Discover Morocco’s rich history and culture, learn about its diverse landscapes and fascinating cities. Packed with epic adventures from camel tours across the Sahara to hiking around the Atlas Mountains, this magnificent country reveals its magic to you along the way.
Morocco is an enchanting country with a rich, diverse history and vibrant culture. A magical land where goats climb argan trees, exotic spices grab your senses, and decorative patterns with striking colors are found everywhere from the textiles to the architecture and art. In this post, we wanted to share basic facts about Morocco’s culture and landscape.
Morocco is located in Northern Africa directly across from the Strait of Gibraltar in Spain. It borders two incredible bodies of water: The North Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.
Despite its primarily mountainous terrain, there is also the mystical lure of the desert in Morocco and lush palm tree oases that are scattered throughout the southern regions of the country. From Casablanca to Marrakech, Fez to Ouarzazate, and in between, you will encounter the scenic landscapes and friendly people of this fascinating country.
By traveling around the country, you will learn interesting facts about Morocco’s culture. From the deep-rooted, indigenous Amazigh/Berber people to semi-nomadic tribes living on the outskirts of the Sahara Desert. Moroccans are warm, welcoming, and hospitable people. The culture of Morocco has been influenced by many different ethnicities: Arabs, Jews, French, and Spanish.
Whether you decide to book a Morocco package tour, luxury Morocco tour, or just wing it on your own, Morocco has much to discover. From a camel tour to quad biking adventures in the Zagora Desert, Morocco is an unforgettable adventure waiting to happen. Let’s take a peek at this multi-faceted country and all of its remarkable, cultural treasures.
A Very Brief History
Since Neolithic times, Morocco’s terrain was inhibited and the earliest known people were nomadic, originating from the Near Middle East. Morocco’s indigenous people are the Amazigh/Berber. ‘’Berber’’, meaning ‘’barbarian’’ was the name given to these natives by the Romans. The first people to invade the country were the Phoenicians who came from Lebanon around 800 BCE followed by the Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals and Byzantines. The Arab invasion and conquest in the late 7th century BCE introduced Islam and many people converted to Islam. Today, Morocco is an international cultural hub with tourism and textiles as its primary industries.
The people of Morocco are friendly, tolerant, and welcoming to foreigners. You will likely be invited to the home and treated like family. Be prepared to receive excellent hospitality and eat way too much! For centuries, Morocco has been home to several ethnic groups: Amazigh (Berber), Phoenicians, Romans, Carthaginians, Portuguese, Turks, Moors, Arabs, Spanish, and French. Today, the two major ethnic groups are the Imazighen (plural for Amazigh) and the Arabs. Many of the Imazighen still live in rural mountain villages throughout the country.
Rabat is the capital city of Morocco that is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a very open-minded big city with many fascinating sites. Here you can visit the ancient Hassan Tower, the Kasbah of the Udayas, a magnificent ancient citadel with gorgeous gardens, and wander around the medieval city of Chellah that stretches along the Bou Regreg River.
Casablanca is a major metropolis and Morocco’s largest city. Experience the charm of the locals by wandering around the old medina. Browse through Villa des Arts, the largest museum in the city with an extensive collection of Moroccan cultural delights and impressive contemporary artworks. Admire the enchanting architecture of the King’s Palace and the Hassan ll Mosque, the second-largest mosque in the world. You can also book a Casablanca Marrakech tour for an exclusive experience of two majestic cities.
Tangier is a beautiful port city that has inspired many artists from Matisse to Picasso. Marvel at the stunning beauty of the Kasbah(fortress) as you stroll the grounds where the sultan once lived and learn about the history of this incredible structure at the Kasbah Museum. Just outside of the city to are the legendary Caves of Hercules where mythology morphs with nature to activate your imagination while you enjoy scenic sea views from the cave’s entrance.
Marrakech is Morocco’s cultural capital. Famous for its souks (markets) and raids – traditional homes with incredibly decorative interiors converted into boutique hotels. Visit Jardin Majorelle, a gorgeous and expansive botanical garden created by the French painter, Jacques Majorelle, with an electric blue art deco style house once occupied by Yves Saint Laurent. You can also explore the Bahia Palace, watch snake charmers perform at Jemaa el Fna or wander the Saadian Tombs. If it’s the adventure you seek, embark on a Marrakech Sahara Desert journey that takes you through the stunning landscapes of the Atlas Mountains all the way to the golden sands of the Sahara.
Fez is notorious for the Chouara Tannery, the oldest tannery in the world where artisans have been making beautiful leather goods here since medieval times. Let yourself get lost in Fez’s old town where you can soak up the city’s ancient energy and be amazed by countless, dazzling treasures that fill the souks of the medina. Roam through the mellah (Old Jewish Quarter), see the stunning mosaics that decorate the Medersa Bou Inania, and visit Quaraouiyine Mosque, one of the oldest libraries in the world that is still functioning.
Chefchaouen is the infamous, blue city whose cobblestones street wind up the Rif mountains and captivate people from around the world. The hypnotic shades of blue that decorate the homes and buildings have inspired millions of tourists to try and capture its magnificence. It’s no surprise that this city has become one of the best and most popular places to take photographs in Morocco.
Although the majority of the population are of Amazigh/Berber descent, the most widely spoken language is Moroccan Arabic. The Amazigh/Berber language is Tamazight and it is the second most common language of the country. Both languages have multiple dialects and are taught in schools. Important secondary languages include French and Spanish. English is becoming more widely used due to tourism. Learning a few words and basic phrases in the native languages before you go will help to make your trip more enjoyable.
Morocco is home to countless natural wonders that are the heart and soul of the country. Your trip to Morocco would not be complete without a camel tour through the Sahara, Agafay, Merzouga, or Zagora Desert. Sahara Desert treks are the most breathtaking and the most popular providing a true Moroccan adventure experience. Looking to explore places of the beaten track? Try quad biking adventures and ride through beautiful landscapes and remote villages. You can experience the breathtaking waterfalls of the Cascades d’Ouzoud, be amazed by the incredible magnitude of the canyon at Todra Gorge, breathe in the exotic plant life that flourishes at Jardin Majorelle and be mesmerized by the tide pools of Essaouria.
Morocco also has two mountain ranges: the Rif and Atlas. The Rif mountain range is composed of limestone peaks that border the Mediterranean and span across the north. The Atlas Mountains run from northeast to southwest and are divided into three parts: The High (starting near the Atlantic and include Mount Toubkal (the highest point in all of Morocco) the Middle (rise to the North) and the Anti-Atlas stretch towards the southwest.
The cuisine of Morocco bursts with aromatic flavors and draws influences from Amazigh, Arab, Jewish, Andalusian, and French cultures. Famous culinary dishes include couscous and tagines, meats and vegetables slow-cooked in a clay pot with a conical shaped lid. Sardines are another staple and are prepared in several different ways, all delicious. Enjoy a glass of sweet and refreshing Moroccan mint tea with your new local friends.
Now that you’ve had a glimpse of what Morocco has to offer, all you have to do is plan your itinerary. Get updated about the current Morocco travel vaccinations and remember to book that Sahara Desert trip! Magnificent Morocco awaits your visit and promises you an unforgettable experience.