Morocco is situated on the North West coast of Africa. It incorporates a number of famous geographical names such as the Atlas Mountains and the Sahara Desert, as well as being home to some of the most evocative cities on the African continent. Morocco has a monarchy and the current head of state is Mohammed VI.
Morocco has widely varying climates depending on which part of the country you may be in. Casablanca, Rabat and Agadir are somewhat cooled by the Atlantic breezes due to their coastal positions. Marrakech and Fes on the other hand are both situated inland, so are slightly more arid and much hotter. The Atlas Mountains experience the full spectrum of temperatures, with snow and freezing temperatures at the higher attitudes during the winter months, and the Sahara to the east is extremely hot. The hotter inland temperatures are confined to summer, with these areas colder than coastal areas in the winter.
The capital of Morocco is Rabat, but foreign visitors may be more aware of the cities that have captured the attention of the popular media such as Tangiers, Casablanca, Marrakech and Agadir; all of these places along with Rabat have an ancient past and attract large numbers of foreign visitors each year.
Indeed, many of these cities crossed into the realms of popular fiction and film during the 20th century. Casablanca is one of the most famous films in the history of the medium, starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. The film is set largely in 'Rick's Bar', where the mood, decor and surrounding area tend to match our notion of Casablanca life.
The Rolling Stones, as well as many figures in the world of literature set up temporary home in Morocco in the 60s, helping to add to the bohemian image that Morocco tends to exude.
Casablanca is Morocco's biggest city, facing out to the Atlantic; Morocco has two coastal frontiers - Atlantic to the West and the Mediterranean to the North East. Casablanca also has the largest population of any Moroccan city, in excess of three million. The city is home to the Hassan II Mosque, which is one of Morocco's most impressive Islamic buildings. The Old Medina and the Mohamed V Square are typically Arabian.
The public square is often the centre of a city's life in Morocco, and the Jemaa El-Fna square in Marrakech is the busiest on the African continent, acting as a trade emporium and meeting place for all kinds of businesses and performers.
Morocco has sustained that 'Arabian Nights' allure for many generations, and tourism to the country looks set to flourish into the new millennium with the government setting ambitious visitor targets.
Last updated: 21 February 2014