Morocco, officially the
Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North
Africa with a population of nearly 32 million and an area just under 447,000
km2. Its capital is Rabat, and its largest city is Casablanca. Morocco has a
coast on the Atlantic Ocean that reaches past the Strait of Gibraltar into the
Mediterranean Sea. It is bordered by Algeria to the east, Spain to the north (a
water border through the Strait and land borders with two small Spanish
autonomous cities, Ceuta and Melilla), and Mauritania to the south via its
Western Saharan territories.
Morocco is the only country in Africa that is not currently a member of the
African Union and it has shown no interest in joining. However, it is a member
of the Arab League, Arab Maghreb Union, Francophonie, Organisation of the
Islamic Conference, Mediterranean Dialogue group, and Group of 77. It is also a
major non-NATO ally of the United States.
how to get to Morocco ?
Morocco has three main international airports: Casablanca, Tangier and Agadir.
You can also fly direct to Fez, Marrakech and Oujda from Paris, Amsterdam,
Berlin and other European cities. Most long distance flights will arrive in
Casablanca. It's a modern airport with plenty of transport options to take you
in to the center of town or to other destinations in Morocco.
By Air :
www.atlas-blue.com/ www.royalairmaroc.com / www.jet4you.com / www.ryanair.com /
There are several car and passenger ferry services which offer routes between
Spain, Gibraltar, France and Italy to Morocco.
Most popular cities in Morocco :
Fez or Fez (Arabic: فاس Arabic pronunciation: Fez is the second largest city of Morocco, with a population of approximately 1 million (2010). It is the capital of the 38Fès-Boulemane region.
"Fas el Bali" is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its medina, the larger of the two medinas of Fez, is believed to be the world's largest contiguous car-free urban area. The University of Al-Karaouine, founded in AD 859, is the oldest continuously functioning university in the world. The city has been called the "Mecca of the West" and the "Athens of Africa".
Meknes (Arabic: مكناس, Berber: Mknas or Ameknas, French: Meknès, Spanish: Mequinez) is a city in northern Morocco, 130 kilometres (81 mi) from the capital Rabat and 60 kilometres (37 mi) from Fez. It is served by the A2 expressway between those two cities and by the corresponding railway. Meknes was the capital of Morocco under the reign of Moulay Ismail (1672–1727), before it was relocated to Marrakech. The population is 985,000 (2010 census). It is the capital of the Meknes-Tafilalet region. Meknes is named after a Berber tribe which was known as Miknasa (native Berber name: Imeknasen) in the medieval North African sources.
Rabat (Arabic الرباط; Amazigh , transliterated ar-Rabāṭ or ar-Ribāṭ or Rbat, literally "Fortified Place"; French Ville de Rabat; Spanish Ciudad de Rabat), is the capital and third largest city of the Kingdom of Morocco with a population of approximately 650,000 (2010). It is also the capital of the 39Rabat-Salé-Zemmour-Zaer region
The city is located on the Atlantic Ocean at the mouth of the river Bou Regreg. On the facing shore of the river lies 39Salé, the city's main commuter town. Together with Temara the cities account for a combined metropolitan population of 1.8 million.
Marrakech or Marrakesh (Berber:Mərrakəš or Murakuc, Arabic: مراكش Murrākuš, local pronunciation: Mərrakəš), known as the "Ochre City", with a population of over 900,000 inhabitants is the most important former imperial city in Morocco's history. The city of Marrakech is the capital of the mid-southwestern economic region of Marrakech-Tensift-Al Haouz, near the foothills of the snow-capped Atlas Mountains, being also the third largest city in Morocco according to the 2004census.
Marrakech has the largest traditional market (souk) in Morocco and also has one of the busiest squares in Africa and the world, Djemaa el Fna.The square bustles with acrobats, story-tellers, water sellers, dancers and musicians. By night food stalls open in the square turning it into a huge busy open-air restaurant.
Casablanca (Arabic: الدار البيضاء ad-Dār al-Bayḍā, original name in Berber: Anfa) is a city in western Morocco, located on the Atlantic Ocean. It is the capital of the Grand Casablanca region.
Casablanca is Morocco's largest city as well as its chief port. It is also the biggest city in the Maghreb. The 2004 census recorded a population of 2,949,805 in the prefecture of Casablanca and 3,631,061 in the region of Grand Casablanca. Casablanca is considered the economic and business center of Morocco, while the political capital city of Morocco is Rabat.
Ouarzazate (Berber:Warzazat, Arabic: ورزازات, lit. "noiselessly"), nicknamed The door of the desert, is a city and capital of Ouarzazate Province in the 32Souss-Massa-Draâ of southern-central Morocco. Ouarzazate is located at an elevation of 1,160 metres (3,810 ft) in the middle of a bare plateau south of the High Atlas Mountains. To the south of the town is the desert.
The town is chiefly inhabited by Berbers, who constructed many of the prominent kasbahs and buildings for which the area is known. Ouarzazate is an important holiday destination in Morocco, as a base for excursions across the Draa Valley and into the desert. The fortified village (ksar) of Ait Benhaddou west of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Merzouga is a small village in southeastern Morocco, about 35 kilometers southeast of Rissani, about 55 kilometers from Erfoud, and about 50 kilometers from the Algerian border.
The village is known for its proximity to Erg Chebbi, a Saharan erg, and it is for this reason a part of the itineraries of many tourists visiting Morocco. Merzouga has the largest natural underground body of water in Morocco
Languages in Morocco
Morocco's official language is classical Arabic. The country's distinctive
Arabic dialect is called Moroccan Arabic. Approximately 12 million (40% of the
population), mostly in rural areas, speak Berber - which exists in Morocco in
three different dialects (Tarifit, Tashelhiyt, and Tamazight) - either as a
first language or bilingually with the spoken Arabic dialect. French, which
remains Morocco's unofficial second language, is taught universally and still
serves as Morocco's primary language of commerce and economics. It also is
widely used in education and government. About 20,000 Moroccans in the northern
part of the country speak Spanish as a second language in parallel with Tarifit.
English, while still far behind French and Spanish in terms of number of
speakers, is rapidly becoming the second foreign language of choice among
educated youth (after French). As a result of national education reforms
entering into force in late 2002, English will be taught in all public schools
from the fourth year on. French however, will remain the second foreign language
because of Morocco's close economic and social links with other French-speaking
countries and especially France.
Most people live west of the Atlas Mountains, a range that insulates the country
from the Sahara Desert. Casablanca is the center of commerce and industry and
the leading port; Rabat is the seat of government; Tangier is the gateway to
Morocco from Spain and also a major port; Fez is the cultural and religious
center; and Marrakech is a major tourist center.
There is a European expatriate population of 100,000, mainly of French or
Spanish descent; many are teachers or technicians and more and more retirees,
especially in Marrakech.
Climate in Morocco
The climate is Mediterranean, which becomes more extreme towards the interior
regions where it is mountainous. The terrain is such that the coastal plains are
rich and accordingly, they comprise the backbone for agriculture. Forests cover
about 12% of the land while arable land accounts for 18%. 5% is irrigated.
Cuisine in Morocco
Moroccan cuisine has long been considered as one of the most diversified
cuisines in the world. This is a result of the centuries-long interaction of
Morocco with the outside world. The cuisine of Morocco is a mix of Berber,
Spanish, Corsican, Portuguese, Moorish, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and
African cuisines. The cuisine of Morocco has been influenced by the native
Berber cuisine, the Arabic Andalusian cuisine brought by the Moriscos when they
left Spain, the Turkish cuisine from the Turks and the Middle Eastern cuisines
brought by the Arabs, as well as Jewish cuisine.
Spices are used extensively in Moroccan food. While spices have been imported to
Morocco for thousands of years, many ingredients, like saffron from Tiliouine,
mint and olives from Meknes, and oranges and lemons from Fez, are home-grown.
Chicken is the most widely eaten meat in Morocco. The most commonly eaten red
meat in Morocco is beef; lamb is preferred, but is relatively expensive.
Couscous is the most famous Moroccan dish along with pastilla, tajine, and
harira. The most popular drink is green tea with mint. The tea is accompanied
with hard sugar cones or lumps.