Marrakech is full of beautiful corners to explore, but what makes the city really special is its souks. As you make your way through the alleys your eyes can feast on everything imaginable. From lamps to jewelry, leather bags, pickled lemons, heaps of spices, and so much more. There is surely something that you’ll want to take home.
But what intrigued us was the things most tourists seemed to have no interest in. These items are sold by nearly every spice vendor you will come across, but perhaps they are so unusual that you’re hesitant to look at them more closely. Let us break the barrier and introduce you to these 5 unusual souvenirs to bring home from Marrakech. And the best thing about it? With the right haggling skills, these should all cost you less than 3 bucks 🙂
The souks of Marrakech are full of vibrant streaks of colour. Why not pretty yourself up a little bit? Look for these small tagine-shaped terracotta figures. Known as Aker Fassi, this is a natural cosmetic which is generally made from dried poppy petals and pomegranate seeds. It is traditionally used by Berber women as lipstick or blush. All you have to do is to wetten your fingers a little bit and rub the surface of the figure. Then you can transfer the colour onto your face as desired. If you’re looking to keep your lips hydrated, you may mix it with a bit of argan oil. This might be of particular interest to all vegan travellers, as this is completely free of animal products (even though this occasionally referred to as “gazelle blood” ;))
If you have wandered any of the souks in Morocco, I’m sure you have come across the items in the first picture below. If you have ever wondered what they are, let us solve the mystery for you: toothpicks. This bushel is actually the dried inner part of the Ammi Visnaga plant. The plant was originally cultivated in the Nile Delta, but the toothpicks have been part of Berber culture for a while now.
Another item you might see is the Moroccan version of a foot scrubber. Are your feet cracked after pounding the pavement on your sightseeing rounds? The scrapers are made out of clay and the ornate design is also functional. So why not treat yourself to a mini spa treatment back at your riad? You may also rest assured that you have bought a completely natural souvenir. What else could you want? 🙂
The big white chunks in our first picture are very hard to overlook in the souks. Amidst all the shades of brown, the crisp colour definitely stands out. My grandmother used to have smaller pieces of this strange item in her medicine cabinet. If you think back, perhaps you have seen it before? The item in question is known as alum. Alum is a chemical compound, but as potassium alum it has several cosmetic applications. It occurs naturally in areas with volcanic activity. It can be used as a deodorant as it inhibits the growth of bacteria responsible for body odour. Alum is also commonly used as an aftershave as it acts as an astringent, or in other words it prevents bleeding from small shaving cuts.
Another way to get yourself smelling fresh and clean is to apply one of the many tiny colourful cubes sold in these spice shops. The may look like candy, but they are really blocks of perfume. They are made of natural resins, such as sandalwood, amber, musk, etc. You rub them against your wrists or behind your ear and you’re ready to go. And let me tell you, they smell heavenly! And another big plus is that they are free from any chemicals and from any animal products. Natural, vegan, and delicious.. You’ll never want anything else again!
Now, what do you think? Have you seen any of these items before? Which one is your favourite? Share your thoughts and pictures with us! Let’ stay in touch!