Tuesday 22 November 2011

Setti Fatma, Lady Fatima Of Ourika

Anyone who has been to the Ourika Valley will almost probably have visited or at least have seen the road signs for the village of Setti Fatma. Setti Fatma is where the road of Route d’Ourika ends. As the asphalt road turns into a sandy track a four-wheel drive vehicle will take you slightly further until nothing more than a small footpath takes you far into the High Atlas Mountains.

The end of Route d 'Ourika

Setti Fatma has numerous little outdoor restaurants along the river bank, a few souvenir shops, far too many parking attendants and more guides than visitors to lead the way to the famous waterfalls. Lesser known is the legend of Lady Fatima after which the small village has been named (Setti Fatma meaning Lady Fatima in Arabic).

The legend of Lady Fatima is a beautiful tale which took place about a thousand years ago. As a young girl she came from Egypt to Morocco and lived with a local family until she married at the age of twelve. She gave birth to two children who apparently predeceased her and are buried with her in her tomb.

The Koubba of Setti Fatma is vaguely visible between the trees

One day while gathering wood, Lady Fatima pushed a stick into the ground in search of water and miraculously it created a spring. This is supposedly the origin of the seven waterfalls in the Ourika Valley. The legend also tells of her miracle healing powers and how she cured marital and fertility problems. After her death people continued to bathe in the water from the waterfall and pray at her grave for a remedy for their problems.

Lady Fatima’s tomb lies in a small building high on the mountainside that overlooks the village. She is one of Morocco’s many holy mystic women and she still receives daily offerings from local women. Once a year a moussem is held in her name and it is the third most important moussem of Morocco.

A small bridge crosses the river to a small path which leads to the Koubba of Lady Fatima

The building where Lady Fatima is buried with her two daughters

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