Ouarzazate Film studio

Top 11 Facts you didn't know about Morocco

Morocco, a country teeming with rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning natural landscapes, is gradually making its mark on the global culinary map. Yet, there remains a vast expanse of knowledge to uncover about its illustrious past, diverse culture, and unique traditions. This piece serves as your portal into the heart of one of the most mesmerising nations currently capturing the world's attention, a country whose history has been somewhat overlooked on the international stage.

Below, we delve into ten captivating facts about Morocco that might just surprise you:

  1. The Birthplace of Academic Excellence: Morocco is home to the University of al-Qarawiyyin in Fez, established in 859 AD by Fatima al-Fihri, a woman of remarkable vision and the daughter of a wealthy merchant. Recognised by UNESCO and the Guinness World Records as the oldest existing, continually operating higher educational institution in the world, it stands as a testament to Morocco's long-standing commitment to knowledge and learning.

  2. A Cradle of Human History: The discovery of the oldest Homo sapiens fossil in Jebel Irhoud, Morocco, has dramatically shifted our understanding of human evolution. Previously thought to be centred exclusively in East Africa, these findings suggest a far more widespread early human presence, dating back approximately 300,000 years.

  3. Traces of Ancient Craftsmanship: Morocco's archaeological landscape boasts North Africa's oldest Stone Age hand axe, estimated to be 1.3 million years old. This remarkable find further underscores the region's role in the story of human civilisation.

  4. A Beacon of Tolerance: Despite 99% of its population practising Islam, Morocco is celebrated for its progressive and tolerant society. This harmony is reflected in its laws and the everyday lives of its people, offering a model of peaceful coexistence.

  5. Unexpected Winter Wonderland: Contrary to popular belief, Morocco offers more than just desert landscapes and sunny beaches. It is also home to ski resorts like Oukaïmeden and Ifrane, providing snow enthusiasts with an unexpected delight in the heart of North Africa.

  6. Fez's Labyrinthine Medina: The largest active medina in the world can be found in Fez, Morocco's oldest city. A UNESCO World Heritage site, this historic quarter is a maze of narrow, winding streets enclosed by ancient walls, offering a glimpse into a living medieval city.

  7. A Royal Celebration: Throne Day, celebrated on July 30th, is a national holiday marking the accession of the current king. It's a day of patriotic pride, featuring a royal speech that reflects on the nation's progress and challenges.

  8. Extravagant Weddings: Moroccan weddings are lavish celebrations that last three days, encompassing a hammam day, a henna party, and the main ceremony, during which the bride may change into as many as seven different dresses. These events are a vibrant expression of Moroccan culture and tradition.

  9. Pristine Beaches: Morocco prides itself on its 29 blue flag beaches, a testament to their cleanliness, environmental management, and safety standards. These idyllic spots offer both locals and tourists a chance to enjoy the country's beautiful coastline in an eco-friendly manner. Also the only country in Africa that has both the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea

  10. A Filmmaker's Dream: With locations like Ouarzazate and Ait Ben Haddou, Morocco has earned the nickname 'the Hollywood of Africa'. Its dramatic landscapes and historic kasbahs have provided backdrops for numerous films and TV shows, including Game of Thrones and The Mummy.

  11. Diplomatic Pioneers: Morocco was the first country to recognise the United States as an independent nation, establishing a longstanding friendship that dates back to 1777. This act of recognition underscores Morocco's role in international diplomacy and its open approach to foreign relations.

These facts not only challenge common perceptions about Morocco but also invite you to explore this fascinating country further. Whether it's the allure of its ancient cities, the warmth of its people, or the diversity of its landscapes, Morocco offers an enriching experience for every curious traveller.