Morocco borders Algeria to the east ―although this border has been closed since 1994―; with Spain to the north, with which it shares maritime and land borders; and with Western Sahara to the south, whose sovereignty it claims, it is disputed with the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic and partially occupies, after invading it in 1975 and leaving Spain in 1976, which was to decolonize it.
As a country located in Africa according to NATUREGNOSIS, Morocco became independent from France and Spain in 1956. It first became a sultanate and later proclaimed itself a ‘kingdom’. The first head of the new state was Mohammad V, who would change his title from “Sultan” to “King of Morocco.” Upon his death in 1961, he was succeeded by his son, Hassan II.
“Morocco” is written
- المغرب (al-Maġrib) in Arabic
- ⵎⵓⵔⴰⴽⵓⵛ (Murakuč) in Berber
“Kingdom of Morocco” is written
- المملكة المغربية (al-Mamlaka al-Maġribiyya) in Arabic
- ⵜⴰⴳⵍⴷⵉⵜ ⵏ ⵎⵓⵔⴰⴽⵓⵛ (Tageldit-n-Murakuč) in Berber
The Moroccan railway system is normal and, although limited, it has first class at cheap prices. Rail fares are among the cheapest in the world, although a supplement must be paid on air-conditioned trains. They have sleeper cars and a restaurant. The network runs from Oujda in the northeast to Casablanca on the eastern coast, Tangier on the north coast and Marrakech in the interior. Main routesSiste: Marrakech-Casablanca-Rabat-Meknes- Fès-Oujda; (b) Marrakech-Casablanca-Rabat; (c) Marrakech-Casablanca-Meknes-Fès and Casablanca-Rabat-Tangier. The most useful route is from Fès to Rabat and Casablanca, with five daily and two night trains. There are also two daily trains and a night train (without sleeper car) from Casablanca to Marrakech. (Railway Information)
The main Moroccan roads, particularly those in the north and northwest of the country, are roads in good condition all year round. In the interior, south of the Atlas Mountains, the journey gets much more difficult, especially through the Atlas Mountains in winter. Car: The main centers are connected by a wide variety of car services, many of which are private. The two largest companies are CTM (covering the entire country) and SATAS (between Casablanca, Agadir and south of Agadir).
Bus: Connections between most major towns and villages are regular and frequent, although buses can be full and it may be wise to buy tickets in advance and arrive well before departure time to ensure a seat. Ticket prices are very low, especially with some of the smaller local bus companies.
Taxi: In large towns. Large taxis, usually Mercedes, used for trips outside can be shared, but rates must be agreed upon prior to departure. Car rental: Avis and Hertzio can deliver cars in Gibraltar or Tangier, Agadir Rabat or Casablanca. Generally the price is expensive. Documentation: Foreign Driving Permits are accepted. Insurance and Green Card are mandatory.
Morocco is the ideal starting point for the traveler to Africa. An easy jump from Europe, it can be a friendly, hectic and exhilarating place. Open-air markets are piling up across the country with rugs, wood carvings, and jewelry. The first product in the country (if you don’t count hashish) is leather, which they say is the finest in the world.
Morocco has developed a mosaic of artistic traditions. The thread that unites everyone is music; of the classical style that he developed in Muslim Spain and the storytelling musical traditions of the indigenous Berbers through the contemporary fusion of African and French styles. Although more identified with Algeria, the rai (opinion) is the most powerful musical style in the cities of Morocco. Despite its Arab-African rhythms (it owes much to Bedouin music), they combine electric instruments to create a hypnotic effect.
Crafts are important in Morocco. Its Maronquinerie has been commercially appreciated since the 16th century. An equally rich heritage is kept alive in the production of carpets, pottery, jewelry and wood carvings.
Painted and sculpted boards for interior decoration along with tiles are still widely used in interior ornamentation in religious buildings and wealthy houses. The mashrabiyya, screens that allow Muslim women to observe the occurrences in the street without being seen.
Morocco has inspired all kinds of artists. The French Neo-Baroque artist Eugene Delacroix consecrated the bucketloads of painting to Moroccan imagery after a visit in 1830. Market scenes, harem life, and lion hunts dominated his canvases. A century later Hollywood also entered a kind of Morocco-mania. First with Marlene Dietrich in Morocco. This was followed by the 1942 Casablanca and later Peter O’Toole as Lawrence of Arabia, the country had become a fantasy land.
Spoken Moroccan Arabic (darija) is considerably different from the Arabic spoken in the East. Various Berber dialects are widely spoken in the countryside and particularly in the mountains. Morocco tends to march to its own Islamic feeling in terms of lifestyle, although here too men remain firmly dominating everything. The strict segregation of the sexes in public life can seem strange to the visitor.
Moroccan food is good and solid, without being overly exciting. The national dish is couscous, semolina accompanied by vegetables and lamb. Tea is the Moroccan drink par excellence. There is no general prohibition on alcohol.