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Fez Souk Visit
Jun 19 2024

Fez Souks: A Shopper’s Guide to Moroccan Treasures

Fez Souks: A Shopper's Guide to Moroccan Treasures

Fez, the cultural heart of Morocco, is a shopper’s paradise with its vibrant souks (markets) offering a dazzling array of handcrafted goods, spices, and traditional Moroccan souvenirs.
Navigating these bustling alleyways can be overwhelming, but with our insider tips, you’ll be able to explore the souks like a pro and bring home unique treasures that capture the essence of Fez.


Bargaining: The Art of the Deal


Bargaining is an integral part of the shopping experience in the Fez souks. It’s important to remember that it’s not a confrontation, but rather a friendly negotiation. Start by offering about half the asking price and be prepared to meet somewhere in the middle. Keep in mind that the initial price is often inflated to allow for bargaining. Be polite, smile, and enjoy the process – it’s all part of the Moroccan shopping experience.

Finding Unique Souvenirs


Moroccan Dishes and Souk shoes

Moroccan Souk Pattern Dishes and Colorful

The Fez souks are a treasure trove of unique souvenirs , from traditional Moroccan lanterns and handwoven rugs to intricate leather goods and aromatic spices. Some must-visit shops include:

  • Nejjarine Museum of Wooden Arts and Crafts: Explore the history of Moroccan woodworking and find beautifully carved furniture and decorative pieces.
  • Chouara Tannery: Witness the ancient process of leather tanning and browse the vibrant selection of leather bags, slippers, and jackets.
  • Souk el Attarine: Immerse yourself in the scents of exotic spices, fragrant oils, and traditional Moroccan tea.


Avoiding Tourist Traps

While the Fez souks offer an authentic shopping experience, it’s important to be aware of tourist traps. Be cautious of shops that aggressively approach you or offer “special deals.” Stick to shops recommended by your hotel or tour guide, and always ask about the origin and quality of the produts before making a purchase.

Navigating the Souks

The Fez souks can be a maze-like labyrinth, so it’s helpful to have a map or guide to navigate the alleyways. Keep an eye out for landmarks like the Kairaouine Mosque or the Bab Boujloud gate to orient yourself. If you get lost, don’t hesitate to ask for directions from the friendly locals.

Packing Tips


When shopping in the Fez souks, it’s important to pack light and leave room in your luggage for your purchases. Bring a sturdy tote bag or backpack to carry your items, and consider purchasing a small suitcase or duffel bag to check on your return flight.

What you must know about the Souks of Fez, Morocco


Fez souk

Do you need a guide for Fez?

While hiring a licensed guide can be helpful for navigating the maze-like souks of Fez, especially for first-time visitors, it is not absolutely necessary.

The medina is well-marked with color-coded signposts indicating directions to palaces, gardens, monuments, and souks. Exploring on your own allows you to discover hidden gems and immerse yourself in the local culture at your own pace. However, be cautious of unlicensed guides looking to make commissions.

How many days in Fez is enough?

Most travelers recommend spending at least 2-3 days in Fez to fully experience the city’s rich history, culture, and cuisine. This allows time to explore the medina, visit key sights like the Kairaouine Mosque and Bou Inania Medersa, and take day trips to nearby attractions. However, the more time you have, the more you can delve into the city’s hidden corners and immerse yourself in the local way of life.

How to spend 2 days in Fez?

With 2 days in Fez, you can hit the highlights while still having time to wander and get lost in the medina’s maze of souks. On day 1, explore the medina’s main sights like the Kairaouine Mosque, Bou Inania Medersa, and the Nejjarine Museum of Wooden Arts and Crafts.

Spend the afternoon getting lost in the souks, stopping for mint tea and people-watching. On day 2, take a day trip to the nearby ancient ruins of Volubilis or the holy town of Moulay Idriss. In the afternoon, visit the Chouara Tannery and shop for unique leather goods.

Fes souk food

Moroccan Dates from Fez in particular are renowned for their flavor


What to buy from Fes

The Fez souks offer a wide variety of traditional Moroccan handicrafts and souvenirs, from leather goods and pottery to spices and textiles. Some top picks include:

  • Leather bags, slippers, and jackets from the Chouara Tannery
  • Intricate lamps and metalwork from the coppersmiths’ souk
  • Aromatic spices and teas from the Attarine Souk
  • Vibrant rugs and textiles
  • Argan oil and other natural beauty products
  • Silver and gold jewelry from the Silver and Gold Souks

When shopping, be prepared to bargain and stick to reputable merchants. Enjoy the process and immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere of the souks.

All You Need to Discover Fez Souks and it’s Best Travel Gifts


The Fez souks offer a unique and unforgettable shopping experience, filled with vibrant colors, intoxicating scents, and friendly locals. By following our insider tips and embracing the art of bargaining, you’ll be able to navigate the souks with confidence and bring home treasures that will remind you of your Moroccan adventure for years to come.

If you’re looking for unique Travel Gifts and Moroccan souvenirs to add to your collection, be sure to check out the online shop at grandgoldman.com. They offer a curated selection of handcrafted goods, from traditional lanterns and rugs to leather goods and original pottery tableware, all sourced sustainably from local artisans.

Karen J – Author

Karen is a globetrotting content writer at Grand Goldman, with a passion for adventure and storytelling. She has explored over 50 countries on 6 continents, from the bustling streets of Tokyo to the remote beaches of Patagonia. When she’s not on the road, you can find her curled up with a good book, experimenting in the kitchen, or planning her next epic journey.

a poem about Moroccan women
May 09 2024

A poem about Moroccan women

A poem about Moroccan women

Moroccan Woman


In the bustling medina, where tales unwind, There walks a woman, graceful and refined. Wrapped in vibrant silks, colors that entwine, A Moroccan beauty, a jewel divine.

Her eyes, like desert stars in the night, Hold secrets of ancient sands, burning bright. With every glance, a story takes flight, Whispering of adventures, bold and spontaneous.

She moves with the rhythm of Marrakech’s beat, In her steps, the essence of bazaars and street. With hennaed hands, and laughter so sweet, She weaves dreams in the tapestry of each greet.

In the souks, where spices dance in the air, She’s the fragrance of jasmine, beyond compare. Her voice, like a song, floats everywhere, Echoing tales of love, loss, and despair.

With mint tea in hand, under the desert sun, She’s the embodiment of tradition, the chosen one. A keeper of culture, her legacy spun, In the threads of time, her story began.

Oh, Moroccan woman, embodiment of grace, In your presence, the world finds its place. Your spirit, like the Sahara’s endless embrace, Forever enchants, leaving hearts to chase.

Volubilis - Jewel of Roman Morocco
Feb 18 2024

Roman ruins in the kingdom of Morocco

Roman ruins in the kingdom of Morocco

Overview in history


The rich tapestry of Morocco’s history unfolds in layers, revealing a chapter influenced significantly by the Romans. North Africa served as a vital part of the Roman Empire, and Morocco, with its strategic location, witnessed the establishment of various Roman settlements. In this article, we will delve into the remnants of Roman presence in Morocco, exploring the archaeological treasures that stand as silent witnesses to an era marked by architectural grandeur, cultural exchange, and strategic significance.


The Roman Influence in North Africa:


The Roman Empire’s foray into North Africa began in the 2nd century BCE, gaining momentum as they expanded their reach across the Mediterranean. The region, known as Mauretania Tingitana, encompassed parts of modern-day Morocco. The Romans, recognizing the strategic importance of North Africa, established settlements, fortifications, and trade routes. This early interaction laid the foundation for a cultural fusion that would leave a lasting impact on the region.


Volubilis – Jewel of Roman Morocco:


Among the most iconic Roman ruins in Morocco is the ancient city of Volubilis, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Nestled in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, Volubilis was a thriving Roman city known for its well-preserved mosaics, triumphal arches, and grand villas. Dating back to the 3rd century BCE, Volubilis offers a glimpse into daily life during the Roman era and stands as a testament to the architectural prowess of the time.




Lixus – An Ancient Trading Hub:


Lixus, situated along the Atlantic coast, served as a vital Roman trading post. Established around the 7th century BCE, Lixus flourished as a center for the exchange of goods, connecting the Roman Empire to the riches of North Africa. The archaeological site reveals the remains of Roman baths, temples, and an amphitheater, underscoring the significance of Lixus in facilitating economic and cultural ties between Rome and the indigenous Berber populations.


Lixus - An Ancient Trading Hub


Chellah – Where Roman and Islamic Influences Collide:


Chellah, located near Morocco’s capital, Rabat, represents a unique blend of Roman and Islamic influences. Originally a Roman settlement called Sala Colonia, Chellah transformed over the centuries into a medieval Islamic necropolis. The site showcases Roman ruins alongside Islamic architecture, creating a fascinating juxtaposition of two distinct historical periods. The remnants of Roman walls and structures provide a glimpse into Chellah’s multifaceted history.


Roman Ruins Chellah Rabat Morocco


Thamusida and Banasa – Lesser-Known Marvels:


While Volubilis, Lixus, and Chellah take the spotlight, Morocco boasts several lesser-known Roman ruins that contribute to the mosaic of its historical narrative. Thamusida, an archaeological site near Kenitra, reveals Roman baths, temples, and residential areas. Banasa, another Roman city, features well-preserved structures such as an arch, forum, and thermal baths. Exploring these lesser-known sites provides a more comprehensive understanding of the Roman legacy in Morocco.


Romans ruins, the heritage of Morocco


The Roman ruins scattered across Morocco serve as portals to an era where cultural exchange, trade, and architectural brilliance flourished. From the majestic city of Volubilis to the coastal hub of Lixus, each archaeological site tells a unique story of the Roman presence in North Africa. As we wander through these remnants, we are transported back in time, witnessing the echoes of an ancient civilization that left an indelible mark on the landscapes and cultures of Morocco. The preservation and exploration of these Roman ruins not only connect us to the past but also contribute to the collective heritage of Morocco, inviting us to unravel the layers of history that shape the nation’s identity.

Nov 19 2021


Moroccan cakes and pastries

The Moroccan cuisine is among the best in the world; it offers a wide variety of dishes, soliciting smell, sight and taste. In this blog we will try to focus more on The Moroccan pastry which brings together all traditional pastries from The Moroccan cuisine.

There is such a greatness floating around the Moroccan pastry covering each kind from all the corners of the country. The moment you get to taste one of them you get the feeling of gourmet bites, with subtle flavors, handcrafted with quality products. Confections from the best ingredients that make the richness of these oriental pastries: bursts of almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, pine nuts, rose water, orange blossom … Scents and textures cleverly juxtaposed for you offering a unique tasting.

There is something for all tastes and these Moroccan pastries will leave you dreamy especially when enjoyed around a good cup of mint tea.

The Moroccan pastry offers a great diversity of small nibble cookies, rather cupcakes than big cakes.

If you go to Morocco, know that these Moroccan goodies are often bought by weight. Depending on the city and the shop, count between 2$ per kg for the cheapest (chebakia for example) and up to 12$ per kg for the most expensive one (Moroccan pastries based on almonds are the most expensive, the price of the almond justifies the higher price).


Examples of Moroccan Pastries



This type is made from dough made from wheat flour. Fried in oil, it is then covered with honey and sprinkled with sesame seeds. It is certainly the least expensive Moroccan pastry. It is very common in Morocco and certainly the most widespread.

If you visit Morocco during the month of Ramadan (The fasting period of the year) you will notice that each Moroccan house will carry a variety of this kind of pastry representing a solid dish for breaking the fasting next to a plate of dates and “The Harira soup” which we will go through in one of our future blogs.


Sweet Fekkas with almonds and anise


Crunchy biscuit with sanded texture made with almonds, sesame seeds and anise.

The “Fekkas” in Moroccan pastry means a precooked biscuit, cut into thin slices and grilled in the oven.

Its sandy texture, slightly aniseed, adorned with its amber color and enhanced with golden sesame seeds promises a tasting in the pure Moroccan tradition.




A classic must of fine Moroccan pastry.

Triangles with almonds and honey, scented with orange blossom and covered with thin leaves of pastilla

“Briwatte” in Moroccan means “little envelope”. These are almonds delicately scented with orange blossom, covered with a very fine sheet of pastilla sprinkled with hot honey and orange blossom after cooking. The Briwattes can be of different shapes: triangular, rectangular or in the form of cigars.


Almonds Ghriba


Soft and fluffy macaron made from almonds and lemon zest.

It is said that the ghriba is the ancestor of the French almond macaroon. Lightly scented by lemon zest, its texture is very soft, finely cracked under its coat of icing sugar.

It is one of the classics of Moroccan pastry. With the gazelle horn and the honey briwatte, they form a trio that can always be found on traditional party tables.


Butter Ghriba 


Shortbread gourmet butter, aerial and melting

Often compared to Spanish montécao, the butter Ghriba is ideal to accompany a coffee. Sablé is very light, melting at will, it is noticeable by its gourmet perfume with butter. Once tasted, it is even difficult to stop!


Ghriba Classic gazelle horn (kaab ghezal)

Classic gazelle horn (kaab ghezal)


This soft and mellow jewel represents a symbol of traditional Moroccan pastry.

Symbol of the alliance between tradition and gluttony, these gazelle horns were created from a mix of spices, Arabic gum, roasted almonds and the natural essence of orange blossom.

The world of Moroccan pastry is vast and extremely rich. It is almost impossible to go through each kind but we will be open to your requests and suggestions so please feel free to share your comments with us and ask for more information in case it’s needed.

Sports in Morocco
Jul 28 2021

The diversity of Sports in Morocco

The diversity of Sports in Morocco

Morocco is doing a lot to keep up with the increasing interest in activity and sporting holidays. In addition to its magnificent trekking opportunities, the country also offers impressive golf and tennis facilities, a couple of ski resorts (plus some adventurous off-piste skiing) and excellent fishing. The national sporting obsession, however, is football; enthusiasts can join in any number of beach kick-about games or watch local league and cup matches.



Soccer is important in Morocco and the country is a growing force. The national side has made the World Cup on four different occasions and was among the African nations bidding to host the tournament in 2010. Moroccan teams have also been extremely successful in African club competitions. This is quite impressive when you consider that most Moroccan football players develop their skills in unstructured kick rounds on the beach, street or patches of wasteland.

Water sports and swimming

Morocco offers excellent water sports such as sailing, yachting, windsurfing, surfing, swimming, White Water River rafting, kayaking and diving.


Golf is probably the most important sport in Morocco. The country has an international-level course at Rabat and many other 18-hole golf courses.


Morocco doesn’t immediately spring to mind as a skiing destination, but the High Atlas Mountains are reliably snow-covered from late January to early April. The Middle Atlas also occasionally has sufficient snow for skiing.



Trekking is one of the best things Morocco has to offer. Morocco boasts one of the most rewarding mountain ranges in the world – and one of the least spoilt. A number of long-distance Atlas routes can be followed. One can even do a “Grand Traverse” of the full range. However most people limit themselves to shorter treks around the Djebel Toubkal area.


Horse riding and camel rides are very popular in Morocco. There are many hotels that offer guided treks through the Atlas Mountains. You should bring your own helmet though.


The country features an immense stretch of Atlantic and a small stretch of Mediterranean coastline, with great opportunities to arrange boat trips almost anywhere. Inland, the Middle Atlas shelters beautiful lakes and rivers, many of them well stocked with trout.

Jul 28 2021

The Music within Morocco

The Music within Morocco

From the ancient folk pieces of the Berber mountain communities, to the Arab-Andalusian music of the cities, to the roots-fusion that you’ll hear blaring from taxi radios and café ghetto blasters, music is the ultimate expression of Morocco’s culture.

Berber Music

The Berber are the first known inhabitants of Africa’s north-western corner. Over centuries they

Monopolized the Saharan trade in salt, gold and slaves and spread their culture throughout the region. There are three main categories of Berber music; village, ritual and professional music.

In a typical scene of village music-making, an entire community may gather in the open air to sing and dance in a large ring around an ensemble of drum (bendir) and flute (nay).

The best-known dances are the Ahouache and the Ahidus. Over the past twenty years several masters of bumzdi and Ahouache have become very well known nationwide.

Berber ritual music often features drums and rhythmic hand clapping. It is used in the rites of the agricultural calendar – such as moussems – as well as on occasions such as marriage. Ritual music is also performed to help deal with evil spirits.

In the Atlas Mountains professions troupes of musicians, called imdyazn, travel during summer and perform in village squares and at weekly souks. A leader improvises poems telling of current affairs. Drum and clarinet accompany the singer. The clarinetist also acts as the ensembles’ clown.

Andalous Music

Morocco’s Arab-Andalusian classical tradition evolved 1000 years ago in Moorish Spain and can be heard, with variations, throughout North Africa. Its invention is credited to Ziryab, whose greatest innovation was the classical suite nuba, which forms the basis of al-ala (Andalous music). Although somewhat elite, Andalou music is still very much alive and is regularly performed on national TV.


Melhoun is a semi-classical sung poetry associated with artisans and traders. It makes use of the same modes as al-ala orchestras, but is more lively and danceable. A Melhoun suite consists of two parts:a-metrical Taqusim played on oud or violin, which introduces the mode, and the Qassida, sung poems with words of folk or mystical poetry, or nonsense lines. The Qassida has three parts: al aqsam (verses that are sung solo), al-harba (chorus refrains) and al-drîdka (a chorus of accelerating tempo). The melhoun orchestra generally consists of oud, kamenjah, swisen (a small, high-pitched folk lute), the Hadjouj (a bass swisen), taarija, darbuka and Handwa (small brass cymbals), plus a number of singers.

Sufi Music

Sufism is a mystical branch of Islam. The Sufi brotherhoods or tarikas, use the hadra – a private ritual of music and dance – as a means of getting closer to Allah. Sufi music can also be heard at moussem (festivals devoted to the memory of a holy man), and some brotherhoods play for alms in households that want to gain favor with their patron saint.

Gnawa Music 

The Gnawa are descendants of slaves brought across the Sahara by the Arabs, who claim spiritual descent from Sidi Bilal, the first muezzin. Their musical rites (lilas), in which a leader plays the gimbri/sentir (long-necked lute) and sings, accompanied by Garagb (metal castanets), last all night and are performed for the purpose of spiritual and physical healing. The music, which has sub-Saharan origins, is remarkably adaptable, having been blended with jazz, rock, funk, hip-hop and drum & bass

Chaabi and Fusion

The oldest form of chaabi  is Al’aita, the music of rural communities on the Atlantic coast. It is performed during private and public celebrations and is usually sung in Darija (Moroccan colloquial Arabic), telling of love, loss, lust and daily life.

Alaita has two parts. The Lafrash is a slow instrumental prelude (usually on violin) followed by several verses sung in free time. Then comes the Lahsab, a syncopated dance that lasts as long as the audience desires. Traditionally it uses a male or female lead singer, violin, some percussion and backing vocals, but today a “synthetic” version is popular, that adds keyboards, electric guitars and drum machines to the mix.

Jul 28 2021

The World of Moroccan Cuisine

The World of Moroccan Cuisine

Morocco, unlike most other African countries, produces all the food it needs to feed its people. Its many home-grown fruits and vegetables include oranges, melons, tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, and potatoes. Five more native products that are especially important in Moroccan cooking are lemons, olives, figs, dates, and almonds. Located on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, the country is rich in fish and seafood. Beef is not plentiful, so meals are usually built around lamb or poultry.


Flat, round Moroccan bread is eaten at every meal. The Moroccan national dish is the tajine, a lamb or poultry stew. Other common ingredients may include almonds, hard-boiled eggs, prunes, lemons, tomatoes, and other vegetables. The tajine, like other Moroccan dishes, is known for its distinctive flavoring, which comes from spices including saffron, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, ginger, and ground red pepper. The Tajines name is taken from the distinctive earthenware dish with a cone-shaped top in which it is cooked and served. Another Moroccan dietary staple is couscous, made from fine grains of a wheat product called semolina. It is served many different ways, with vegetables, meat, or seafood.

Sweets play a very important role in the Moroccan diet. Every household has a supply of homemade sweet desserts made from almonds, honey, and other ingredients. Mint tea is served with every meal in Morocco. It is sweetened while it is still in the pot.

Moroccans eat their meals at low round tables, sitting on cushions on the floor. They eat with their hands instead of silverware, using the thumb and first two fingers of their right hands. They also use pieces of bread to soak up sauces and carry food to the mouth. Small warmed, damp towels are passed around before the meal to make sure everyone’s hands are clean. Most meals consist of a single main dish, often a stew, a couscous dish, or a hearty soup. It is served with bread, salad, cold vegetables, and couscous or rice on the side. A typical breakfast might include bissara (dried fava beans stewed with cumin and paprika), beghrir (pancakes), and bread. Two breakfast favorites that may sound exotic to Westerners are lambs heads and calves feet.

Although Moroccans love sweets, they are usually saved for special occasions. With everyday meals, the most common dessert is fresh fruit.

The sweetened mint tea that comes with every meal is served in a special way. It is brewed in a silver teapot and served in small glasses. When the tea is poured, the pot is held high above the glasses to let air mix with the tea. Tea is served not only at home but also in public places. In stores, merchants often offer tea to their customers.


Morocco is famous for the wide range of delicious foods sold by its many street vendors. These include soup, shish kebab, roasted chickpeas, and salads. Both full meals and light snacks are sold. A favorite purchase is sugared doughnuts tied together on a string to carry home.

Jul 28 2021

Moroccan History, a brief story

The brief history of Morocco.

The sultan Muhammad V, ruling his newly independent nation, proclaims his intention of turning it into a constitutional monarchy. His first act in this direction is to transform himself into a monarch. He assumes in 1957 the title of king.

Government elections eventually take place in 1960, but in their wake the king himself takes the role of prime minister with his heir, crown prince Hassan, as his deputy. The promised constitution is postponed until 1962, but by then Muhammad V has died. He was succeeded in 1961 by his son, as King Hassan II.

For nearly forty years Hassan ruled Morocco, often with disregard for the civil rights of political opponents but in broad terms successfully – surviving attempted coups (the most serious in 1971) and periodic riots (particularly in Casablanca in 1981). There are several attempts at constitutional reform, and elections to parliament become a regular feature of Moroccan life. But real power remains with the king until his death in 1999, when he is succeeded by his son as Muhammad VI.

Internationally the main feature of Hassan’s reign is territorial disputes with Morocco’s immediate neighbors, Algeria and Mauritania.

The border with Algeria has been redrawn, to Morocco’s disadvantage, during the French colonial period. Hassan’s rejection of the existing border is of economic importance, since the disputed region is rich in iron ore. In 1970 a compromise was reached whereby the ore is exploited by both nations in partnership.

The other dispute, in the south, is of greater significance and longer duration. It concerns Mauritania and the Western Sahara. In the 1960s Hassan claimed that Morocco has a historic right to Mauritania itself. But from 1969 he changed tack and concentrated his energies on winning the Western Sahara.

the Ramparts of Fes Medina
Jul 26 2021

Hiring a guide in Fez

Hiring your private tour guide in Fez

The old Medina of Fez is the cultural and spiritual heart of Morocco. It is also the last fully intact Medina (walled city) in the world. With more than 9,000 lanes and alleys, it can be daunting for first time visitors and it is easy to miss the most important sites.

Many visitors to Fez do not spend enough days in the Medina to get to thoroughly explore all the city has to offer, but hiring a good guide will ensure that you see the essentials.

Having a good guide in Fez  is like having the keys to the city as you explore places such as the souks of Fes al Bali, the Attarine Medersa, Quaraouiyine Mosque, Medersa Bou Inania, the Chaouwara Tannery, the old Jewish Quarter (or Mellah). It is not necessary to always go to a fancy restaurant as your guide can show you places with delicious street food. For a great view of the Medina you can visit the Merinid Tombs and to chill out the beautiful Jnan Sbil Gardens.

It is important to let your guide know the things you are most interested in. It is possible to concentrate on architecture, artisan craftsmanship, history, textiles, design, food, music, Amazigh (Berber) culture, the fascinating Sufi culture or a general mixture of everything.

A good licenced guide will not only have the language skills to communicate well, but should have a deep knowledge of the history and culture. Beneath the surface Fez has many stories and a good guide will take pride in sharing them with you.

After a tour with your guide you will be ready to set out on your own, exploring one of the planet’s most fascinating cities where occasionally getting lost is part of the fun!

Booking a guided tour of Fez medina is the best way to discover, Plan your visit in advance to make the most of it.

henna tattoo in fez
Jul 15 2021

Henna, Morocco’s Long-Lasting Sacred Art

Henna Tattoos in Morocco

Originally, Henna is the Persian name for a flowering plant called Lawsonia inermis also known as the mignonette tree and the Egyptian privet, and which has dark green leaves, sweet smell, and grows up to ten feet.

The plant can be found in regions of dry climates like some parts of Africa, Asia and Australia, and each has been said to have different properties, especially in term of color.

The art of henna has been traditionally practiced solely by women, who dye some parts of their bodies not only for aesthetic capacities, but also to call on blessing, fortune, and prosperity, it is like a grace upon the skin.


It is very difficult to trace back the origins of Henna, but some findings show that it was used by the Egyptians, Jews, Greeks, Romans, Persians, and Indians. And each of these cultures used the plant for a different purpose.

Some evidences of what we presume to be Henna were found on the hands of some Egyptian mummies and which is considered to be part of the mummification process, and there are some good evidences that allude to that the henna plant was gifted by the Egypt to India and what explains the presence of the plant in this part of the world.

The henna plant is also connected to Hebrews and is believed to be the Camphire; a substance referred to in the Bible.

Henna presence in Morocco 

Henna Tattoo service

The existence of Henna has great significance in Muslim history, Muslim women stain their hands and feet, this custom is believed to be adopted during the Mogul Era, while the presence of Henna in Morocco is believed to be a result of the Berbers immigration to the region, and by the invasion of Arabs many Berber cultural rites were integrated to their customs, Notably Henna, the latter used for decoration as an alternative of tattoos which are considered forbidden in Islam.


Basically, the Henna is used for cosmetic capacities; to color hair or nails, but Medical and decorative reasons can also be added to its various functions.


Henna is believed to be a good hair conditioner that strengthens and binds keratin; a key material structure making up hair and nails, as it is often used to turn white or grey hair into darker color.

In addition to these cosmetic capacities, Henna is considered effective against lice, dandruff, and hair loss, and its cooling properties make it good as a deodorant to mask the smell of sweat.


Aside from the multiple aesthetic properties of Henna, it also serves many Medical functions. In ancient Egypt Henna played a key role in treating infections and inflammation, and stopping diarrhea, as it’s been considered effective against snakes and scorpion stings.

Applying Henna paste on head or hands is believed to treat fever and its cooling effects would bring the temperature down, while gargling an extract of boiled henna leaves is perfect to heal sore throat, and drinking it would be great for some stomach issues.


For centuries Henna has been present in almost all special occasions and occupied a major part ceremonially and ritually, especially in Muslim cultures, the application of Henna on women hands and feet is believed to show up their sexuality and protect them from the evil eye. Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha, and Mawlid are all Muslim festivities that witness importat presence of Henna on women and children hands.

Henna preparation process

First make sure that your hands, feet or whatever part of body you would like to dye, is well moisturized and exfoliated, there are a variety of exfoliation products that you can find here in Morocco.

Ps: If you are willing to dye your hands or feet please make sure to get all the housework done before starting the staining process, because you won’t be able to do so until the following day.


Preparing the paste 

The process of preparing the Henna paste is very simple, it may vary from one culture to another, but in its core still the same, after crushing the Henna leaves and turn them into a powder put the latter in a bowl and the liquid in another bowel, the liquid can be lemon juice, tea brew, or simply water; preferably bottled water, then smoothly add the powder to the liquid using one spoon while blending using another spoon, till the paste become as thick as a frosting cake.

When the right thickness and consistency is reached let the Henna paste sit in a warm place for at least two hours.

The painting part

henna Tatto Morocco

Henna painting is as fun and pleasant as decorating a cake, first you need to make sure that the person is about to be adorned is well positioned, Moroccan Henna artists suggest using pillows or a table to get the best fixed and steady position.

While designing, make sure that the lines you are creating are as thin as possible, the thinner the lines are, the more beautiful the design will be, and all this come with practice, as I mentioned above it is just like decorating a cake, this means your palm shouldn’t touch the cake and this makes it quite difficult for beginners.

Moroccan henna traditional artists often use syringes as a means of henna application, but there are other elements that one can use, namely a matchstick, needle, toothpick, or twig…

When the staining process is done let the Henna on the skin for at least 24 hours, the more the henna remains on the skin, the more deeper and lasting the color will be, before starting the staining process make sure that you already have prepared a mixture of lemon juice and sugar, once the henna start to dry apply this mixture on it using a ball of cotton, the lemon will help in making the color deeper, while the sugar will act as a fixative that stop the henna paste from flaking off.

In the Morccan way, cloves, fresh ginger, pepper, and freshly minced garlic are other ingredients that can be added to the lemon and sugar mixture, this recipe is believed to facilitate the process of peeling the henna off of the skin if wrapped and left overnight.


Henna shapes and designs

The designs and shapes vary from one culture to another and each pattern symbolizes a specific non-verbal belief, and because of the fact that the designs’ shapes and patterns are limitless, we are going to have a short insight into the traditional Moroccan ones.

Most Moroccan patterns are inspired by Berber culture, common shapes are the khamisa (Fatima’s Hand), an eye, or diamond shapes, which are believed to be a way of guarding against evil eye and ill fortune.

Other Moroccan designs incorporate geometric shapes like squares, circles, triangles and rectangles, floral patterns, plants and linear designs, plain but carrying powerful symbolism and to the point considered to be an integral part of the Moroccan culture.

Henna as way to express joy and happiness

Henna at weddings

In Morocco, the wedding celebrations basically last for three days, this may vary from one part to another, in the southern region for instance this may last for more than seven days, in either part one significant day is the Henna night, whereby the bride get her hands and feet dyed with henna in her house in a ceremonial atmosphere, while the bride get stained the family sing, dance on some folk music, and take picture with the bride and with each other.


One other event whereby henna is present is when a male get circumcised, circumcision, the excision of penile foreskin, is a must-do stage in every Muslim male, therefore, in addition to the other ceremonial activities like scarifying a sheep and the boy’s head shaving, the boy and some of his close family get their hands adorned with Henna in a ceremonial event punctuated with feasting, parties and celebrations.


Religious festivities are other ceremonial events that witness a great presence of Henna, Eid Al-Adha for instance, whereby all Muslims around the world scarify a sheep following the mores of the prophet Ibrahim as a personal willingness to be obedient to the mighty Allah (God), the sheep and the people get adorned with henna in a very joyful atmosphere.