Marrakech - Along the Ziz Valley crossing the city of Erfoud, one of the largest palm oases of Morocco located about 305 km from Ouarzazate in southeastern Morocco, visitors run across fossils of animals dating back to prehistoric times.
Marrakech – Along the Ziz Valley crossing the city of Erfoud, one of the largest palm oases of Morocco located about 305 km from Ouarzazate in southeastern Morocco, visitors run across fossils of animals dating back to prehistoric times.
Geologists and archeologists consider Erfoud the largest open-air museum of fossils in the world. It is enriched by a varied collection of extinct land and sea animals fossilized millions of years ago. Thus, inhabitantsLocal artisans further enhance the natural beauty of these specimens by turning them into artistic carvings.
A huge Alamonah (fossilized shell) catches the fancy of visitors as soon as they reach the entryway of Erfoud as guests pass by a local gallery, built in the traditional Moroccan manner and observe the artisans at their craft.
France24 quotes Madani, a tourist guide, saying “we bring rocks that contain these fossils from quarries in about 15 or 30 kilometers from here [Erfoud], when the rock masses reach the workshop, workers cut them into parts that artisans, later on, turn into fountains or sinks or tables.”
Abbadi Yousef, a craftsman in his 60s said to AFP, “this work does not rely on speed; it requires time, dexterity and patience.”
“The foreigners care of the fossils more than local people. Recently some Moroccan universities begin caring of our product, still foreign universities remain the most ones that care of them,” Abdul Salam Al Qasmi added.
“Overexploitation, many galleries and workshops and affordable prices for these objects, made ??this heritage endangered and exposed to extinction,” Lahcen Kabiri, a professor in the Department of Geology at the University of Al Rashidiya city (60 km from Erfoud) explained to France24.
Thus, Erfoud in the twenty-first century looks like a desert village, but this museum goes a long way towards narrating the history of a region which was once upon a time immersed under the sea.