festival of almond flowers in tafraoute
Tafraut is a small provincial town in the south of Morocco in the Anti-Atlas Mountains. The town is stunningly picturesque, nestled in the beautiful Ameln Valley, surrounded by pink granite mountains. People here are not spoiled by mass tourism, friendly and helpful.
The extraordinary earthen houses of Tafraut merge harmoniously with the surrounding mountains into one single organism. The view of the city from the side is fascinating and cannot be erased from my memory, I will definitely come back here someday!
Tafraut has no outstanding historical or architectural monuments, but is outstanding in its own right against a backdrop of stunning mountain scenery.
The town is surrounded by amazing pink granite #rocks, forming bizarre rocky ledges covered with almond and argan trees. Trees also surround the small villages near Tafraut. Here you can feel the calm and serenity of the Moroccan countryside.
It’s nice to walk around the area, climb the high #mountains and admire the mind-blowing scenery. It’s a place for outdoor activities. Bicycles, quad bikes, mountain hikes…. lovers of such recreation should come here by all means. And there is also an opportunity to go to the Sahara by jeep. For the photographer, these places are heaven on earth, however, this applies to the whole country, not just to Tafraut!
Here you can immerse yourself in a fantastic atmosphere during the almond blossom. The trees begin to bloom in February and completely transform the desert areas around Tafraut and the clay walls of its houses. A pale pink haze envelops the city and surrounding area.
Tourists from all over the world, and Moroccans themselves from all over the country, come here during the almond blossom period. In February, it looks like an artist’s palette with endless shades of pink beauty.
People try to enjoy every moment of this unusual time. Festive performances, street musicians and dancers perform everywhere. This festival gives tourists a lot of vivid impressions and insights into Moroccan culture, life, traditions and superstitions of local residents.
A long time ago the place of Tufraut was just a market. People from all over the area came here once a week to sell their goods and buy provisions. Today it is a vibrant city with schools, banks, hospitals, and factories. The city lives on selling almonds, argan oil and leather goods.
The traditional Moroccan Tafraut slippers, the bright babushi, are especially appreciated. A classic of the genre – bright color, sharp nose, and a bent inward heel. They are made in all colors and shades, but yellow is usually sewn for men and red for women. This is something that must be brought from Morocco. In Morocco, by the way, leather goods are of very good quality.
There is also a modern art object in the vicinity, the Valley of Multicolored Stones. Belgian artist Jean Veram has painted huge cobblestones in the outskirts of the city, finding the desert landscapes a bit hollow. Against the background of red-brown mountains and soil, the colored stones look very unusual.
Almond blossoms in Cyprus are a special period for the islanders. It is almost impossible to describe this airy beauty of delicate pink color, it is better to see everything with your own eyes.
And now is the right time, because in Cyprus is in the middle of a magical and fantastically beautiful time of almond blossoms.
And for this you don’t even have to travel far! Just 25km from Limassol, Limnatis is an almond paradise in the beautiful mountain village of Limnatis.
However, it is not the ponds that make the village famous, but the groves of almond trees that surround it. Despite the fact that the village of Limnatis has no more than 400 inhabitants, it is quite crowded in the spring – tourists come here to admire the local beauty.
Limnatis has the highest concentration of almond orchards in Cyprus. So literally the whole area around is shrouded in a delicate pink haze of blooming almond trees, which at times is simply breathtaking.
Believe me, already driving up to the village and admiring through the car window on the blooming valley and the mountains, the mood becomes rapturous with unearthly beauty.
And opening the doors of your car you will feel an extraordinary aroma – a wonderful, subtle and attractive, similar to the smell of roses – it smells like almond blossoms.
Incredibly, almond flowers appear on the trees before the leaves. Here almonds bloom in small white-pink flowers.
In addition to color, almonds have a particularly good smell that attracts not only people, but also hordes of bees. During the flowering period, the air around it joyfully rings with the buzzing of golden bees, arriving to drink the nectar, and the ground, like a light snow, is strewn with petals.
Therefore, when breaking off a twig for a bouquet for a beautiful lady, men should take precautions, so as not to be stung by the “workers” collecting honey.
The beautiful flowers are so striking that few will be able to pass by the trees solemnly welcoming spring. This is what attracts locals and visitors to Limnatis, who want to admire the extraordinary beauty of nature.
Just imagine, endless green meadows, with pink and white clouds of almond trees flying over them. Birds are chirping everywhere, and the silence is broken except for the occasional passing car.
The fragrant garden with open eyes of flowers with thick pink and white lashes, as if it takes in its arms and does not let go. In a light breeze, a sudden chill, the almonds drop their tears to the ground. Drip, drip, drip!
You are sitting in drifts of fragrant meadow grasses, with your eyes covered in mental ecstasy, in the fabulous beauty that suddenly fell upon you.
For locals, the festival is an occasion to meet with friends, and for tourists, to see the Cypriot customs and drive into the Troodos mountains, capturing on the way a couple of authentic villages.
The festival usually takes place in the central square of the village. All who come are invited to taste the local wine and zivania (grape moonshine) for free. Traditionally, there is a lot of food – souvlaki, halloumi, Cypriot bread, sweets made of almonds.
But the main and absolutely free attraction is admiring the blossoming almond trees. The format and idea of the festival is somewhat similar to the way the Japanese celebrate the blossoming of the cherry blossoms.
The festival is a must-visit primarily for tourists – it is a good excuse to dilute the romantic walks by the sea.