As one of countries starting with M, the Kingdom of Morocco is located in northwestern Africa and is part of the Arab League. It is a mainly Islamic country but there are also some other religions here. The country has long been owned by both Spain and France. It has been an independent country since 1956, only Spain has two enclaves in the country, which are seen as occupied territory by the Moroccans.
People have lived in Morocco for almost 10,000 years. In the first thousands of years, these were mainly Berbers who traveled around the country and the countries around Morocco. Around the beginning of the Common Era, several Berber kingdoms arose which were later destroyed by the Romans. It was the Arabs in the seventh century who brought Islam to Morocco, then still Christian. In the eleventh century, some tribes united to create the current Morocco. In the fifteenth century it was the Portuguese who conquered parts of the country and built several fortresses and the city of Mazagan. After the Moroccan crisis at the beginning of the twentieth century, the administration of the country was handed over to France and Spain. Morocco has been an independent country again since 1956.
Morocco is a modern Islamic state where other religions are allowed but physically carrying them out can lead to jail time. It is forbidden for Muslims to talk about conversion to another faith and Moroccan Muslims cannot be baptized to Christianity.
In Morocco, the smell of food and the herbs used is everywhere. The main spices used in the food are cinnamon, mint, cumin, pepper, ginger, saffron and turmeric. Many dishes come from the Tajine, which is typical for Morocco. In Morocco, chicken and lamb are mainly eaten. The country’s most popular drink is green tea with mint.
Morocco’s main attractions are the four Imperial Cities. These are the cities of Rabat, Marrakech, Meknes and Fez.
The city of Fez sometimes also spelled Fés is known as the spiritual and cultural capital of Morocco. The city consists of three old parts Fes el Bali, Fes and Jedid and the modern city. The old center of this city is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Marrakech is the country’s old trading city. The city was founded in the eleventh century AD at a crossroads of several trade caravans. The main attractions in the city are the Koutoubia Mosque, Medersa Ben Youssef and the Koubba Baraduyin. There are also many palaces and various souks in the city. The old center of this city is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Meknes is known for its beautiful fountains, terraces and mosques. The main gate of the city, the Bab Al-Mansour is a national monument. In the city, the Museum Dar Jamaï is one of the most important museums in the country. Just outside the city is the former Roman city of Volubilis.
Rabat is the current capital of Morocco and was built in the twelfth century by the then caliph. The biggest sights in this city are the Hassan Tower and the Kasbah of Rabat. Rabat is located on the Bouregreg river that separates the city from the city of Salé. This is one of the oldest cities in Morocco.
The city of Casablanca is the largest city in the country and owes its name recognition mainly to the film of the same name with Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart.
One of the most beautiful trips you can make in Morocco is a desert safari. These ‘safaris’ often start from the village of Merzouga.
There are nine inscriptions on the UNESCO World Heritage List in Morocco. In most cases, this is the medina of an old city in the country. In addition, there are some historical sites on the list and a former Portuguese city.
The medina of the places Fez, Marrakesh, Tétouan and Essaouira are on the list. The first to be listed in 1981 was the Medina of Fez. In 1987, AitBenHaddou’s Kasbahs were added to the list. These structures have served as a backdrop in many films, including the classic Lawrence of Arabia.
In 1996 the historic city of Meknes was credited and later the former Roman settlement of Volubilis.
In 2004, the former Portuguese city of Mazagan, now known as El Jadida, was added. In 2012, the capital Rabat was added to the list.
There are several climate types in Morocco. In the northern part and the northwestern part of the country on the Mediterranean there is a warm Mediterranean climate that is strongly influenced by the sea and the Sirocco wind that can blow here from the east and southeast. In the southern part and the southeastern part of Morocco there is a warm desert climate with many hot days during the summer months. There is almost no precipitation in this part of the country. When the wind blows from this part of the country, the whole country can be ravaged by a hot dry wind.
The central part and the southern coastal strip have approximately the same climate, although the average temperature here is slightly lower due to the influence of the Atlantic Ocean. As a result, temperatures above fifty degrees Celsius are slightly less likely to occur here.
In the Atlas Mountains there is a high mountain climate on the highest peaks and here you have snow security for a large part of the year. The average temperatures here are considerably lower than in the other parts of Morocco and prolonged periods of frost are no exception here.
Morocco is located in the northwest of Africa and has land borders with Algeria, Mauritania and the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla. Morocco borders the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the north. Morocco is separated from Spain and the rest of Europe by the Strait of Gibraltar.
There are two large mountain ranges in Morocco. In the north is the Rif Mountains and in the southwest of the country is the Atlas Mountains. Jebel Toubkal is located in the Atlas Mountains, which is the highest point in the country at 4,167 meters. In the winter months you can ski in this area.
Most of the country’s rivers originate in the Atlas Mountains. The Draa River is the longest river in the country, flowing from the High Atlas Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean. Other rivers in Morocco are the Wed el Abid, the Bouregreg, the Ourika and the Sebou.
In 19725 Morocco annexed a large part of Western Sahara. While the inhabitants here themselves have proclaimed the Arab Democratic Republic of Sahara. Both the annexation by Morocco and the proclamation of the Arab Democratic Republic of the Sahara are supported by only a small part of the world.
The two Spanish enclaves in Morocco Ceuta and Melilla and the associated islands of Alborán, Isla Perejil, Islote de la Nube, Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera, Peñón de Alhucemas and Islas Chafarinas are regarded by Morocco as occupied territory. These islands are inhabited only by soldiers and are directly under the control of the central Spanish government. The cities of Ceuta and Melilla have autonomous status within Spain.
Rabat is the capital of Morocco, but the city of Casablanca is by far the largest city in the country. Other major cities in Morocco are Fez, Marrakesh, Agadir, Tangier, Salé and Meknes
For some time now, the travel advice for Morocco has been ‘be extra vigilant’. This is mainly due to the socio-economic unrest in the country. In recent years, there have been regular large-scale demonstrations and disturbances of the peace that have been violently broken up. it is therefore not recommended for tourists to go below.
There have been several terrorist bombings in Morocco in recent years. It is not recommended to visit places where many foreigners gather. This is because the chance of an attack is greater here.
In recent years, crime has increased in the country and in the major cities of Morocco, pickpockets and robbers must be kept in mind. Therefore, do not flaunt expensive equipment and jewellery.
The border area with Mauritania and the Western Sahara region annexed by Morocco is known as very unsafe. Try to avoid this region if you have to be there, do not deviate from the beaten path because there are land mines in several places.
To be able to visit Morocco, you must be in possession of a passport that is valid for at least six months on the day of departure from the country. This applies to travelers of all ages. You need a visa to visit Morocco, only if you plan to stay in the country for longer than three months.
The import and export of drugs and other narcotics is strictly prohibited here. Violation of these rules carries high fines and prison sentences.
|Phone (country code)||212|
|Language(s) (official)||Arabic and Berber|
|Language(s) (colloquial)||(Moroccan) Arabic, Berber, French, Spanish and English|
|Time difference summer||In Morocco it is 2 hours earlier than in the Netherlands|
|Time difference winter||In Morocco it is 1 hour earlier than in the Netherlands|
|Daylight Saving Time Control||no|