Morocco is in the Maghreb region of north Africa, and is home to such romantic cities as Casablanca, Marrakesh and Tangier. Formerly a French colony and now a monarchy, the country is a fairly liberal Islamic country. Arabic and Berber are the official languages, while French is also used widely. Morocco is fascinatingly varied, with majestic mountains and Saharan dunes, a craggy coastline and snaking alleyways in medieval cities. In the areas close to the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts, the climate is similar to southern California, and you can find waterfalls and caves in lush, forested hills. Inland are the dramatic and beautiful mountain ranges of the High Atlas and the Rif. There are also vast swathes of the Sahara. The nomadic ‘Blue Men’ still traverse the desert dressed in robes and turbans, refreshing themselves and their camels at the very rare oases.
In stark contrast, the cities are teeming with life, and the medinas, or medieval quarters, are intriguingly exotic. The medina in Fez (the capital in past centuries) is the world’s largest inhabited medieval Islamic city, and a Unesco World Heritage site. Moroccans (made up of Berbers, Arabs and Saharawis) remain close to their traditions, as they tend to their date palms, weave richly coloured and intricately designed carpets or trade spices in the medina. Many hours are spent sipping mint tea in cafes, and tajine is a favourite dish. Now world-famous, this stew is often flavoured with spices and served with couscous, cooked and served in an earthenware pot with a distinctive conical lid. Read More
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