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Here are a few words I found helpful to know while traveling around Morocco! While it’s always helpful to know a few local terms, don’t worry if you can’t remember them all because English is widely spoken.
Berber – The original inhabitants of North Africa who make up 65% of the Moroccan population. They’re nomads and are most present in the mountains and desert of the country. They have their own language and flag and aren’t as religious as the European and Arab populations within the major cities (Marrakech, Fes, Casablanca).
This is a Berber nomad family currently living in a cave out in the mountain valleys that we were fortunate enough to spend time with.
Dar – “House” in Arabic. Our Airbnb in Fes, for example, was called Dar Sienna (below)
Djellaba – The long loose fitting dress/robe that locals wear. I bought this one – aren’t the colors prett
Hammam – Traditional Islamic hot steam bath. The locals partake in public hammams, I recommend a private hammam for a more intimate, spa-like experience at a hotel. More about my private experience (which was great!) is here
“La Choukran” – “No thank you” in Arabic. Comes in handy in the souks!
Kasbah – A group of houses that functioned as a fort in the medieval times
Marhaba – “Welcome” in Arabic
Medina – The “old city” that’s enclosed by a fortified wall to protect from invaders in medieval times. It’s very densely filled with markets, hotels (riads), houses (dars), mosques and people still live in them. We stayed in the medinas in both Marrakech and Fes
Mint Tea – Green tea made with mint leaves and lots of sugar. It’s offered everywhere you go in Morocco, even small shops, and it’s incredibly tasty
Riad – Traditional house that has an interior courtyard. They’re non-descript from the outside, because the culture is not to expose wealth on the exterior. But once you step inside, you’re transported into a completely different world. Here’s a quick tour and review of my riad (which was an Airbnb) from Marrakech. This is a pic from the top floor of my Marrakech riad, which overlooks the medina
Souks – Markets/bazaars. They are typically found in the medinas
Tagine – A popular meat and veggie stew that’s named after the ceramic pot that it’s made in. Let me tell you – DELICIOUS!! ….and I’m an incredibly picky and finicky eater