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Practical info about Morocco
Moroccan Geography is characterized by two main chains: The Atlas Mountains divided into three chains: the big Atlas, the middle Atlas, the small Atlas, one of the highest peaks is Toubkal. The mountains surround watering places and cities like Ifran, Marrakech, Agadir, Fes, and Meknes. In the north, the coast is chained by the peaks ranging from Tetuan to Nador. The Rif Mountains lie in northern Morocco, not part of the Atlas Mountains but part of an arch that swings up to the rock of Gibraltar and southern Spain. The Rif Mountains run from the coast at Tangiers and follow the rugged Mediterranean coastline, almost of the Algeria border, rising to 2448 above the sea level at their highest point. This rugged area has some fertile valleys used for agriculture, which is likely to include illegally grown cannabis, for which it has become famous to some. Within these mountains you will find white washed villages tarnished by blue in Andalusia style.
The Berbers or Imazighen which means "free humans" or "free men" are known to the world as Berbers. In fact, the word Berbers is offensive to these ancient inhabitants of North Africa and the Sahara desert. The name "Berber" is another one of many peccadilloes of the Romans who threw names at people left and right. They, along with the Greeks referred to every people they could not understand with the same unintelligible Berber language whether they were in the East or the West. The majority of the Moors in medieval "Arabic" Spain were actually Berbers, who had adopted the Arabic Moslem culture and Arabic as their written language. Even today the Berbers are ethnically -- but far from politically -- the dominant part of the populations of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Mauritania. Isolated Berber-speaking groups are found all over North Africa, from the Atlantic in the west to Egypt in the east. A colorful nomadic Berber tribe, the Tuaregs, whose male warriors wear blue dresses and indigo-colored veils, still roam the Sahara desert. Moslem yes, Arab no It may come as a surprise to hear that the North African Moslem countries Morocco and Algeria are, in an ethnic sense, not Arab nations at all, but Berber nations, speaking a completely different language than Arabic. Politically the Arab minority has dominated these countries for centuries, and has -- without much success, though -- attempted to eradicate the Berber language. This also holds true of the present leaderships in independent Morocco and Algeria, who up to now have tried to establish an Arab identity for their countries. In recent years the North Africa/Tamazgha -- Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya -- (= "land of the setting sun" in Arabic, i.e. the western part of North Africa) has experienced an awakening of Berber consciousness. Berber protests have had limited success, but they have at least led to the introduction of formal teaching of Berber in some Moroccan and Algerian schools and universities. The strong Berber desire to establish a national Berber identity appears to be accelerating. In 2001 and 2002 several Berber demonstrations have been held in Morocco and Algeria, calling for official acceptance of Berber identity and state-funded education in the Berber language.
As mentioned earlier, the Berber language has not been written - until fairly recently - except as short inscriptions on monuments. The Berber alphabet that was used for this task in antiquity is called Tifinagh and consists of a number of strange-looking phonetic symbols. It is probably derived from the Phoenician alphabet and has only symbols for consonants. Some Berber activists have tried to augment the consonant symbols with vowel symbols. This modern form of Tifinagh is sometimes heroically used to write Berber, most often only by the activists themselves. Most people who are literate in Berber use the Latin letter system for writing Tamazight. The name Tifinagh possibly means 'the Phoenician letters', or possibly from the phrase tifin negh, which means 'our invention'. Are you looking for more? only with Marrakesh Desert Tours you can explore an exotic land of Kasbahs, desert dunes and rose-filled valleys and to discover the hidden secrets of the ancients imperial Cities.
Morocco is an ideal destination for travelers, as it has plenty of sunshine and moderate temperatures throughout much of the country. Temperatures and weather patterns vary depending on the season and region, from the more Mediterranean climate on the coast to rainy and snowfall in the mountains (Ski Stations) to the sweltering heat found farther inland. A friendly country like Morocco must have friendly weather conditions too. Whether you love the sunshine or singing in the rain, Morocco has a season to suit everyone.
Morocco offers a tremendous diversity of habitats and climates which support a wide range of interesting species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, butterflies, plants and, most notably, birds – there are 460 bird species, 90 reptiles (50% more than in the whole of Europe) and 3,600 recognized plants, of which 17 %are endemic. Ecosystems and species of particular interest include: the Barbary Macaque inhabiting the cedar forests of the Middle Atlas Mountains, the coastal Euphorbia heaths of the Atlantic Coast, the Organ Forest of the south west, the Atlantic coastal lagoons supporting a massive bird population, the coastal steppes, famous for the rare Bald Ibis, the alpine species on the High Atlas plateaus and the Mouflon in the High Atlas Mountains.
Morocco with its privileged geographical position, unique Mountain conditions, and very characteristic climates has resulted in it having an attractive and fascinating Flora. Extensive stands of cork oak exist in the Atlantic coastal region, while rich evergreen oak, cedar, and pine forests are found on the slopes of the Atlas. In the steppe region, shrubs, jujube trees, and the mastic abound, and along the Wadis there are poplars, willows, and tamarisks. The olive tree is widely distributed, but the oil-yielding Argan tree, unique to Morocco, grows only in the Sous Valley. The desert is void of vegetation except for occasional oases.
The official language is Classical Arabic but Morocco has a distinctive Arabic dialect called Derija that is widely spoken throughout the country, while most of the words find their root in Standard Arabic, some words are borrowed from Spanish, French and Berber. As a majority of Moroccans have some Berber ancestors there are three Berber languages that are also spoken by over 10 million of the population, these being; Tarifit – Spoken in the Rif region Tachelhit – Spoken in Souss Valley Tamazight – Spoken in Atlas region. As Morocco has had many influences in its history French and especially in the north of Morocco Spanish are both widely spoken as is English in many cities and towns popular with tourists.
Mrocco unlike most other African countries, produces all the food it needs to feed its people. Its many home-grown fruits and vegetables include oranges, melons, tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, and potatoes. Five more native products that are especially important in Moroccan cooking are lemons, olives, figs, dates, and almonds. Located on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, the country is rich in fish and seafood. Beef is not plentiful, so meals are usually built around lamb or poultry. Flat, round Moroccan bread is eaten at every meal. The Moroccan national dish is the tajine, a lamb or poultry stew. Other common ingredients may include almonds, hard-boiled eggs, prunes, lemons, tomatoes, and other vegetables. The tajine, like other Moroccan dishes, is known for its distinctive flavoring, which comes from spices including saffron, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, ginger, and ground red pepper or a complex of them for example: Ras El Hanout Ras El Hanout is a complex, aromatic Moroccan spice blend. Most recipes include cardamom, nutmeg, anise, mace, cinnamon, ginger, various peppers, and turmeric, but 30 or more ingredients might be used. Typically prepared by grinding together whole spices, dried roots and leaves, this recipe keeps things simple by using ground spices. Sweets play a very important role in the Moroccan diet. Every household has a supply of homemade sweet desserts made from almonds, honey, and other ingredients. Mint tea is served with every meal in Morocco. It is sweetened while it is still in the pot.
Islam is the dominant religion in Morocco – the Sunni variant in particular. "Islam" is an Arabic word that denotes submission, surrender, and obedience. As a religion, Islam stands for complete submission and obedience to Allah – that is why it is called Islam. The other literal meaning of the word "Islam" is "peace." This signifies that one can achieve real peace of body and of mind only through submission and obedience to Allah. Such a life of obedience brings peace of the heart and establishes real peace in society at large". There are also about 100,000 Christians here, mostly of French descent, along with a reported 8,000 Jews who mainly live in Casablanca and Marrakech, in North Africa. Catholic churches, Protestant churches, and synagogues are found in all of the major cities.
The area of present day Morocco has been inhabited by several civilizations: Roman, Phoenician, Vandal, Byzantine and Portuguese. Numerous sites they attest: the ruins of Volubilis, Lixus Tamusida-the "Battle of the Three Kings". Morocco was a French protectorate from 1912 to 1956.Moroccan independence (2 March 1956).
1 euro is about 10 Dirham's; 1US-Dollar is 8 DH The dirham is a restricted currency and can't be taken out of the country, is not traded, and theoretically isn't available abroad. Dirham is normally purchased within Morocco, and can be obtained from bureau de change in airports, major banks and hotels, or from cash machines, which are widely available in major towns and cities and will take most credit and debit cards. Using a debit card at an ATM is often the easiest and cheapest method. In any case we suggest to our Clients to inform their bank before you travel if you intend to use a card, to stop them declining any transaction as an anti-fraud measure.
1 hour less in winter, 2 hours less in summer. We have tried to be precise as much as we can in what concern General information about morocco now it's your turn to experience the wonder, Heritage and culture of magical Morocco with authentic sahara Tours.