Morocco: the country’s calling card

Morocco: the country’s calling card

Morocco – this wonderful multifaceted and colorful country offers tourists the most diverse and exciting vacation at any time of year. There are beautiful beaches and snowy mountain peaks, high mountain meadows and endless sands of the Sahara, nature reserves and a huge number of historical and cultural monuments, the oriental bazaars and other unique attractions.

Tours in Morocco – it is a famous Atlantic resort of Agadir with first-class hotels, it is interesting excursions to the imperial and ancient cities, it is excellent windsurfing, thalassotherapy and excellent SPA centers, excellent trails for skiing and snowboarding, safari tours, mountain climbing, trekking, horseback riding, unforgettable shopping and delicious national cuisine.

In other words, Morocco has combined all the best that only can offer discerning tourists exotic African state.

Morocco: the geography of the country

Morocco is a state in the west of North Africa. It borders Algeria to the east and southeast, and Western Sahara to the south. It is bounded by the Mediterranean Sea from the north and the Atlantic Ocean from the west. The Strait of Gibraltar separates Morocco from Europe. The total area of the country exceeds 446 thousand square kilometers.

On the Mediterranean coast of Morocco there are two Spanish exclaves – Ceuta and Melilla. The country can be divided into four regions: the Rif (a mountainous area parallel to the Mediterranean coast), the Atlas Mountains (crossing the country from southwest to northeast from the Atlantic to the Rif), the coastal plain region of the Atlantic coast and the valleys that lie to the south of the Atlas Mountains (gradually turning into a desert). The country’s highest point, Mount Jebel Toubkal (4,165 meters above sea level), is located on the High Atlas Range. Sebha Tah is the lowest point in Morocco – 55 meters below sea level. The main rivers of Morocco are: Muluya, which flows into the Mediterranean Sea, and Cebu, which flows into the Atlantic Ocean.

Morocco: Morocco’s capital

Rabat is the official capital of Morocco. All foreign embassies and missions as well as government offices are located here. There are also museums of Moroccan art and antiquities, the imperial palace, the Hassan Tower and the ruins of the 12th century Yacoub el Mansour Mosque, the largest but unfinished mosque in the world.

Morocco: History

Morocco (unlike most North African countries) has had only one people throughout its history. Berbers founded settlements here thousands of years ago. Even within the borders of a single country Berbers were divided into tribes and clans, which fervently defended their independence. Because of this, Morocco has preserved one of the most remarkable cultures in Africa. The early Berbers were not subjected to the wave of Phoenician colonization, nor did the Romans attempt to conquer Morocco after the capture of Carthage in 149 BC. But despite this, the Romans founded many cities in the region, where many Berbers subsequently resettled and became city dwellers.

By the ninth century, in the course of religious strife, North Africa was fragmented, which contributed to the formation of Morocco. The fundamental Berber movement was born out of the chaos caused by the Arab invasion and quickly spread throughout Morocco as well as the Muslim (at that time) province of Andalusia in Spain.

The Almoravids founded their own capital, Marrakesh, but they were soon replaced in power by the Almohads. Under the new rule, civil society flourished, and the cities of Fez, Marrakesh, Tlemcen and Rabat were at the peak of their cultural development at this time. The Muslim (Moorish) rule was replaced by the Merenides, from the interior of Morocco, which also contributed to a new period of prosperity of the country, which lasted until the surrender of Spain to the Christians in 1492, after which chaos reigned here for a hundred years (more about this period of Spanish history:

With the arrival of traders from Europe at the end of the nineteenth century, Morocco began an era of colonial reconstruction. France, Spain and Germany appreciated both the country’s excellent strategic position and the wealth of its natural resources. France (all about the history of France) occupied the territory of Morocco in 1912. Spain (all about the history of Spain) received a small coastal protectorate, and Tangier was declared an international zone. The first French viceroy, Marshal Lietey, made Rabat, located on the Atlantic coast, the new capital and began the development of the port city of Casablanca. By the 1930s, more than 200,000 French people had moved to Morocco permanently. During World War II, Morocco was used by Allied forces as a base of operations against Germany in North Africa.

After the end of the war, Sultan Mohammed V founded the Independence Party, which finally achieved the liberation of Morocco in 1956. In March 1956, France recognized the independence of Morocco, and in April the Spanish Morocco also gained independence, although several towns remained with the Spanish.

Today Morocco is a member of the UN, ILO, IMF, WHO and the Arab League. Morocco has never joined the African Union in protest against the admission of Western Sahara, which Morocco considers its own territory. Morocco is a traditional ally of the U.S. and France in the region. In June 2004 Morocco was made a major non-NATO ally of the United States. Morocco has also signed trade agreements with the U.S. and the European Union.

Morocco: the country’s climate

On the Mediterranean coast of Morocco, the climate is mild, subtropical. The average summer temperature is about +24 … +28 ° C (but sometimes reaches +30 … +34 ° C), and +10 … +14 ° C in winter. The climate becomes more continental to the south, with rather hot (up to +35 … +37°С) summers and relatively cool (up to +5 … +7°С) winters. Daily temperature variations may reach 20 degrees.

The north-western part of the country is significantly influenced by air masses from the Atlantic. Because of this, the climate here is cooler, and the daily temperature difference is much greater than in the rest of the country.

In the mountainous regions of the Atlas, the climate depends on the altitude of the place. In the north, rainfall is up to 500-1000 mm per year, while in the south it is less than 200 mm per year. The western slopes of the Atlas receive up to 2,000 mm of rainfall from time to time, and local flooding is not uncommon here, while years with no rainfall at all are not uncommon in the southeast.

Morocco: Cities and resorts

Agadir is considered one of the most popular centers of modern tourism in Morocco. Agadir is located on the Atlantic coast in the Sous Valley, and the High Atlas Mountains protect the city from the hot air from the desert. Agadir is similar to the traditional major European resorts, its beach is about 10 kilometers long. The beach is covered with golden sand and surrounded by fragrant eucalyptus and pine trees. Agadir is recognized as the most beautiful resort in Morocco. Hotels in Agadir are very popular among European tourists.

Agadir has now become a real center of fun and festivities. All the traditional entertainments of Eastern countries are here: hookahs, deep sea fishing, golf, tennis, riding camels and Arabian horses – all this is provided in many hotels in Agadir. The city has many nightclubs and popular youth discos. There are also many stores and boutiques.

In Agadir, there are many restaurants for all tastes. You can find anything you want here, even Chinese and Japanese restaurants, but of course traditional Arabic cuisine is also very well represented. There are also plenty of fish restaurants in Agadir, where visitors can have all the freshly caught fish they want. It is quite easy to buy alcohol in Agadir, as it is in most Islamic resorts. Alcohol is sold everywhere, but with one restriction: until 8:00 pm.

Marrakech is the true soul and heart of the Moroccan East. Marrakech is one of the imperial cities of the country and the most exotic of them. Once in this wonderful city, during the excursions you will definitely see the ancient walled Medina, with its narrow streets, numerous souvenir shops and colorful markets, the mausoleum of Yusuf Ben Tashmin, the Mosque of Golden Apples, the Bahia Palace and many other mosques, madrassas, palaces and fountains.

One of the most interesting places is the Market Quarter in Marrakech. It is equally popular with European tourists and locals. Everything here is real, authentic. This is not a decoration for tourists, but the very real life of Morocco. Here Moroccan women will put on your hands fancy henna patterns, in the stores and shops sell thousands of souvenirs in different styles – from lamps and carpets to jewelry.

Hotels in Marrakech, as in all tourist resorts, vary in stardom, but always unconditionally offer only good service and incomparable atmosphere of the East. The center of Marrakech – the Medina is a veritable open-air museum. Here is the mausoleum of Yusuf bin Tashfin, Kutubiya Mosque and the Bahia Palace. For lovers of winter sports there is a ski resort 75 km from Marrakech.

Essaouira used to be a haven for pirates. The resort is located 170 km north of Agadir. It is a charming town, similar to the southern cities of Spain. The buildings are built in Moorish style. The most famous scientists and artists from all over Morocco lived in Essaouira. In Essaouira, almost all year round you can go windsurfing, so this resort is very popular among fans of the sport.

Casablanca is the business center of Morocco and the largest city of the country. The central part of the city has skyscrapers and a huge mosque Hassan II, which can accommodate up to 25 thousand people at a time. Casablanca hosts the offices of banks, companies and foreign corporations. There is also an international airport named after Mohammed V, which was built using the latest technology.

Fez is a recognized center of cultural tourism with a large number of interesting museums. About 15 kilometers from the city there is a modern thermal center, where you can improve your health. Fez is one of the emperor cities in the country; here there are 800 mosques, the world’s oldest university and the Muslim shrine – the Mosque of Moulay Idris, built in the IX century.

Meknes is situated among beautiful and serene nature. It is itself a monument of antiquity. In the seventeenth century, Sultan Muley Ismail decided to translate his dreams into stone. The elegant palaces, beautiful mosques and shady gardens and parks are unique monuments of architecture, which will certainly be of interest to every curious tourist.

Tangier is spread out on the picturesque shore of the sea bay in a real amphitheater. In the central part of the city you can see the blue and white buildings of the old city, with minarets on the rocks, and on the left side of the towering modern high-rise buildings of new areas, on the right side immersed in the greenery of well-kept gardens are the buildings of the prestigious La Montagne district.

Tangier is one of the largest seaports of the country and very popular international resort with an excellent network of hotels. In the city you can see a lot of monuments, and the nature is very similar to the south of France, the beaches are in excellent condition.

Morocco tours of the country

The sights of this country and sightseeing tours in Morocco are some of the main reasons for the popularity of travel to North Africa, which attracts millions of tourists from all over the world every year. During tours to this really bright, picturesque, interesting and unique country, Morocco, you can see and visit many unusual sights that tell about the rich history of this country, its distinctive culture. Very convenient is also the fact that the resort areas with comfortable hotels are located in close proximity to the ancient cities of the country, each of which has its own unique characteristics.

Guests of the country are given great opportunities for exciting excursions. The main attractions of Morocco are primarily ancient mosques, madrassahs, military fortifications of different periods, the imperial palaces and tombs, places of pilgrimage, the magnificent gates of the ancient Medina, numerous museums with unique exhibits, Roman baths, fountains, located mostly in the ancient cities,

You can make sightseeing tours from absolutely any city or resort in Morocco.

Traditional, but certainly fascinating routes for sightseeing tours is to visit some of the famous cities of this country, especially rich in unique attractions. Morocco is very popular excursion tours in the southern part of the country – it is an area of Berber architecture, there are the most ancient landmarks of Morocco. Traces of Phoenician settlements that were located here in the first millennium BC have been found exactly in these places.

Combined tour programs in Morocco offer a great opportunity to diversify your holiday and make it more vivid and memorable. Resting on the beaches of the country’s Atlantic coast or spending your vacation at a ski resort in this country, you can make excursions, visit museums and unique historical sites, ecological tourism in Morocco, sea fishing and popular sports.

Morocco: currency

The currency of Morocco is the dirham, which is equal to 100 centimes. Moroccan dirhams can only be purchased within the country. Bills of 20, 50, 100 and 200 dirhams, coins of 1, 2, 5 and 10 dirhams and coins of 5, 10, 20 and 50 centimes are in circulation. One U.S. dollar is equal to about 7 dirhams, respectively one euro is 10 dirhams.

Currency in Morocco (as well as everywhere else) is best exchanged in a bank, it is strictly forbidden to change money in the street from your hand. It is against the law. The best place for currency exchange is a bank or a special exchange office with a gold inscription. You can cash money in the bank with a credit card, Travel Cheque or Euro Cheque. You can pay with credit cards in hotels, large stores, and restaurants.

Morocco: population, language, religion

The entire population of Morocco is about 34.9 million people. About 60% of the population are Arabs and the remaining 40% are Berbers. About 70 thousand citizens of Morocco are Jews. Other nationalities on the territory of Morocco is practically absent. State religion of the Kingdom of Morocco is Sunni Islam. As a result 98.7% of Moroccans are Sunni Muslims, only 1.1% are Christians and another 0.2% are Jews.

The official language of Morocco is Arabic. But the spoken language of the country is very different from the canonical Arabic and it is practically not understood in other Arab countries. In the north of the country many inhabitants speak Spanish, Berber and French are also common. Berber is spoken by 40% of the population of Morocco, mostly in rural areas. The language itself has three dialects. In hotels in Morocco, staff understands the European languages – English, Spanish, French and German.

Morocco: national cuisine

The cuisine of Morocco is rightly recognized as one of the most amazing in the world. It has absolutely all the ingredients used in various cuisines of the world. And the history of the kingdom itself has contributed to the formation of a unique, unique and delicious cuisine. Berber culinary traditions were enriched by the Andalusian Moors, who fled here from Spanish civilization. The culinary habits of the Turks who occupied Algeria have also been preserved. Moroccan cuisine was also enriched by the culinary traditions of the Arabs and their neighbors, the Jews.

Moroccan cuisine is based on fresh vegetables, grains, fruits and spices, meat and seafood, which are very rich in this land. Moroccan canned olives are world famous, and they are also popular among the locals. Various types of legumes are widely used in the Moroccan diet. Soybeans, lentils, beans, and grains are much and often used. As for rice, it appeared in the Moroccan cuisine quite recently because it was brought here by French colonizers.

The national menu of Moroccans has relatively few spicy dishes, but it is worth noting harissa – pasta, which is prepared from hot pepper, garlic, olive oil and salt, and it successfully fills this gap. The secret of the attraction of Moroccan cuisine is in this whimsical combination of spicy and sweet. While cooking any dish Moroccan cooks use numerous spices, juicy fruits and vegetables, meat and fish delicacies.

Couscous is a traditional dish for Eastern countries (including Morocco) you can try at any restaurant in the country. Recipes for its preparation vary in every region of the country. Couscous is a very hearty dish, which tastes best eaten by hand rather than with a spoon or fork. In Morocco, you must try the tender, melt-in-your-mouth meat of lamb, which is traditionally cooked in the oven or roasted.

Pastila is another wonderful traditional Moroccan delicacy that must be tasted. In Morocco, marshmallow comes in both sweet and savory flavors and is cooked with fish, chicken, and even milk for dessert.

Morocco: Local time

The time in Morocco is three hours behind Moscow in winter and four hours in summer.

Morocco: Transportation

The train is very convenient for traveling in Morocco. Train tickets can always be bought freely at the train station. Trains in Morocco are very safe and clean. You can also contact this travel agency Sahara Morocco Tours . In the city it is more comfortable to move around by cab. Hotels in Morocco usually offer their own cab service.

Morocco: Holidays and Holidays

The dates of religious holidays in Morocco depend on the lunar calendar and therefore constantly shift. Such holidays include the Muslim New Year, the birthday of the Prophet Mohammed, the end of Ramadan, and Sacrifice. Traditional holidays celebrated in Morocco are:

January 1 – European New Year.

January 11th – Independence Day

1 May – Labour Day

May 23 – National Holiday

9 July – Youth Day

August 20 – Revolution Day

November 6 – Green March Memorial Day

Many stores and government offices are closed on holidays.

Morocco: customs and visa regulations

Import and export of foreign currency in Morocco is not limited, but its circulation in the Kingdom of Morocco is prohibited. When exporting unspent currency, a bank certificate of exchange must be presented. It is prohibited to export antiques and works of art from Morocco without a special permit. There are restrictions on the import of professional photographic equipment (this does not apply to amateur equipment), and there are restrictions on the import of alcohol. In Morocco you may bring no more than one bottle of spirits and one bottle of wine, not more than 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars and 250 grams of tobacco.

The Kingdom of Morocco has switched to a unilateral visa-free regime with Russia. To enter Morocco, you must have a passport with a validity of at least 6 months from the beginning of your stay in the country.

Morocco: telephone numbers of emergency services

Russian Embassy in Rabat is located at: Rabat, 4 km, Route des Zaiers, Maroc. Phone: (+212) 537 75-35-09, 75-36-09, fax: (+212) 537 75-35-90. The Russian Consulate General in Casablanca is located at – (Consulat General de la Russie) 31, rue Soumaya (ex Pierre Puget), Casablanca, Maroc. Phones: (212) 522 25-57-08.

Local police – 19

Ambulance – 177

Country info – 16

Morocco: Other special features

Morocco is an Islamic country. Staying on the territory of the hotel does not oblige you to dress strictly. But if you are going on a trip to Morocco, we must remember that women are paid increased attention in this country. And when going out into the city is better to dress as closed as possible, so as not to arouse undue curiosity in the local men: arms and shoulders should be necessarily covered, preferably a long skirt or even pants. Women are better to travel in Morocco accompanied by a companion, not alone.

In Morocco, there are well-developed and modern thalassotherapy centers. Some hotels with spa centers offer a wide range of programmes, including those for young mothers, blood circulation toning, anti-varicose, beauty programmes, and many more. The thermal spa in Fes offers treatment of skin and gynaecological diseases, asthma and rheumatism. Agadir has a wonderful thalassotherapy center combining ancient Moroccan traditions and cutting-edge technologies.

No special vaccinations are required to travel to Morocco. However, be sure to take the necessary medicines from home, as if you do not know Arabic, in the local pharmacies you may not find the necessary drugs.

All banks in Morocco work from Monday till Friday from 8:30 till 15:45, the post office – from 8:30 till 15:45; stores – from 9:00 till 20:00. Weekends in Morocco are Saturday and Sunday. Small stores, cafes, restaurants are open on a free schedule, sometimes on holidays and weekends.

National Characteristics: To the intrusiveness of street vendors and “guides” should answer a polite, but a firm refusal. Pestering is a serious problem for foreign tourists in Morocco. As a guest, one should not refuse a second and third cup of mint tea – it is considered impolite.

In Morocco you must answer all questions, even if they seem immodest (e.g. what is your salary, how much does your video camera cost, what is your wife’s name) – these are the manifestations of politeness and friendliness in Morocco.

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