Over the years I’ve picked up some good bits of trivia living here, and I’d like to share these Moroccan facts with you.
- The name of Jemaa el Fna, the vast market square in Marrakech, Morocco, can be literally translated as ‘Assembly of the Dead’ and may refer to the traditional display of the heads of criminals executed there until the 19th century.
- A 2.36 inch stone carving called the Venus of Tan-Tan was found in a river bed near Plage Blanche in 1999, and is thought to be between 300,000 and 500,000 years old. It may be the earliest artistic representation of the human form.
- Morocco was the first country to sign a treaty with the United States in 1786. This special relationship still remains in place today.
- At the 1984 Olympic Games, Nawal el Moutawakel won gold in the inaugural running of the 400m hurdles, the first major title won by an African Muslim woman in an international competition. She is now a cabinet member.
- Morocco’s beautiful reddish brown thuya wood can only be found in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains. It’s a luxurious burled wood that has been used for luxury dashboards by Rolls Royce, Mercedes and BMW.
- Unlike in the west, the colour of mourning in Morocco is white. A Moroccan widow will wear white for 40 days following the death of her husband.
- Morocco is the largest processor and exporter of sardines in the world. These oily little fish are found in droves off Morocco’s Atlantic coast.
- Traditionally the liver, not the heart, is considered to be the symbol of love in Morocco.
- Rhassoul clay, traditionally used in hammam treatments, is able to absorb 1.66 times its weight in toxins and oils and is filled with amazing natural minerals.