Morocco has activated the Noor I concentrated solar power (CSP) plant, the first part of a three-phase development in the Sahara Desert intended to supply more than a million homes with electricity by 2018. The 500,000 crescent-shaped solar mirrors of Noor I, which sits on thousands of acres of desert terrain near Ouarzazate, will generate up to 160[.....]
Moroccan fig trees are a part of Ahmed Hakam. Until he was nine years old, Ahmed never ventured outside of his birth village near the northern city of Ouezzane. He vividly remembers the local fig harvest, when, every year, he, his mother and scores of women and their children from nearby villages would gather to[.....]
Two cellphones. Three numbers. Thirty to forty phone calls a day. A road trip-based work life, which, for seven years, has been separated from luxuries like regular hours, weekends and sleep. Needless to say, Dr. Abderrahim Ouarghidi, 40, is a busy man. Officially the High Atlas Foundation’s director of programs in Marrakech, Ouarghidi, who focused[.....]
The High Atlas Foundation (HAF) joined in the only Moroccan festival solely dedicated to celebrating nuts, a three-day festival held last Friday in Asni, a small village at the foothills of the High Atlas Mountains, south of Marrakesh. The weekend of music and markets celebrates the Asni walnut processing plant, located nearby, where about 40 local women process[.....]
Mission Control for the Solar Impulse 2 is open for business, ready to guide the solar plane’s first flight around the world. Located in Monaco, the Mission Control Center (MCC) serves as project nerve-center, where a team of analysts and engineers will collect satellite-transmitted flight information to calculate and adjust the plane’s flight path. The plane will take off from[.....]
The toughest foot race on Earth kicks off on April 6th. It’s a grueling multi-stage adventure through formidable landscape in one of the world’s most inhospitable climates – the Sahara desert in southern Morocco. The annual Marathon des Sables, better known as MdS, is now in its 30th consecutive year. Ready to lace up?
The experimental flying lab better known as Solar Impulse 2 was launched today in Abu Dhabi. The groundbreaking airplane will circumnavigate the world flying both day and night without using a single drop of fossil fuel. Said co-pilot Betrand Piccard, “You can achieve miracles with renewable energy and clean technologies.”
Open a newspaper in the Middle East and expect to be whacked with some bad news. Still, I wasn’t prepared to read that – according to the World Misery Index (the name was a tip-off to what was coming) – Jordan (where I live) is the fourth most miserable country in the Arab world. Regionally, only[.....]
Holoscenes is a public art and performance installation that is a visual response to climate change. It’s centered around three people-sized aquariums that flood and drain and re-flood using powerful hydraulics that move 12 tons of water per minute.
Planking’s passé, horsemaning is history, and while selfies are thriving in Tunisia, a new photo trend has emerged with the winning combination of mashing the beauty of nature and people. “The Topless Tour” invites people everywhere to shed their shirts to “feel the freedom and share their beauty with the world”.
You might not want to tell your Moroccan grandmother, but technology first developed by the European Space Agency (ESA) that recycles urine and waste water is being implemented to provide clean drinking water for 1,200 university students.
Ever seen a spider do back flips? If you have arachnophobia, you might not want to, but for everyone else, the spinning Cebrennus rechenbergi desert spider in Morocco is quite a sight.
Over 400 senior executives will descend on Dubai this week to learn how best to develop and construct photovoltaic (PV) and concentrated solar thermal power (CSP) plants in the region’s top markets including Jordan, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Morocco.
London’s Victoria & Albert Museum just wrapped a stunning show of Arab-influenced artwork from ten contemporary artists selected as finalists for year’s Jameel Prize – 3. The work of French designer Florie Salnot is a standout as it quite literally creates something spectacular from near nothing.
Posterity may end up migrating from place to place to find food like our nomadic ancestors did if we don’t get a hold of desertification and climate change. To make that easier for desert dwellers, Stephane Malka and Yachar Bouhaya propose the Green Machine – a massive city on tank treads that fertilizes the Sahara[.....]
The companies Acciona and TSK will be meeting in Dubai to discuss the challenges and opportunities of constructing the Noor I CSP plant in Morocco. Meet the Acciona and TSK delegation as they attend the May 6 to 7 solar Menasol event in Dubai.
The train system runs like clockwork in Morocco. It’s fast, easy and safe. So we’re excited to see a new project that makes them sped up to the 21st century in design: Silvio d’Ascia Architecture teamed up with Omar Kobité Architecture & Eric Giudice Architects to design a modern high speed railway station for Kénitra.
With its oversized ears and soft brown eyes, the world’s smallest canid is also probably the cutest. But being adorable has turned out to be lethal for the Fennec Fox in Tunisia, where both locals and tourists are loving the species to death.
Maison Edouard François designed a colorful new mixed-used residential master plan for Casablanca, a cosmopolitan Moroccan city made famous by a movie with the same name.
If you thought that women from the Middle East and North Africa all wear drab black blankets over the head and stay home to cook dinner, these colorful photos by Moroccan-born artist Hassan Hajjaj might challenge that notion.
Africa’s largest silver mine has been operating in the Atlas mountains since 1969, but the Berber people living in the surrounding villages remain among the most poverty-stricken people in Morocco. Now Movement on the Road ’96 are living in an “occupation” camp to protest a silver mine’s water use and pollution.
The bone-dry plains of the Western Sahara may be no place to plant a garden, but their extreme solar irradiance values render them ideal for solar farming. Morocco has persuaded foreign investors to underwrite a $9 billion solar power project.
Jordan is cleaning up its act, at least in terms of laundry detergent, with a project entitled Concentrate for the Environment. The voluntary, industry-led initiative aims to reduce the negative environmental impact of powdered laundry soap. Seems the soap industry excels at greenwashing; this looks like corporate cost-shaving spun into environmental (fool’s) gold.
We love olive oil and hummus, but there is more to the Mediterranean diet than just food. UNESCO has recently added the rituals, knowledge, and skills associated with the food common to residents of Cyprus, Croatia, Spain, Greece, Italy, Morocco, and Portugal to its list of heritage “intangibles” that are worthy of protection.
A disused government-owned slaughterhouse in Casablanca that ceased to operate in 2000 now hosts art exhibitions, music shows, film screenings and other cultural activities run by La Fabrique Culturelle.
Historically, graffiti has been used to subvert authority or spread anti-social messages, but in Morocco, one municipality has turned the art form on its head by getting kids to “tag” pro-society slogans instead.
Who isn’t in love with Moroccan decor – the amazing colors and designs that enliven any room? Well, Justina Blakeney certainly is. So much so, she decked out an entire AirBnB popup home in Los Angeles with decor from our favorite North African destination.
David Chipperfield Architects have designed a resplendent new building in fascinating, frustrating Morocco, which will house the The Marrakech Museum for Photography and Visual Arts – the largest of its kind in the world.
President of Portugal Aníbal Cavaco Silva and the Aga Khan presented this year’s Aga Khan Awards for Architecture at the Castle of São Jorge in Lisbon on Friday.
Severed goat heads, bloody and besieged by flies, lay side-by-side on a butcher’s slab. A dozen lethal serpents, coiled and poised to strike, wove back and forth before a snake charmer in the Marrakech souk.
Twikes have been around for 15 years, but they have only now made their way to Morocco. A hybrid electric vehicle on three wheels, this ergonomic two seater can travel 10,000km on the equivalent of just 50 liters of fuel, and you can ride one yourself.
iLAND’s Solar Packs for Peace-keepers, Festivals, Eco-jocks and Alpha Wolves Who Travel with the Sun
Whether you travel alone or in packs, there is a new range of portable solar solutions by the Swiss company iLAND (said island) that will put crummy little solar panels on your backpack to shame: iLand has developed and now manufactures portable solar power packs for events with thousands and those small enough for one.
Morocco recently announced that it has pre-selected several solar power producers to build two additional concentrated solar power plants (CSP) in Ourzazate. Saudi Arabia’s Acwa Power, which is currently building a 160MW CSP plant in the same area, is among the firms picked to bid.
Beyond the Mediterranean coastline, northern Morocco’s mountains are pocked with small scale dope farms. The government has tried hard to eradicate them, to little effect, but one governor sees green in the “illicit” plants.
Aziza Chaouni Projects (ACP) was commissioned to upgrade the historic Dar Tazi compound in the medieval city of Fez in Morocco, and the completed transformation of an ancient storage space into a thriving Café Litérraire called Multiplex comprises the first of the project’s three phases.
Sometimes if you stand on the wrong corner of a busy street in Cairo, taxis will drive right on by, guilt-free, while in less populated cities throughout the Middle East and Africa, they are simply hard to find. Experimental taxi apps are in the works to ease the problem, but Brazil’s Easy Taxi heading our[.....]
The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) is pushing to revive a thirty year old plan to build a submarine rail link between Morocco and Spain, local Moroccan press reports.
It’s hard to monitor vessels that pollute out at sea, so five aircrafts from Algeria, France, Italy, Morocco and Spain got together to keep an eye on the Mediterranean Sea in a recent coordinated aerial surveillance program organized by the Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Response Center for the Mediterranean Sea (REMPEC).
More setbacks for Middle East solar or the only way a big dream can move ahead? DESERTEC has canceled its commercial partnership to build a solar super-grid with Dii GmbH, according to a press release issued by DESERTEC.
Islamic nations defer to astronomers in Saudi Arabia, Iran, or Turkey (depending on political affiliation) to determine when the new crescent moon harkens the Holy Month of Ramadan. Dependence on real-time moon-spotting means heightened anxiety. Rumors reel about Ramadan’s start, leaving the requisite housecleaning and food prep open-ended.
Marrakech Design is a Swedish design firm that has combined traditional Moroccan design with Scandinavian minimalism, and now the renowned architectural firm Claesson Koivisto Rune has joined the fray with three new tile designs that are bound to transform even the most dull home.
Wouldn’t it be great if recipes for high-energy, healthy snacks required no cooking or baking? Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret: date squares are made with neither a stove nor an oven. The lesson I’ve learned after watching this video demo: Never underestimate the power of a food processor.
Head to the heart of any Middle Eastern city and find a vibrant commercial hub, usually in the shadow of a major mosque – the bazaar. An Iranian bazaar with incredible history (Marco Polo shopped there!) may now win the 2013 Aga Khan Award for Architecture.
The nominees for the 2013 Aga Khan Award for Architecture were recently announced: 20 candidates – half hailing from the Middle East – all vying for a million dollar prize.
The Middle East and North Africa have faced a number of hurdles in getting what experts believe could be the greatest solar power grid in the world off the ground. From Morocco to Egypt to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), obstacles have continued to stand in the way of creating a grand solar project. Until now.
Salima Naji has been recognized by the Aga Khan Development Network for her efforts to revive a series of earth buildings in the lesser Atlas Mountains, Morocco.
Hotter than heck and bone dry, the Middle East and North Africa have an abundance of sun, and leaders across the region are striving to make the most of it. Five North African countries and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan will receive a total of $660 million from the $7.6 billion Climate Investment Fund (CIF)[.....]
You might not be able to strut around in a thong or sun tan topless in the Middle East (unless you are at the Naked Dead Sea), but there are many beautiful beaches in the region that just don’t get enough fanfare. That’s why we have rounded up ten of the most sublime sandy destinations.
We’ve posted about the Cafe Clock blog here, including the recipe for its famous camel burger. In this delightful cookbook, Stevens includes recipes from the Cafe Clock as well as some traditional Moroccan dishes that she discovered herself. Her warm, frank tone and the stories that introduce many of the recipes almost bring the reader[.....]
It’s Earth Day, which means you will see at least 100 stories in your Facebook and Twitter feeds that will list the many ways that you can become a better earthly citizen. And most of them are valid. Yet I yearned to find a more meaningful way to honor the day, so this year I[.....]
The world’s largest solar-powered ship has been out of commission for a while, but she’s back in business for her first 2013 Port of Call in Morocco. After leaving La Ciotat in France on 8 April, 2013, Planet Solar bobbed on the high seas for nine days. It was a challenging trip, according to Captain Gérard d’Aboville,[.....]
While the rest of the world is beguiled by Walmarts and Targets, Morocco’s King Mohammed VI has given a $39 million handicraft complex in Fez his royal seal of approval. Recognizing the value of authentic handmade crafts sought after by tourists in particular, not to mention the job opportunities that accompany such a vibrant cottage[.....]