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Pop Rocks

Tafraoute's Blue Rocks definitely pop

When we arrived in Tafraoute the landscape suddenly changed. The scrub brush and flat desert collected itself into round red rocks and slowly piled itself higher and higher. It was Red Rocks meets Castle Hill (New Zealand) - just red boulders strewn everywhere. After exploring the small town (4,000 residents or so) we came across a bicycle rental shop and knew what we'd be doing the next day.

DSCN9828

DSCN9828


DSCN9826

DSCN9826


Tafraoute rocks

Tafraoute rocks


cacti

cacti


Moroccan men

Moroccan men

With a feebly drawn map and Phil's innate sense of direction we headed out on bike into the desert. The scenery was unbeatable, massive rocks so delicately balanced it was as if they had been placed on top of each other by (avoiding the obvious large-hand analogy) a massive Jenga champion?

village under rocks

village under rocks


bicycling under a mosque

bicycling under a mosque


Phil next to wild camel

Phil next to wild camel


wild camel

wild camel

Not twenty minutes into our ride we came across the strangest thing. We turned the corner into an open boulder field and I couldn't help but stare confusedly, awestruck. Imagine our confusion when out of nowhere popped a collection of car-sized to hotel-sized boulders painted electric blue. Massive rocks painted so completely in ANY color would be a shock, but the bright pop of the blue against the deep red of the rocks just made my jaw drop. The whole area was scattered with these blue rocks with no discernible rhyme or reason.

painted rocks

painted rocks


more blue and pink

more blue and pink


blue rocks

blue rocks


splatter

splatter


blues and pinks

blues and pinks


camper at blue rocks

camper at blue rocks


golfing with pepper

golfing with pepper


camper

camper

The "art installation" did not exactly inspire awe or beauty, but amazement and confusion. It was so unusual and bizzare - why blue? why that rock? why some pink ones? why were some faded? how? just, why?

So I googled it. Apparently a Belgian man Jean Verame began his project "Les Pierres Bleues" in 1984 as an art installation. Initially he used 18 tons of blue, red, violet & white (on the original rocks) and hired a team of Moroccan firemen to spray the granite. You can see the old ones in some of the photos but the new rocks really pop. Three men were up there painting, and while I'm not sure who the men are I'd have to assume no one else would have the passion to continue but Verame.

painters

painters


blue rocks

blue rocks


(notice Phil and Pepper in the bottom left corner for scale)

painters' den

painters' den


paint can lids

paint can lids

Posted by meesh123 10:30 Archived in Morocco Tagged bicycle

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