"The Sheltering Sky"
is one of the famous writings that covers the myths of Morocco.
The author Paul Bowles describes the steady search of man for the sense of living. Artists of all colours like Henri Matisse, Orson Welles or Jimmy Hendricks came to Morocco searching for intense living.
Morocco is described as "oasis of the senses" and rightly so! The clarity of colours and the play of light attract all visitors. Morocco is generously endowed by cultural highlights and a beautiful landscape. Extensive sandbeaches along the Atlantic and the Meditarrenean coast, the majestic mountains of the High- Middle- and Anti-Atlas, "Le Grand Sud" with its Saharan regions and its oases. Lets add the legendary imperial cities of Meknes, Fes and Marrakech with their intractable Medinas. Alongside the modern cities like Casablanca and the capital of Rabat with the great palace of the young King Mohammed VI or M6 like all people call him.
::: Population and Religion
When the Islamic Arabs conquered the Maghreb region in the 7th
century, part of the resident Berbers escaped to the higher regions of the Atlas mountains. It is interesting that even today approx. 40% of all Moroccans speak one of the 3 Berber dialects - Tamazight, Tachelheit or Tarafit - as their mother tongue. 25% of the population is of Arabic origin. The dark skinned population of Morocco are descendants of slaves imported from southern Africa and live mostly in the oases of the Great South. The formerly important jewish communities have been reduced to approx. 20,000 members. The economic circles of Morocco speak French.
Arabic is the only language admitted for religious or legal procedures.
Islam is the religion of state. King Mohammed VI is the political leader as well as the religious chief of the Islamic community of Morocco. The more liberal Sunnite branch of Islam prevails. In all major cities there are protestant, catholic churches and synagogues alongside numerous mosques.
::: Climate and Travel Season
The core of Morocco forms part of the more moderate subtropical zone with dry summers and rainy winter seasons along the coast. The marginal southern desert regions present a transition to a natural desert climate which is marked by high differences between night and day temperatures.
For sightseeing trips spring and autumn are recommended plus winter for the Sahara regions.
::: Kasbahs - Special Berber Architecture
Ksours (Sing: Ksar) are the most fascinating type of settlements in South Morocco. They are fortified villages which are occupied mostly by one single tribe. The complex of 2-3 storied mud houses contains mosques, hammams and storage rooms. Often you see a Kasbah emerging from a Ksar. A Kasbah is occupied by a special tribe or nobles. Often they are found on prominent spots.
Kasbahs originated principally in the passage of the nomads of the Sahara. And even today they dominate the landscape of the High Atlas region up to the edge of the Sahara.
In the high valleys of the desert rivers Ziz, Todra, Dades and Draa they form the "Road of the Kasbahs". Of the well kept Kasbahs the oldest today may be 300 years old.
- Location: Morocco lies south of Spain, west of Algeria, at the northwest tip of Africa.
- Aera: 711000km² incl. West Sahara
- Population: approx 34 mio - 40% below 14 years
- Capital: Rabat (1,5 mio)
- Highest elevation: Djebel Toubkal 4.167m
- Languages: Arabic, French (commerce), Spanish (in the north), Berber - tamazight, tachelheit, tarafit - (Atlas and South)
- Kingdom - the King has absolute power. 2-chamber parliament. Independence in 1956.
- Religion: Islam is state religion (99% Sunnites), christian and jewish minorities.
- Money: Dirham - 1€ = ca. 11 Dirhams
- Time zone: GMT +0h (daylight saving: GMT +1h)
- Electricity: 220V