50 Fabulous Facts about Morocco

Snake Charmer by Kevin Gessner

Here is a list of interesting, strange and sometimes funny things that you should know about Morocco before or after your visit. They will make you the toast of the pub quiz!

  • Morocco in Arabic is Al Maghreb which means the place where the sun sets
  • It borders two seas
  • It is only 8 miles from Europe
  • There are no camels in Morocco only dromedaries
  • Berbers make up around 40% of the population
  • The best rapper in the country is called Muslim.  Check him out
  • Morocco is a Muslim country

 

  • The highest peak in the country is Mount Toubkal at 4,167m
  • Friday is couscous day – the equivalent of a Sunday roast
  • It is the only Islamic country where women’s rights are enshrined in the constitution
  • The language spoken is not actually Arabic, it is Darija an Arabic dialect. Think Latin and Italian as a comparator
  • Public displays of affection are not considered appropriate
  • Mint tea is the national drink
  • The old trans-Saharan trade routes from mysterious Timbuktu crossed Morocco taking slaves and gold to Europe. Read the adventure in Morocco to Timbuktu: An Arabian Adventure
  • The most popular girl’s name is Fatima

 

  • Moroccans are football crazy and will talk endlessly about the Premier League in England, the time Morocco beat Scotland in the World Cup and Manchester United. Ask someone if they support Barcelona or Real Madrid and you will have a friend for life
  • Rabat is the capital of the country
  • Ourzazate has a fully-functioning film studio and hundreds of films have shot in Morocco
  • The famous gladiatorial scene in Gladiator was filmed in Ait Ben Haddou
  • Moroccans love cats but don’t like dogs – this comes from the time of the Prophet Mohammed, who felt the same
  • Female mules are more highly prized than males for their strength and good temper
  • The national dress is the jellaba
  • Men wear yellow babouche (slippers) on holidays and feast days
  • King Mohammed Vl is the King of Morocco
  • You can ski in the winter – in Oukaimeden

 

  • Mint tea is often called Berber whisky
  • Berber women tattoo their faces as a decoration and also to show their marital status
  • Morocco has Africa’s first high speed train system (coming soon)
  • There is a huge roadbuilding initiative underway which aims to connect all rural areas by 2020
  • Like Kenya and Ethiopia, Morocco produces lots of world-class runners
  • The toughest footrace on earth, the Marathon des Sables, takes place in Morocco
  • The branch of Islam practised in Morocco is Maliki Islam, known for its moderation
  • Marrakech is called the red city, because of the colour of its houses and walls. It is obligatory in many areas to use the rose-coloured paint
  • Most of Tesco’s tomatoes come from farms in the south near Dakhla
  • Fes used to be one of the main centres of Islam in the whole Arab World
  • Gibraltar is the Spanish derivation of the Arabic name Jabal Ṭāriq meaning “Mountain of Tariq” named after the Umayyad general Tariq ibn-Ziyad who led the initial Arab raid into Spain from Morocco
  • Ostrich feathers which were used to decorate the famous Busby, which the soldiers outside Buckingham Palace wear, were traded through Morocco.
  • There IS a Rick’s bar in Casablanca
  • Tangier used to be known as a centre for sex and drugs during the era of Paul Bowles, Jack Kerouac and William S Burroughs

 

  • Morocco is home to the Barbary Macaque monkey
  • Arranged or semi-arranged marriage is still very common in Morocco
  • The Morocco Mall in Casblanca is the biggest in Africa
  • Under Moroccan Constitutional Law, no party can have an absolute majority
  • The best way to greet people is to say, Salaam alaykum ( peace be upon you)
  • Bread is often used as a fork when eating from a communal dish
  • Tagines are cooked on the stove, or on an open fire, not in the oven
  • There is treasure buried all over the countryside, and sometimes diggers will come during the night to find it, leaving large holes
  • Chefchaouen is Spanish rather than French speaking as it was a Spanish enclave for many years
  • Luisa/Verveine/Verbena tea is good for digestion and for encouraging sleep
  • You should never wear your shoes when walking on someone’s rug or carpet in their home

So, there it is, an eclectic assortment of facts from this fabulous and endlessly interesting country. Time to book your ticket?

This blog was written for Epic Morocco by Alice Morrison, BBC2 Presenter and Author of books about Morocco and Africa.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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