Home  | 

Add new content to Overview!
Introduction

From the Roman Empire to the Arab settlers, to a score of European conquerors ? French, Portuguese and Spanish - this nation is a mysterious blend of cultures, religions, histories and cuisines. Travelers can visit beaches and mountains, ride a camel in the desert, or sip coffee or tea in a Casablanca café.

At the end of the 16th century Morocco flourished as more Jews and Moors from Spain emigrated, settling with the Arabs who were already there. In 1904 Morocco was divided between France and Spain. The country gained its independence in 1956 and Sultan Mohammed became king. The current king is Mohammed VI, who has shown an increasing Western stance on human rights and the direction of Morocco. The nation had been engaged in a war with the Polisario Front of Western Sahara, which Morocco had virtually annexed in the 1970s. Despite a peace accord and United Nations assistance the future of Western Sahara has yet to be determined.

Morocco has a population of 34 million. Nearly everyone follows Islam. About half of Moroccans are Arabic and a little less than half Berber. The languages are French, Arabic and some Spanish. Some English is spoken, mainly in the cities.

The best time to visit Morocco depends on what you plan to do. The coastal region is temperate all year round, although certainly hotter and more dependable good weather during the summer (June-August/September). In the lowlands, October-April is a popular time to visit because it is warm during the day and quite cool at night. In the mountains, ski season is from December - March. Closer inland toward Algeria and the Sahara it is very hot and arid. The coast is lush and breezy no matter what time of year you go, and the beaches are a popular attraction.

There are four international airports in Morocco located in Casablanca, Tangier, Agadir and Marrakesh. The bus network is efficient in most areas. For longer trips the train is faster although slightly more costly. One option is a shared taxi, which is practically a public transport feature in the country. They work similar to bus routes: going from one town to another en route to a final destination. The fixed-rate fares are generally a little higher than bus fares. If you are in Tangier or Ceuta, and going to/coming from Spain, the ferry is a nice and economical option.

Both Arab and European influence are exemplified throughout the country, but especially in the capital, Rabat, and Casablanca. Casablanca is Morocco's largest city and industrial center, but there are some lovely spots with remnants from the French colonial era. If you want to escape to the beach, Tangier is a main attraction. If you desire a more relaxing place, Essaouira may be more what you are looking for. The city of Fés is probably the most symbolic of Morocco. The medina is one of the largest living medieval cities in the world. Further on in the interior are the Tafraoute Mountains, known as the ?pink mountains', and the Sarhro Mountains with waterfalls, rivers and great views.


Most Active Stories: Morocco