocco, it is estimated that there is one dentist for every 800,000 residents, and the standard treatment for a toothache is extraction. At country souks (markets), tooth-extraction specialists are identified by their set of pliers and small carpets littered with bloody molars.
- Moroccans jokingly call their tap water Sidi Robinet (Sir, or Lord, Tap), and it is drinkable in most parts of the country.
- One of the major sources of income for families in Morocco’s Northern Rif region is cannabis (marijuana) cultivation. In fact, the word “reefer” derives from the word rif. The cannabis, known in Arabic as kif, is then processed and sold as hashish.
- Morocco is the largest processor and exporter of sardines in the world.
- The English word “genie” comes directly from the Arabic word djinn, denoting a spiritual being that may play some part in human affairs if called upon. In Morocco, djinns are believed to frequent places associated with water: public baths, drains, sinks, and even pots and pans.
- Traditionally the liver, not the heart, is considered to be the symbol of love in Morocco.
- One of the words for “money” in Morocco is wusakh d-dunya, or “dirt of the world.” Moroccan money is formally called the dirham (abbreviated DH), but it is commonly referred to as flous.
- The name of Jemaa el Fna, the vast market square in Marrakech, Morocco, literally means “assembly of the dead” and may refer to the traditional display of the heads of criminals executed there until the 19th century.
- Casablanca, the film named after the Moroccan city, starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, won the Academy Award for Best Motion Picture in 1942 and is considered one of the best films of all time.
Historical and Cultural Facts about Morocco
- Archaeological excavations have demonstrated the presence of hominids in Morocco that were ancestral to Homo sapiens, as well as the presence of early human species. The fossilized bones of a 400,000 year old early human ancestor were discovered in Salé in 1971.
- The arrival of Phoenicians on the Moroccan coast heralded many centuries of rule by foreign powers in the north of Morocco. Phoenician traders penetrated the western Mediterranean before the 8th century BC, and soon after[when?] set up depots for salt and ore along the coast and up the rivers of the territory of present day Morocco.Major early settlements of the Phoenicians included those at Chellah, Lixus and Mogador.Mogador is known to have been a Phoenician colony by the early 6th century BC.
- At the 1984 Olympic Games, Nawal el Moutawakel unexpectedly won the inaugural running of the 400m hurdles, the first major title won by an Arab woman in an international competition. She is now a cabinet member.
- During the 1950s and 60s, Morocco served as a literary sanctuary for many foreign writers, including Americans William S. Burroughs, Paul Bowles, Brion Gysin, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsburg, and Tennessee Williams. Perhaps the most famous of them, Paul Bowles made his home in Morocco for more than 50 years
- Dubbed Moroccan, or Berber, “whiskey,” tea has become the national drink of Morocco. It was introduced to Morocco in 1854 when blockaded British merchants uploaded large quantities of tea at major Moroccan ports, Thé à la Menthe (Green Mint Tea) is Chinese green tea brewed with a handful of mint leaves and liberally loaded up with sugar.
- Seksou (couscous) is the Moroccan national dish. It is granules of semolina that are steamed over a pot filled with a rich meat and vegetable stew.e
- The Moroccan national costume is called the djellaba, a one-piece unisex, hooded, coverall garment. Those of the highest quality have the most ornate needlework lining the seams. Wealthy Moroccans have their djellabas tailor-made. Djellabas are indicative of conservative politics and values.
- When greeting one another, Moroccans usually shake hands and touch their heart to show personal warmth. Segregation of the sexes is very important in almost every social situation outside the home. Only very modern, Westernized women are active in public life. In the Berber countryside, the appearance of women in public may be slightly more common than in major cities. Traditionally, elders are respected and honored by the entire community.
- Small dome-shaped temples are constructed for the Murabitin after their death, as they are thought to continue exuding spiritual power. Individuals seeking blessings, such as a woman who wishes to become pregnant, make pilgrimages to Murabitin temples. Muslim mosques are found nationwide. Traditionally, non-Muslim foreigners are not allowed inside mosques. The Mosque Hassan II in Casablanca, however, allows foreigners to tour some facilities.
- Music making is very common at festivals or whenever people are gathered for social events. Men and women sing while drums and stringed instruments, such as the lotar and the kamanja, are played. Musical gatherings are often accompanied by group folk dancing. Women and girls are believed to be susceptible to slipping into a trance while dancing to the rhythm of the drum. Snake charmers perform for tourists in major cities.
- Moroccans celebrate a number of national holidays and festivals each year. National Day is held on 3 March, in celebration of King Hassan II’s accession to the throne in 1961. Independence Day is celebrated on 18 November, commemorating the end of the French Protectorate in Morocco. On 6 November, Green March Day is celebrated to commemorate the Moroccan march into Western Sahara in 1975. Among the most popular festivals are: the National Folklore Festival, held in Marrakech each June; a Festival of Roses, held in El Kelaa des M’Gouna each May; and a Date Festival, held in Erfoud each October.