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MOROCCO
 

Cities in MOROCCO

Marrakech

Geography and Landscape

Morocco can be divided into four natural landscapes.

Morocco Satellite photo: NASA in public domain

The Rif Mountains are parallel to the Mediterranean coast and include mountain ranges from the Mouth of the Moulouya to the Strait of Gibraltar. The highest peak is the Tidirhine (2456 m). It is not very accessible mountain country with a lot of erosion. The coast of the north of Morocco is rocky.

The Atlas Mountains consist of the Middle Atlas (the Atlas's most northwestern chain) and the High Atlas, which is linked to the southernmost chain, the Anti-Atlas. The High Atlas mainly consists of a series of high plateaus (up to 2000 m), which border the south side of the plain of the Sous and descend in terraces to the wadis in the foreland of the desert. The highest peaks reach almost 4200 meters, with the Tizi-n-Toubal as the highest peak (4167 m).

Tizi-n-Toubkal, highest mountain in MoroccoPhoto:unknown, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic

The plateau of Eastern Morocco, a steppe in the rain shadow of the Atlas chains. Here lies the wide valley of the 530 km long Moulouya, which originates in the Middle Atlas and flows into the Mediterranean Sea. Descending from the Atlas Mountains to the southeast is a plateau landscape at an altitude of 1500 to 1600 meters, which is separated from the Sahara by a fault line. The movement along this fault sometimes causes violent earthquakes (destruction of Agadir in 1960).

The area northwest of the Atlas. Three landscape forms can be distinguished: a fertile coastal plain, more inland a dry, steppe-like, less fertile plateau and finally a strip at the foot of the mountains. The latter is rich in water and is a series of orchards, the center of which is the Marrakech oasis.

Climate and Weather

climate table Moroccophoto:Beck, H.E., Zimmermann, N. E., McVicar, T. R., Vergopolan, N., Berg, A., & Wood, E. F. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International no changes made

The climate of Morocco varies depending on the landscape. The mountain area has cold winters and moderately warm, hot summers in the south. A lot of precipitation falls mainly in winter (800-1000 mm.) On the west slopes of the Middle and High Atlas. On the eastern plateau of Morocco 0n the leeward side of the mountains there is little rainfall (200 mm.). In the northern coastal plains of Morocco there is a climate typical of the Mediterranean region, inland the influence of the continent increases and there is more of a desert climate.

Plants and Animals

Plants

The north of Morocco has a typical Mediterranean plant growth, including cork oaks, which is strongly influenced by humans and animals. To the southwest, plant growth takes on a more tropical African appearance due to the appearance of cactus-like Acacia species.

Morocco goats climb in an Argania treePhoto:Aleksasfi Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

In the mountains there is alpha grass on the high plains and forest remains on the slopes. Common trees are the cork oak, the argania tree (recognizable because goats often climb it) and the thuja tree, this tree has beautiful large roots and is suitable for furniture processing.

Animals

Storks near Meknesno changes made Foto:Adam Jones, Ph.D. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Common animals in Morocco are storks, donkeys and sheep. Desert animals such as snakes and camels are found in the south. The animal world has both a European and an African character. The North African Berber or Atlas Lion has been completely eradicated in the twenties of the 20th century, as has the North African hartebeast (which disappeared before) and the Atlas deer a form of the red deer. Only a few types of gazelles still exist. Like the panther and the cheetah, they are almost extinct in Morocco. The only monkey, the magot, has also become rare, mainly due to the destruction of the forests. Hunting and nature conservation are regulated by law, yet poaching by nomads on the northern border of the Sahara is a problem. A lot of fish can be caught in the coastal waters of Morocco.

History

From ancient times to the 19th century

The first known fact of the history of Morocco, which must have been inhabited by itinerant peoples at an early age, is the arrival of the Phoenicians and the Carthaginians from 1200 BC. They traded on the coast. In the last centuries before the beginning of our era, the area then called Mauretania (named after the Mauri or Moors) was ruled by the local monarchs. Most famous monarch from that period was Juba II (50 BC - 23 AD). After the death of his son Ptolemy, the area became a Roman province under the name Mauretania Tingitana. After the collapse of the Roman Empire in the West, the Vandals ruled for some time. After this, the area was controlled by independent Berbers until about 700, when the country was conquered by the Arabs and converted to Islam.

Almoravid Khoubba in MarrakeshPhoto:kashmir Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic no changes made

The Berbers continued to play an important role, in the middle of the 11th century sects arose among the Berbers that gave Islam a new militancy. Thus the Berber dynasty of the Almoravids (1056-1147) and Almohads (1147-1269) arose. Morocco became very important and twice conquered Spain. In 1269, the Almohads finally fell. Spain was turned over to Christians. The North African country was divided into three new dynasties. The Portuguese conquered Ceuta in 1415, the Spaniards in 1496 Melilla. The Moroccans benefited from European trade in the Mediterranean in their own way (Barbary pirates).

From the 19th century

In the 19th century, Morocco's international position changed due to the needs of European imperialism. After the conquest of Algeria by the French (1830), the Moroccans supported Abd el-Kader, which eventually led to war. After the Treaty of Tangier (1845), Morocco continued to benefit from its favorable location for a while. The Madrid International Conference (1880) regulated the country's position. The powers guaranteed Morocco's independence. In 1904, France concluded agreements with Morocco and England and Spain. Morocco was divided into an international zone in Tangier, a French sphere of influence and a Spanish sphere of influence.

General Lyautey welcomes Marshal Pétain to Morocco during the Rif War, 1925Photo:public domain

After that, the first Morocco crisis (1905) arose and France, despite opposition from the other powers, still occupied part of the country. In 1908, the ruler, Sultan Abd al-Aziz, was dethroned by his brother Mawlai Hafid, who also came into conflict with his countrymen. Then the second Morocco crisis (1911) broke out. The result of the negotiation was that Germany recognized a French protectorate over Morocco. Mawlai Hafid stepped down as a Sultan. His successor, Mawlai Joesoef, concluded the treaties of March 30 and November 27, 1912 with France and Spain. The 1904 agreement was revised: Spain retained the Ceuta and Melilla enclaves to the north and the Ifni enclave to the south, but in a reduced form. The first resident general in the protectorate of Morocco was General Lyautey, who managed to calm the country in a relatively short time. French troops helped Spain to suppress the violent rebellion of the inhabitants of the Rif (1921-1926). Lyautey was replaced in 1925 by a resident general, who effectively took full power, while the Sultan ruled by name only. In 1934 they had brought all of Morocco under their authority. Soon after, the first nationalists came, who had not yet immediately strived for independence.

1939-1970

Morocco joined France in 1939, and in 1942 joined General De Gaulle's Free French movement. The nationalists founded the United Independence Party in 1943, which demanded full independence for Morocco. In 1944 a second independence party, more oriented to the West, was established, the PDI. A period of fierce armed resistance from the Moroccans followed. In August 1955, the Moroccan resistance mainly occurred in the countryside, where many victims were killed. Ibn Yusuf was again recognized as a Sultan on November 5, 1955. On March 2, 1956, a French-Moroccan declaration followed that the 1912 treaty was obsolete and that the French government recognized Morocco's independence. A High Commissioner would represent France in the new state. On November 12, 1956, Morocco became a member of the United Nations, on October 1, 1958, of the Arab League. Spain recognized Morocco's independence almost simultaneously with France, while also renouncing its northern possessions in Morocco. However, it retained footholds at Ceuta and Melilla.

Mausoleum of Mohammed V in RabatPhoto:public domain

In December 1965, the United Nations passed a resolution requiring Spain to decolonize Ifni and Spanish Sahara. This resolution was implemented with regard to Ifni. On June 30, 1969, Ifni was officially transferred to Morocco. Sultan Mohammed ibn Yusuf, who assumed the title king in 1957, died in 1961. He was succeeded by his son Mawlai Hassan, who ascended the throne as Hassan II. A new constitution was approved by referendum in December 1962 and the first parliamentary elections were held in May 1963, with the royalists winning. In June 1965, Hassan overruled the constitution and formed a new government with himself as prime minister, with the aim of implementing his plans for administrative and economic reform.

From 1970

In August 1970, a new Legislative Assembly was elected, again regrouping the royalists. After a failed coup in July 1971, Hassan delegated all civil and military powers to General Mohammed Oufkir. On August 16, 1972, Air Force officers seized power. General Oufkir, who committed suicide shortly after, would have been in charge. The king decided to base his rule more on legality and offered the opposition parties ministerial posts in the cabinet of his brother-in-law Achmed Osman. In connection with the conflict over the Sahara, the king made attempts to get the political parties to cooperate with the system. In March 1979, a new broad-based government was formed under the leadership of Maati Bouabid. Furthermore, a National Security Council was chaired by Osman, which brought together all major political parties to deal with the situation in the Sahara.

King Hassan II of MoroccoPhoto:public domain

However, the king retained far-reaching powers and the persecution of political opponents continued. The abolition of food subsidies in early 1981 led to drastic price increases and intense social unrest. Massive strikes culminated in a massacre in Casablanca in June 1981. Universities were closed and hundreds of union members and members of the opposition party were arrested.

In the parliamentary elections in September 1984, the royalist parties and the RNI of Ahmed Osman obtained a large majority. Prime Minister Karim Lamrani was replaced in 1986 by Azzedine Laraki. In January 1984 and December 1990, bloody food riots continued. On the last occasion, Islamic fundamentalists also protested, protesting the participation of Moroccan soldiers (since September 1990) in the international force against Iraq. However, the Moroccan soldiers were not deployed in the liberation of Kuwait. In September 1992, a referendum was held on a new constitution with some reforms. Despite a boycott, the turnout would have been 97%. Elections in June 1993 were a great success for the opposition. King Hassan II died in July 1999. He is succeeded by his son King Mohammed VI.

Sahara

Mauritania was fully recognized by Morocco in January 1970 and a cooperation treaty between the two countries was signed in June of that year. An agreement was reached on 14 November 1975 with regard to the Spanish Sahara disputed by Morocco, possibly partly under the pressure that Hassan was able to exert through a 'peace march' organized by him by 350,000 Moroccans to this area. The area was then divided between the two ruffs. Polisario, fighting for an independent Sahara republic, then started a guerrilla war against both Morocco and Mauritania. Moroccan troops subsequently entered this part of the area and it was annexed to Morocco as the fortieth province. The issue of recognition of the Democratic Arab Republic of Sahara (DARS) proclaimed by Polisario led to a breach within the Organization of African Unity. Morocco broke off relations with states that recognized the DARS. In March 1993, the United Nations unanimously called on Morocco to hold the pledged referendum on the future of the region before the end of the year.

King Mohammed V! of Moroccophoto:MehdiBitw98 Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International no changes made

Morocco plays a prominent role within the Arab world. King Hassan has hosted Arab summits on several occasions. Relations with the EU have long been dominated by a conflict over fishing rights off the Moroccan coast. Partly due to Hassan II's intervention, an agreement was reached in October 1995, which partly met the wishes of Moroccan fishermen.

The long-announced referendum on the future of occupied Western Sahara was again postponed in 1996. After his accession to the throne in 1999, King Mohammed VI proved to be the king of renewal and reconciliation. A minister for human rights and a special Commission for Human Rights were appointed. Non-governmental organizations, including independent human rights organizations (including Amnesty International) were given more space to manifest themselves. The Interior Ministry was purged of those who had been involved in the repression, exiles were invited to return home, an arbitration board was charged with the payment of money to relatives of missing persons, and sheikh Yassine's house arrest was lifted. A policy of decentralization with a special focus on the economic development of neglected regions was also introduced and steps were taken to improve the rights of suspects (time limits and pre-trial detention have been restricted).

From 2000

24 parties took part in the parliamentary elections of 27 September 2002. The USFP and Istiqlal came in joint first place (50 out of 325 seats each). The moderate Islamic PJD came to 42 seats, tripling the number of seats in the previous parliament. There are 34 women in the new parliament, partly elected via separate electoral lists. The Jettou Cabinet is composed of members of six parties and a number of non-party directors. Prime Minister Jettou, Interior Minister Al Musthapha Sahel and Foreign Minister Mohamed Benaissa belong to this so-called 'sans appartenance politique'. The only new ruling party is the 'Mouvement Populaire'. The USFP and Istiqlal each provided eight of the 39 ministers. New is the portfolio for cases concerning Moroccans abroad. This fell to Ms. Nouzha Chekrouni (USFP), who was responsible for emancipation matters in the Youssoufi cabinet. Ms. Cherouni was the only woman in the Youssouffi cabinet. There are three women in the Jettou cabinet.

The PJD's seat gains in the September 2002 parliamentary elections indicate that Islamism and fundamentalism are gaining ground. In addition to movements with roots in the Moroccan spiritual tradition, such as the Jama'at al-Adlw-al-lhsan of Sheikh Abdessalam Yassine, there are various movements that operate from an ultra-orthodox philosophy that comes from abroad.

On May 16, 2002, Casablanca suffered a series of suicide bombings. There were 18 victims, the majority of Moroccan. Groups such as Al-Salafiyya al-Jihadiyya and Al-Sirat al-Mustaqim are associated with the attacks. The first suicide bombing trials started in mid-2003. In addition, the death penalty was demanded against a number of suspects.

The establishment of a truth commission (Instance équité et réconsiliation) exposes violations of human rights that took place during the reign of King Hssan II. This happens in an atmosphere of growing openness on the part of the government. Victims are given the opportunity during hearings which were directly reported by television to tell about abuses committed without mentioning the names of those responsible.

The reforms of King Mohammed VI (which were already initiated in the last years of the reign of King Hassan II) are slowly but surely leading to a different, much more open climate in Morocco. There is less and less fear, more can be said and there is greater freedom of the press. However, there are clear red lines; the role and position of the monarchy itself, Islam and Western Sahara.

An important step forward in the field of human rights has been taken with the establishment of a national reconciliation committee (Instance Equité et Réconciliation). Morocco's past has been discussed by the committee, the "years of lead" characterized by repression of the opposition and gross human rights violations. To some extent justice has been done to the victims, by letting them tell their story and by awarding damages. In addition, the committee has formulated a number of recommendations, which explicitly look to the future. Some of the recommendations, if implemented, would make the position of the monarchy less absolutist (constitutional reforms, strengthening the independence of the judiciary, strengthening security services regulations).

With the introduction of the new Moedawanah (all family law), Morocco has taken a major social step, which should eventually lead to an equal relationship between men and women. Another important development concerns the increased space and attention for the Berber culture and language. The king has also spoken out about the need to strengthen social security policy. In concrete terms, this has only led to the introduction of a new compulsory health insurance for employees, civil servants and pensioners as of 1 March 2006 and a new Labor Act.

In June 2007 talks between Morocco and the Polisario on Western Sahara under the supervision of the United Nations take place, the talks yield no results. In September 2007, the conservative Istiqlal party wins the most seats in the parliamentary elections. In 2008 and 2009, trials are being conducted against Islamists suspected of involvement in bomb attacks in Casablanca and Madrid. In July 2009, Abdelkader Belliraj, a Moroccan al Qaeda leader, was sentenced to life in prison. In the 2011 elections, moderate Islamists and the developing party (PDJ) win, but none of the political parties obtained more than 20% of the vote.

Benkirane MoroccoPhoto:Magharebia Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic no changes made

In January 2012, Abdelilah Benkirane of the PJD becomes Prime Minister of a coalition. In October 2013, the king appointed a new government, which was necessary because one of the coalition partners had left the government. In September 2015, Morocco will hold the first ever direct elections to regional councils. In the October 2016 national parliamentary elections, the Benkirane party wins the most seats and the king reappoints him as prime minister. It is restless in the Al-Hoceima region in 2016 and 2017. In March 2017, the king fires Prime Minister Benkirane for failing to form a coalition. El Othmani becomes the new prime minister. The next elections are planned in the autumn of 2021.

Nearly 34 million people live in Morocco in 2017. Approx. 99% of the population consists of Arabs, Berbers or a mixed form. Half of the foreigners (approximately 60,000) are French. Spaniards and Algerians also live there. The Berbers mainly inhabit the areas of the High Atlas and the Middle Atlas and its foreland, the Sous basin, as well as the Rif. 2.8% of the population (in the south) is black. The number of Jews fell from 162,000 to 30,000 between 1969 and 1989. The population is unevenly spread across the country.

Morocco has a young populationPhoto:Adam Jones, Ph.D. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

On 1/10 of the area, 2/3 of the population lives in the northwest and west of the country. The most populated are the fertile areas on the coast. The migration to the city increases the population in the cities by 5% annually. In 2017, more than 62% of the total population lived in cities (in 1960: 29%). Many Moroccans work as guest workers abroad, of whom 40% in France and approximately 400,000 in the Netherlands.

The annual population increase is estimated at about 1% (2017). The birth rate in 2017 was 17.7 per 1000 and the death rate was 4.89. The average life expectancy is 77.1 years. 26% of the population is under 15 years old, 67% is between 15 and 65 years old and 7% is over 65 years old (2017). The largest cities in 2017 are Rabat (1.8 million inhabitants, Casablanca (3.6 million), Marrakech (1 million), Fes (1.3 million), Tangier (800,000).

Language

The official writing language is Arabic. The spoken language is in many ways different from the standard Arabic Moroccan Arabic, which is spoken by 60% of the population. 30 to 40% speak to the ancient Egyptian Berbers. As a second language, French has always held an important place in public life. Furthermore, Spanish is spoken in the former Spanish north.

Moroccan Stop sign in ArabicPhoto:Escondites Creative Commons-licentie Naamsvermelding-Gelijk delen 3.0 Unported no changes made

Some pronunciation rules of Arabic:

There is no fixed spelling for Arabic words. The names are written as they are pronounced. So Aqaba can be spelled just as well as Aqaba.

The Arabic script is written from right to left and consists of 28 consonants. Vowels are not written, which results in different Latin spellings for one and the same word. Arabic numerals are written from left to right.

Enkele woorden en zinnen:

EnglishArabic
Onewahed, female: wahda
Twoetnen
Threetalata
Ten‘ashra
Hundredmeyya
Thousand‘alf
Sundayyom el had
Woednesdayyom el ’arba’
Yes‘aywa
Nola’
Summersef
Wintersheta
Where is the hotel?fen el fondok?
What time is it?essa’a kam?
What is your name?‘esm-ak ‘ak? (man)
What is your name?‘esm-ek ‘eh? (woman)
Do you have change?‘andokom fakka?

Religion

Hassan II Mosque in Rabatno changes made Photo:Ishaan.jain.id Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International

State religion is Sunni Islam; 98% of the population is included. The king, who sees himself as a religious leader, is said to belong to the family of the prophet Mohammed. Although Islamic doctrine has no saints, Marabou worship is deeply rooted in popular belief in Morocco. Christianity, especially Roman Catholicism, is mainly represented among the foreigners.

Society

State Structure

Parliament Building MoroccoPhoto:Anass Sedrati Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International no changes made

According to the 1972 constitution, Morocco is a constitutional, democratic and social monarchy with male succession. Head of state, spiritual head and commander in chief of the armed forces is the king. He composes the cabinet, issues laws and royal decrees and has the power to dissolve the parliament and issue plebiscites. Of the 333 members of the unicameral parliament, 222 members are directly elected, according to universal suffrage, the others are appointed by electoral colleges of municipal councils, chambers of commerce and employee organizations. Freedom of association is guaranteed in the Constitution, but is often restricted in practice.

Administrative division

Regions of Moroccophoto:Tussna https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en no changes made

The country is divided into 39 provinces (40 including the Spanish Sahara) and eight city prefectures, each with a governor and two prefectures. Morocco is a member of the United Nations. It is also a member of the Organization of African Unity, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Special ties are maintained with France, and although Morocco is a non-aligned country, it has special relations with the United States, based on a friendship treaty dating from 1787, the oldest international treaty in United States history. Morocco has the status of associate member of the EU. An administrative reclassification took place in 2010 and Morocco consists of 12 regions.

Politics

There is a wide variety of political parties compared to other North African countries. The main ones are: the royalist center-right Union Constitutionelle (UC), founded in 1982; the Rassemblement National des Indipendents (RNI), a mass movement in support of the king's policies; the Parti National Democrate (PND), social democratic spin-off from the RNI, established in 1981. These are the so-called royal parties. Furthermore, since 1984 the Mouvement Popular has been part of the government coalition. This is a movement of several royalist organizations. The main opposition parties are the Istiqlal Party (moderate socialist and nationalist). The Union Socialiste des Forces Populaires (USFP) advocates, among other things, nationalization. The Union National des Forces Populaires (UNFP) advocates even more radical reforms. All these parties are represented in parliament. The fundamentalist Muslim party Adl wa Lihsane is banned. The unions are limited in their freedom of movement.

The current political situation is described in the chapter on history.

Economy

General

The Moroccan economy has the same problems as those of most third world countries. Among other things, a rapidly growing population, lack of own capital, a domestic market that is too small for industrial development, a lack of qualified labor and dependence on some export products (phosphate and agricultural products). Dependency on foreign capital is high and public debt is high (a total of 65.1% of GDP in 2017. Gross national income (GDP) per capita was $ 8,600 in 2017. Unemployment, especially among young people, is large (10.2% in 2017) Tourism is becoming an increasingly important source of income, contributing significantly to Morocco's foreign exchange earnings and providing employment to 5% of the population. controlled industries are partly privatized.

Agriculture and horticulture, fishing

Plenty Oranges in MoroccoPhoto:Sir James Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported no changes made

Agriculture is the most important sector in the economy. It employs 39.1% of the labor force. In 2017, this sector accounted for 14% of GDP. Insufficient and irregular rainfall cause large differences in the annual harvest. About 34 million ha has been cultivated, 25% of which is arable land. The persistent drought has been the main problem in recent years and, together with rapid population growth and limited access to the European market, has caused stagnation. In addition to grains, the cultivation of citrus fruits, tomatoes and potatoes is important. Sugar beet cultivation has experienced spectacular growth. Forestry is almost 100% a state affair. The total forest area in 1994 was approximately 5 million hectares. 12% of the total land area. The yield is used as firewood and processed in the construction and furniture industry. Morocco is the third cork-producing country in the world.

The predominantly extensive livestock farming of the traditional sector does not cover the demand for meat and imports are therefore necessary. Periods of drought force emergency slaughter, which sometimes means cutting livestock by half. The result is that the skin prices suddenly drop sharply.

The particularly fish-rich Atlantic coastal waters are only partly used by the technically less advanced and small fishing fleet. The quantities of fish caught vary widely per year. Morocco is the second largest exporter of sardines in the world.

Mining

The country has large and diverse mineral resources, which are not yet sufficiently utilized. Phosphate production is the largest after that of the United States and Russia. Phosphate provides 30% of the income from exports. Including the stocks in Western Sahara. A large part of the phosphate production is exported unprocessed. Other important mineral resources are iron ore, lead, zinc, coal, manganese, cobalt oil and natural gas.

Industry

Carpets MoroccoPhoto:Michal Osmenda Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic no changes made

Industry is one of the most dynamic sectors of the Moroccan economy. Production increased annually between 1980 and 2010. In 2017, industry provided 29.5% of GDP, while around 20.3% of the workforce was employed in this sector. The chemical and textile industry in particular are on the rise. The main focus of the industry is in the coastal area between Casablanca and Rabat.

Trade

The trade balance has traditionally been in deficit. China, France, Spain, Germany and the United States account for the most important share of imports (39.6 billion in 2017) in Morocco. The main imports are petroleum, machinery, cars, electronic equipment and food. The largest buyers of exports (21.4 billion in 2017) are France, Germany, Spain, the United States and China. The main export items are phosphate, citrus fruits, canned fish, knotted carpets and ready-to-wear.

The available reserves of coal, oil and gas and the large water wealth in the Atlas can only cover a small part of the energy needs. The shortage is largely supplemented by imports of petroleum. 20% of the electricity is supplied by hydropower plants.

Traffic

High Speed Train MoroccoPhoto:NicholasNCE Creative Commons Naamsvermelding-GelijkDelen 4.0 Internationaal no changes

The road network with a length of over 80,000 km is the closest of the continent after that of the Republic of South Africa. The rail network, which handles 80% of the freight transport, is 3000 km long. Shipping traffic plays an important role. Of the Atlantic ports, Casablanca is the largest, followed by Mohammedia, Safi and Agadir. Royal Air Maroc, which is largely state-owned, handles international air traffic. Casablanca, Tangier, Agadir, Marrakech, Oujda, El Hoceima, Rabat and Fes have an international airport.

Holidays ans Sightseeing

Morocco has a lot to offer to tourists, a coast of alternating rocks and beaches, natural beauty, exotic-looking cities with an attractive medina (= old town) and souks (markets), where you can buy the products of Moroccan handicrafts. There are also many monuments of the Berbers and the Arab-Islamic culture.

High Atlas Moroccono changes made Foto:Nouari0 Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

You can admire Prehistoric and Roman remains, and the nightlife of Casablanca and Tangier. Other attractive places include Marrakech (former hippie paradise), Fes, Safi, Essaouira and Agadir. The most spectacular natural beauty can be found in the High Atlas. In contrast to this dry area, the mild Middle Atlas with its lakes, rivers, waterfalls and cedar forests. There are many oases along the Ziz (Er Rachidia, Erfoud, Rissani) and the Dra (Zagora, Agdz). There are winter sports centers in all mountains in Morocco. The oldest cultural-historical monuments are the prehistoric rock paintings in the High and Anti-Atlas from about 10,000-5,000 BC. Numerous geometric figures, hand axes, people and animals are engraved in the rocks. Of the Roman cities, Volubilis is famous, with remains of triumphal arches, thermal baths and houses with many well-preserved floor mosaics, located near the holy city of Moulai Idris.

Kasbah Morocco
Photo:Donar Reiskoffer Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

Many places in Morocco have a kasbah (castle). The kasbahs of the Berbers have their own style: they are four-storey mud castles on a square plan, with four protruding corner towers and simple geometric decorations. Some Berberkasbahs consist of walled complexes with various fortresses, stables and gardens. They serve (d) and as a refuge, family house or storage shed. The most interesting Arab-Islamic cities are also known as royal cities. These are Fes, Marrakech, Meknes and Rabat. Many Moroccan cities have a moussem (annual pilgrimage) in honor of the local saint, accompanied by festivities, often including a closing fantasia (equestrian game). Moroccan handicrafts are known for their colorful carpets of leather, pottery from Safi and Fes, wool and silk fabrics, inlaid wood from Essaouira, engraved copper and brass utensils, silver and gold jewelery. Tourism is growing strongly due to the availability of cheap airline tickets to Morocco.

Marrakech MoroccoPhoto:Luc Viatour Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

Marrakech is the capital of the south of Morocco and one of the most visited cities in the country. It is a colorful oasis with a rather exotic touch, surrounded by 16 km of ocher yellow city walls. Marrakech has a beautiful souq (market). Marrakech's character has remained unchanged for over 1,000 years. There are numerous cafes, palaces, mosques and kasbahs, spread across the medina and very special is the central Djemaa El Fna square. Here you will see snake charmers, storytellers and many food stalls. Known as the Pink City, near the High Atlas Mountains in North Africa, Marrakech is a rich cultural mishmash of snake charmers, belly dancers and alluring tourist attractions. Marrakech attracts many visitors who are fascinated by colonial architecture, huge mosques and busy squares and markets. One of the main tourist attractions in Marrakech is the El Badi Palace with 360 rooms. This 16th-century masterpiece is located in the lively Djemaa El Fna square. There are also many gardens in the city to escape the heat and noise. The orchards of the Agdal Garden are very refreshing.

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Sources

Encarta Encyclopedia

Lehmann, L. / Marokko
Van Reemst

Macguinness, J. / Morocco handbook
Passport Books

Wilkins, F. / Morocco
Chelsea House

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated August 2021
Copyright: Team Landenweb