Here Are 15 Captivating Facts You Didn’t Know about Morocco

Morocco facts

The Kingdom of Morocco is a country located at the most Northwestern corner of Africa. The country shares a shoreline with the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean while on its land border lies the nation of Algeria. To the south of Morocco lies the Sahara Desert, the largest hot desert in the world. Morocco is an amazing country for many reasons and it is also amongst the most well-known. However, not many people know about many of the things that make this land as popular as it is.

Besides reminiscing the scenes with Ethan Hunt and Benji being chased through the streets of Morocco by motorbike riding baddies in Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation there is a lot that this country has to offer. Covering an area of 446,550 km2 and with a population of approximately 37 million, the nation of Morocco has a rich culture that is influenced largely by Arabic, Berber, and European traditions. The country is unique in its own right and has every right to be discovered in more detail.

Enticed? If you are looking to find out more about Morocco, here are 15 facts that will leave you stunned.

Interesting Facts about Morocco

1. Morocco sits just 9 miles from Europe

Morocco is famous with European travelers mainly due to the fact that it is only a stone’s throw away from their region. The nations of Spain and Morocco are separated by the Strait of Gibraltar and at its narrowest point is only 9 miles wide. Widely available ferries can take you between the two countries but the mode of transportation is slow.

2. 99% of the country follows one religion

Although it doesn’t declare itself as an ‘Islamic Republic’ like most Muslim majority countries, 99% of the local population in Morocco follows Islam as their religion. This is amongst the highest constituents anywhere in the world. It is one of the most progressive and liberal Muslim nations across the globe and the locals accept outsides while being tolerant towards their beliefs and cultures. These factors make Morocco popular amongst tourists. However, general laws and regulations in the country as strongly influenced by the Muslim faith.

3. Even the flag of the country has religious significance

The Moroccan flag is amongst the simplest and easiest ones to recognize anywhere in the world. However, a relatively less known fact about the flag is that the country’s Muslim faith carries on its flag too. The pentagram or ‘star’ on the flag represents the five pillars of the Islamic faith. The red background depicts strength and bravery while green is a color that is revered in the religion.

Morocco facts

4. Morocco was the first country to recognize USA as a nation

After the US Declaration of Independence was signed on the 2nd of July 1776, Morocco was amongst the first countries to accept the sovereign standing of the nation. Soon after, Morocco also opened its ports for trade to the US. By 1777, the country had begun trading with the US, less than a year after the nation declared its independence. This action has strengthened relations between the two nations that continue to stay strong till this day.

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5. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation is not the only movie with a scene filmed in Morocco

It is rare that someone has not seen Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, especially the scene where Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg and Rebecca Ferguson pull off the daring heist in the heart of the country. However, this is not the only Hollywood blockbuster filmed in the country. In fact, Morocco is known as ‘Africa’s Little Hollywood’ with movies like 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, Gladiator, Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, and the Man Who Knew Too Much being some of the most famous titles filmed in the country.

6. It may be hard to believe but Morocco has a ski resort

When thinking about Morocco, especially after reading about the famous movies filmed there, it is hard to comprehend the fact that the country actually has a ski resort. And no, it is not a sand ski resort. It is small in comparison to popular destinations like the Alps but Oukaimeden has seven lifts and over six miles of icy terrain that people can ski on.

7. Tourism flourishes in Morocco

Morocco is known as one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. More than 10 million people visit the country every year and although these numbers took a hit during the COVID-19 global pandemic, the land has continued to serve as a preferable place for people to visit. Tourism provides substantial economic support for the country employing almost 20% of the entire population in various capacities. The largest number of visitors arrive from Europe but US, Canadian and other tourists have begun to frequent the country too.

8. Morocco has 7 wine regions but alcohol is still hard to come by

One example of the Muslim influence on Morocco’s local laws is the inability to find alcohol publicly in the country. Morocco is probably not the first country that comes to mind when thinking about wine production. Especially when you know that it is a predominantly Muslim country and alcohol consumption is against the teachings of the faith. However, Morocco has a rich history of wine making with the production dating back to the Phoenician era. Today the country produces nearly 40 million bottles each year but if you are expecting to find wine in many public places, that won’t be the case. You can only get it in select hotels and restaurants that are licensed to sell it.

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9. There is a Red and Blue city in Morocco

Morocco is popular for a lot of reasons that attract tourists. This is mainly due to the fact that colors play a vital role in the cities that make up this beautiful country. Two of the most beautiful locations in the country are the Blue and Red cities. The Blue city of Chefchaouen is also referred to as the Blue Pearl of Morocco as the place is dotted with buildings that are painted in various shades and hues of the color blue giving it a vibrant and aesthetically appealing overview.

Similarly, the country also has a Red city. However, a striking contrast between the Red and Blue cities is that the former is not intentionally painted red. The city of Marrakesh has buildings that are constructed out of red bricks. Moreover, they are not exactly red either. The color is more salmon or of a pinkish hue but it has become popular for the more conveniently named color. Marrakesh is one of the most widely visited cities in Morocco because not only is it beautiful but affordable as well.

Morocco facts

10. Hash usage is rampant in the country

Yes, you read that right. What’s more surprising is that cannabis and its byproducts are illegal in the country but that doesn’t limit them from being readily available across the nation. Hash is a concentrated form of cannabis and more potent than marijuana. If you are visiting Morocco, you will be constantly approached by dealers to provide the product. Relax though, if you are visiting with kids, they will definitely leave you alone.

11. The Barbary Lion is Morocco’s national animal

You will learn later about the widely roaming stray cats in the country. So, it should come as no surprise that the national animal is a big cat. Although the Barbary Lion has gone extinct in the wild, it was once native to the Atlas Mountains of Morocco and has since become a symbol that the country resonates itself with.

12. The country thrives on numerous exports

Morocco has several products that form its main exports. Argan oil is one of the most notable products but others like agricultural items including dates and olives originate in the country too. Morocco is also one of the biggest global exporters of sardines. Argan oil is notably mentioned because it is commonly used in luxury cosmetics and hair products around the world.

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Morocco facts

13. Morocco’s cat population is out of control

Stray cats are one of the most common sights throughout Morocco. This is especially noticeable in the Blue City of Chefchaouen where the overpopulation of these animals can sometimes cause inconvenience to locals. However, the locals have adopted these animals as part of the population and feed them on a regular basis which is one of the factors why their population continues to grow rapidly.

14. Mint Tea is the country’s national drink

Morocco’s national drink is mint tea. Tea in general is a staple of the local culture and traditions with almost the entire population consuming significant amounts on a daily basis. Mint tea is prepared with fresh mint, sugar and water and has a distinct flavor that actually feels soothing.

15. It is common practice to eat with your hands

Another factor that illustrates a strong influence of Muslim traditions in Morocco is the practice to eat with their hands. The left hand is also considered unclean so eating with the right one is something that the locals commonly do.

10 Best Places for Tourists to See in Morocco

If you are looking for a virtual tour guide before visiting the beautiful country of Morocco, this video serves the purpose. It provides an essential roundup for the most fascinating sights in the nation that are not worth missing.

Summary

Morocco is one of the most fascinating and visually stunning places to visit in Africa. It offers diverse sights that contrast each other like the Sahara Desert on one border with a ski resort in the North. All in all, the country doesn’t disappoint no matter when you are planning to visit it.

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