Morocco Tours by Erlebnis Tours Maroc




ADHAN the call to prayer

AGADIR fortified granary

AGDAL garden or park containing a pool


AN spring

AT tribe (literally, "sons of"); also beni

ALAOUITE ruling Moroccan dynasty from the 17th century to the present king, Mohammed VI

ALMOHAD the greatest of the medieval dynasties, ruled Morocco (and much of Spain) from c.1147 until the rise to power of the Merenids c.1224

ALMORAVIDS dynasty that preceded the Almohads, from c.1060 to c.1147

ARABESQUE geometrical decoration or calligraphy

ASSIF river (often seasonal) in Berber

BAB gate or door

BABOUCHES slippers (usually yellow)

BALI (or QDIM ) old

BARAKA sanctity or blessing, obtained through saints or marabouts (holy people)

BARBARY European term for North Africa in the 16th to 19th centuries

BENI tribe (as At )

BERBERS native inhabitants of Morocco and still the majority of the population

BLED countryside, or literally "land"; BLED ES MAKHZEN - governed lands; BLED ES SIBA - land outside government control

BORDJ fort

CHLEUH southern Berber from the High or Anti-Atlas or plains

DAR house or palace; DAR EL MAKHZEN royal palace


DJEBEL, JEBEL mountain peak or ridge; a DJEBALI is someone from the mountains; the DJEBALA are the main tribe of the Western Rif


DJELLABA wool or cotton hooded outer garment

DJEMAA, JAMAA mosque, or Friday (the main day of worship)

ERG sand dune

FAKIR Koranic schoolteacher or lawyer, or just an educated man

FANTASIA display of horsemanship performed at larger festivals or moussems

FASSI inhabitant of Fez

FONDOUK inn and storehouse, known as a caravanserai in the eastern part of the Arab world

GANDOURA man's cotton garment (male equivalent of a kaftan); also known as a fokia

GHARB coastal plain between Larache and Kenitra

GNAOUA itinerant musician, belonging to the Sufi brotherhood and of West African origin (from the same root as Guinea)

HADJ pilgrimage to Mecca

HAMMADA stony desert of the sub-Sahara

HAMMAM Turkish-style steam bath

IDRISSID first Arab dynasty of Morocco - named after its founder, Moulay Idriss

IMAM prayer leader and elder of mosque

JOUTIA flea market

KASBAH palace centre and/or fortress of an Arab town; also used to mean a walled residential quarter around the Medina (eg Fez), or the citadel (eg Tangier and in Tunisia), or the whole medina (eg Algiers). In the south of Morocco, it is a feudal family castle - and it's the root of the Spanish alcazar .

KIF marijuana, cannabis

KOUBBA dome; small marabout tomb

KSAR, KSOUR (pl.) village or tribal stronghold in the south

LALLA "madam", also a saint.


MAGHREB "West" in Arabic, used for Morocco and the North African countries

MAKHZEN government

MARABOUT holy man, and by extension his place of burial. These tombs, usually whitewashed domes, play an important role in the religion of country areas

MECHOUAR assembly place, court of judgement

MEDERSA student residence and, in part, a teaching annexe for the old mosque universities

MEDINA literally "city", now used for the original Arab part of any Moroccan town.

MELLAH Jewish quarter

MERENIDS Berber dynasty from eastern plains who ruled from the 13th to 15th centuries

MIHRAB niche indicating the direction of Mecca (and for prayer)

MINARET tower attached to a mosque, used for call to prayer

MINZAH pavilion in a (usually palace) garden

MOULAY descendant of the Prophet Muhammad, a claim and title adopted by most Moroccan sultans

MOULOUD festival and birthday of the Prophet

MOUSSEM pilgrimage-festival

MSALLA prayer area

MUEZZIN, MUEDDIN singer who calls the faithful to prayer

NAZARENE, NSRANI Christian, or, more loosely, a European.

OUED river; can be seasonal or even dry on a permanent basis (a wadi in its anglicised form).

PIS mud and rubble building material

PISTE unsurfaced road or track, suitable for 4x4 vehicles.

PROTECTORATE period of French and Spanish colonial occupation (1912-56)

QAHOUAJI caf patron

RAMADAN month of fasting

RAS source or head

RAS EL MA water source

RIAD central courtyard within a home, open to the sky

RIBAT monastic fortress

SAADIAN southern dynasty from Dra Valley, who ruled Morocco during the 15th century

SEBGHA lake or lagoon

SHEIKH leader of religious brotherhood

SIDI, SI respectful title used for any man, like "Sir" or "Mister", also a saint

SOUK market, or market quarter

TABIA mud building material, as pis

TIGHREMT similar to an agadir - fortified Berber home and storage place

TOUAREG nomadic Berber tribesmen of the disputed Western Sahara, fancifully known as "Blue Men" because of the blue dye of their cloaks (which gives a slight tinge to their skin)

TIZI mountain pass; as col in French

ZAOUIA sanctuary established around a marabout tomb; seminary-type base for religious brotherhood

ZELLIJ geometrical mosaic tilework


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