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8 things you didn’t know about Morocco

By : Fernanda lustosa | Nov 9, 2020

Getting ready for a trip to Morocco? Between planning, packing and reading all the important tips, there are some interesting facts about Moroccan cities that might enrich your experience, and we are here to tell you all about them. Read below!

The Draa Valley offers one of the most beautiful landscapes in Morocco

The Draa river flows from the Draa mountain down to the canyons of Jebel Sarhro, and the water allows life the form of beautiful oases with thousands of palm trees, which result on a fantastic contrast between the desert and the green land. Enjoy relaxing moments and the opportunity to try fresh dates, famous in the region.

Portuguese background in Essaouira

Morocco has many beautiful places, and even though many famous attractions offer a busy environment, there are some special destinations that are quite the opposite, such as Essaouira, a city known for its breeze and peaceful atmosphere. But what you might not know is that the UNESCO’s World Heritage Site city of 70 thousand inhabitants was invaded by the Portuguese, who in 1506 built a fortress there. However it did not last long because they were attacked by Berbers, who later occupied Morocco. Enjoy Essaouira’s historic center, fish markets, restaurants with fresh and delicious seafood and, if you fancy, enroll in one of the many windsurf schools.

The Kasbah of the Oudaias was founded in 1150

The Kasbah of Oudaias is a fortress located in the outskirts of Rabat. It is a symbolic and important place, very popular amongst tourists and it is a pleasant place to rest after walking around the buzzling Rabat. The walls are painted in indigo blue and white, with Fatima's hands on all doors to ward off bad energy.

Adventurous travelers have a blast hiking the Dades Gorge

Nature and hiking lovers should not miss the opportunity to explore the Dades gorge for incredible views of the High Atlas in the background and its snow peaks. The valley is located north of Boumalne-Dades and stretches for an impressive 100km to the Gorges of Todra. The route is known as "the route of the thousand Kasbah" because there are many fortresses along it. The valley is very red and arid, but when crossed by the Dades River it gains a different landscape, with several trees, such as apple and almond trees. 

Gates are tourist attractions

Many Moroccan cities are ancient and fortified ones, and to enter them you must cross gates. Some are famous and beautiful, symbols of opulence, such as Bab Mansour in Meknes. Meknes is an imperial Moroccan city founded in the 10th century and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It became capital under the reign of Sultan Moulay Ismail in the 17th century, who built monuments, palaces and mosques there. The city was so beautiful that even the French during their occupation nicknamed it "the Versailles of Morocco". Bab Mansour gate is among the attractions of Meknes, built in the 18th century and considered one of the most beautiful in the world, so beautiful that it can only be admired, it is not to be crossed.

Volubilis’ population was up to 200.000 people

Nowadays thinking about 200.000 people might seem too little, but back in the time of the Roman Empire no. Let’s consider that Volubilis was once a small municipality under the Roman domain and ended up as an administrative center. The city prospered thanks to its fertile terrain and the production of olive oil. During the glorious days of Volubilis, the city had mansions, Arc de Triumph, temples dedicated to gods, etc, most still remained intact until a powerful earthquake in 1755. Only during the French occupation in the 19th century the historical monuments started to be restored.

Tangier is a literary spot

The city of Tangier is located in the Strait of Gibraltar and is considered the most European of the Moroccan cities. Due to its geographical position, it passed through European and African hands and vice versa, resulting in a mixture of cultures. To this day it keeps the European touch and many of its inhabitants speak Spanish. And most probably due this specific atmosphere, Tangier attracted the European intellectual elite, among the names: Eugène Delacroix, Oscar Wilde and Henri Matisse, who frequented cafes that still exist and are part of the city's bohemia life, such as the Gran Café de Paris and Café Fuentes. But Tangier also served as literary inspiration for Paul Bowles’ Heaven That Protects Us, and William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch. Samuel Beckett, Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams were also others who feel in love with the place, and the also still existing Librarie des Colonnes hosted many interesting gatherings.

The Chounara Tannery nearly disappeared

Well, it is not that it would had disappeared completely but the intention was to move it to another place, so somehow the tannery as we know it would have been gone. The Chounara Tanney is located in Fez and is the largest and most famous tannery in the city. Even though the smell can be strong and unpleasant, visitors do not want to miss this attraction. Exactly because of the odor, the government considered moving the it to the outskirts of Fez, but it was already too late: the centenary attraction had already been established and many tourists are still curious to see up close how the leather dyeing process works, a process that still remains the same since the tannery opened.