Interesting facts about Morocco
Morocco might be all the way in North Africa, but it is only 8 miles from Europe!
Tangier is one of the cities close to Europe. It used to be known as a centre for sex and drugs during the era of Paul Bowles, Jack Kerouac and William S Burroughs.
In recent years, Morocco was under the French rule. The influences of this can be seen in French language being widely understood and in parts of bigger cities called Ville Nouvelle – they were built during the French rule and have the distinct modern touch to the architecture. Also, think Jardin Majorelle.
But what many don’t know is that Morocco was once a part of the Roman Empire as well. One of the most famous archaeological sites is Volubilis.
Berbers make up around 40% of the population.
The highest peak in the country is Mount Toubkal at 4,167m. It is also the highest peak in the Arab world.
The Brits have their Sunday roast but the Moroccans have couscous day!! Couscous is eaten on Friday which is the Islamic holy day. Because of this the medinas and souks are closed on Fridays.
Morocco is considered a progressive country, one of the few Islamic countries that have women’s right written into the constitution. However, there are still gaps in what is written and practice. You can read more on it here.
The language spoken is not actually Arabic, it is Darija, an Arabic dialect. Apparently, it is like Latin and Italian. Frome personal experience, I honestly couldn’t tell you as I would not be able to hear the difference even if I knew to look for it.
Mint tea (often called Berber whiskey) is the national drink.
The second largest film set in the world located in Morocco. Ouarzazate 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, a UNSECO world heritage site that is also a Kasbah.
Speaking of Kasbahs, Morocco is famous for them. But what are they? “Kasbah” is the word used to describe a medina, citadel or more commonly a fortress. The word “Kasbah” has many direct translations such as: watchtower, fort, keep and old city. A Kasbah resembles a group of buildings that make up a city.
Some of the oldest Kasbah’s in the world are found in Morocco.
The toughest footrace on earth, the Marathon des Sables, takes place in Southern Morocco, in the Sahara. The race last six days, it is 251km long and the longest single stage is 91km.
Fes used to be one of the main centres of Islam in the whole Arab World.
There IS a Rick’s bar in Casablanca.
Morocco has the oldest University in the world. It is located in Fes. According to records the University of al-Qarawiyyin was founded in 859, making it the oldest recorded institute for higher education learning on record. The institute was founded by Fatim al-Fihri, the daughter of wealthy merchant and is still used today as a learning facility known as a Madrasa.
Moroccans love football! Morocco won the Fifa world cup in 1961 against Saudi Arabia and it was the largest victory in history being 13-1.
Morocco has the fifth largest economy throughout Africa. It is also the largest producer and exporter of sardines in the world, it exports more than 90,000 tons of dates each year and it’s one of the world’s largest producers of illicit hashish.
Tarfaya Wind Farm in Morocco is Africa’s largest capacity wind farms.
The oldest hominoid in the world was found in Morocco near Safi.