Morocco

Capital: Rabat, Population: 35,28M, Currency: Moroccan Dirham

History

Morocco is a sovereign country located in the Maghreb region of North Africa. Geographically, Morocco is characterised by a rugged mountainous interior, large tracts of desert and a lengthy coastline along the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea.

In 1912 Morocco was divided into French and Spanish protectorates, with an international zone in Tangier, and regained its independence in 1956. Moroccan culture is a blend of Arab, indigenous Berber, Sub-Saharan African, and European influences.

Mohammed VI is the King of Morocco. He ascended to the throne on 23 July 1999 upon the death of his father, King Hassan II. Shortly after he took the throne, Mohammed VI addressed his nation via television, promising to take on poverty and corruption, while creating jobs and improving Morocco's human rights record.

Culture

  • Morocco is an ethnically diverse country with a rich culture and civilisation. Through Moroccan history, it has hosted many people coming from East (Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Jews and Arabs), South (Sub-Saharan Africans) and North (Romans, Andalusians).

  • Art and music festivals take place throughout the country during the summer months, among them the World Sacred Music Festival at Fès.

  • Each region possesses its own specificities, thus contributing to the national culture and to the legacy of civilization. Morocco has set among its top priorities the protection of its diverse legacy and the preservation of its cultural heritage.

Language

  • Morocco's official languages are Arabic and Berber. The country's distinctive group of Moroccan Arabic dialects is referred to as Darija. Approximately 89.8% of the whole population can communicate to some degree in Moroccan Arabic.

  • French is widely used in governmental institutions, media, mid-size and large companies, international commerce with French-speaking countries, and often in international diplomacy. French is taught as an obligatory language at all schools.

  • About 5 million Moroccans speak Spanish. Spanish is mostly spoken in northern Morocco and the Spanish Sahara because Spain had previously occupied those areas. Moroccans in regions formerly controlled by Spain watch Spanish television and have interactions in Spanish on a daily basis.

Food

  • Moroccan cuisine has long been considered as one of the most diversified cuisines in the world. The cuisine of Morocco is mainly a fusion of Moorish, European and Mediterranean cuisines.

  • Chicken is the most widely eaten meat in Morocco. The most commonly eaten red meat in Morocco is beef, usually eaten in a Tagine; lamb is preferred but is relatively expensive. The main Moroccan dish most people are familiar with is couscous, the old national delicacy.

  • The most popular drink is "atai", green tea with mint leaves and other ingredients. Tea occupies a very important place in the culture of Morocco and is considered an art form. It is served not only at mealtimes but all through the day, and it is especially a drink of hospitality, commonly served whenever there are guests. It is served to guests, and it is impolite to refuse it.

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