Geography of Morocco
Morocco is located at the northwest of Africa . It is bordered in the north by the strait of Gibraltar and the Mediterranean Sea ; to the south by ; to the east by and to the west by the Atlantic Ocean . The Moroccan coast extends over 3,500 km.
Area: 710, 850 square kilometers. Weather: The dominating weather in is Mediterranean , temperate in the west and the north by the Atlantic Ocean . Inside the country, the weather is more continental with significant differences of temperature. The Atlas area is very humid, it snows frequently. The south has desert weather.
Climate of Morocco
Morocco has a subtropical climate, tempered by oceanic influences that give the coastal cities moderate temperatures. Toward the interior, winters are colder and summers warmer. At high altitudes temperatures of less than -17.8° C (0° F) are not uncommon, and mountain peaks are covered with snow during most of the year.
Rain falls mainly during the winter months. Precipitation is heaviest in the northwest and lightest in the east and south.
Morocco is located at the crossroads of major trade currents and is close to European major markets. This situation gives Morocco a privileged place both on the financial and commercial levels. Morocco is a market largely open onto the external world and a traditionally liberal one. Foreign trade accounts for 35% of its G.D.P. and several important international groups have been active in Morocco for several years.
Art & Culture
"Morocco is a tree, the roots of which are planted firmly in Africa but has its branches in Europe"."...Quotation of late his Majesty Hassan II. In his book "Le Défi" (The Challenge).
The richness of the Moroccan culture comes from the various civilizations that Morocco encountered trough different eras in its history. From the Byzantine civilization to the Roman influence to the Arab civilization, then the Spanish and French colonization, Morocco is now a panorama of genuine values of multiculturalism and gets its unity in its diversity. That is how the Moroccan identity is preserved.
Morocco’s rich architectural heritage is evident in its mosques and madressahs. The mosques’ interiors are usually adorned with paved courtyards, fountains and elaborate mosaics. Delicate traceries surround doors and windows and embellish screens. The Al-Qarawiyin mosque in Fez is considered one of the most beautiful in the country. Moroccans are known for their handmade rugs (kilims). The rugs are made from wool or silk. Certain colours and designs are associated with particular regions. A good Moroccan carpet contains up to 480,000 knots per square metre and can take up to nine months to make.
There are many cultural influences coming from the French dominated colonial era, with which the way the democratic institutions are set up and operate even today. The artistic and the architectural influences are more widely related to the Spanish culture. The beautiful gardens with greenery, fountains and running water are most obviously influenced from the Andalusian Gardens. It is most probably a two-way influence ; first, from the Islamic background into Spain, and then from Spain back to the Islamic North African countries
Morocco’s location on the edge of the Sahara together with its historic trade links with the great ports of Europe has shaped its rich cultural traditions. The incomparable blend of mosques and minarets, spices and scents and great Imperial cities are a constant source of inspiration while our trek in the High Atlas provides a further compelling dimension to our journey. Our travels from Casablanca to Fes and Marrakesh provide a fascinating introduction to the souqs (the teeming markets) ; the medinas (the complex of palaces, mosques and minarets) and riads (the traditional houses where we sample spicy cuisine and unequalled hospitality) while in the ancient trading port of Essaouira we wander the narrow lanes that could be anywhere in southern Europe. The highlight of our journey is our trek in the Atlas Mountains. We follow trails through traditional Berber villages to alpine pastures where the summits of the High Atlas stretch before us. We also offer a non-technical ascent of Jebal Toubkal (4167m), the highest mountain in Morocco.
The Moroccan media landscape manifests a true dynamism in both the printed press and audiovisual media.
During the last years, there has been a substantial development of the printed press.
This development is bound to be reinforced thanks to the generalization of state aid to all national newspapers which abide by the criteria spelled out in the contract-program signed on March 11, 2005 by the Ministry of Communication and the Moroccan Federation of Newspaper Editors. by the Ministry of Communication and the Moroccan Federation of Newspaper Editors.
Likewise, the audiovisual sector has been deeply changing since the end of the state’s monopole : Promulgation of the law on the Audio-visual Communication, setting up of The high authority of audio-visual communication, and creation of the National Company of Radio and Television.
In addition, new TV channels have been launched such as the regional channel of Laayoune and the educational channel : “Quatrième”.
Al Al Maghribia, a satellite channel broadcasting 2M and TVM programmes has also been launched.
We cannot talk about the Moroccan media landscape without mentioning the Maghreb Arab Press Agency whose human resources, logistics and network of offices, inside the country and abroad, allow the collection and diffusion of a considerable mass of information.
Morocco’s varied landscapes, which range from a 3500-km (2170-mile) coastline to the forests, rivers and mountains of the Middle and High Atlas and the Sahara Desert, offer a wide choice of sports and leisure activities.
Golf :This is very popular in Morocco, partly because King Hassan II was an internationally ranked practitioner of the game. Some of the best-known of the country’s 16 golf courses are located at the Royal Dar es Salaam Golf Club in Rabat, which has three courses and annually hosts the internationally renowned Hassan II Trophy. Agadir has three courses : the Agadir Royal Golf Club is a par 36 while the beautiful Dunes Golf Club has three 9-hole par 36 courses (designed by a disciple of Robert Trent Jones). The third course, set around lakes, palm trees and eucalyptus, is the 5-star Golf du Soleil, which is a 27-hole par 72. The Marrakech Royal Golf Club is an 18-hole par 72 course located at the foot of the Atlas mountains. Marrakech has two other 18-hole courses : the Palmeraie Golf Club, designed by Robert Trent Jones in a setting with views of the Atlas mountains as well as easy access to the Atlantic beaches nearby ; and the Amelkis Golf Club. Other 18-hole courses include Ben Slimane and El Jadida (both near the Atlantic coast), Mohammedia Royal Golf Club (near Casablanca) and the Tangier Royal Golf. Apart from the Hassan II Trophy (see above), the Moroccan Open and Hassan II Challenge are noteworthy tournaments. The Mohammed VI Golf Trophy is held at Dar es-Salaam Royal Golf Course in Rabat at the end of March.
Altogether, there are approximately 30 golf courses in the country, including several new ones. A useful golf brochure and information on golfing holidays can be obtained from the Moroccan National Tourist Board (see Contact Addresses section).
Hiking and trekking: With its four distinct mountain ranges - the Rif, the Middle Atlas, the High Atlas and the Anti-Atlas - Morocco offers outstanding opportunities for hiking and trekking. Various trekking tours can be organised through the Moroccan National Tourist Office (see Contact Addresses section). Specialist tour operators offer a variety of treks including guided horse trekking in the mountains, and camping trips. One of the most popular treks in the High Atlas is the ascent of Jebel Toubkal (4167m/6668ft), North Africa’s highest peak. The Toubkal area is about a 1 hour drive from Marrakech and the usual starting point for this trek is the picturesque village of Imlil. Official mountain guides with mules are recommended for trips lasting longer than one day ; guides are widely available in Imlil. Accommodation is provided in refuges, gîtes (resting places) and small hotels along popular trails. Trekking is possible all year round, but the best time is from April to October. The canyons and gorges are best tackled from June to October (in summer, storms can make the gorges impassable).
Watersports: Sandy beaches offer safe swimming, although the Atlantic can be cold even in summer. Mohammedia, Agadir, El Jadida, Oualidia, Safi and Essaouira are all good bathing resorts. The Mediterranean coast in the north, opposite Spain, is being developed, and resorts such as Cabonegro (14km/23 miles from Tetouan) offer superb swimming and diving. Other dive sites can be found at Agadir and Essaouira. The rivers in the High and Middle Atlas ranges, particularly the Oum-er-Rbia, offer whitewater rafting throughout the year (visitors are strongly advised to use experienced guides). Fishing permits are necessary for trout streams, lakes and pike lakes, and are issued by the Waters and Forests Department or local clubs. Several ports are equipped for deep-sea fishing, such as Dakhla in the Sahara and Mohammedia near Casablanca.
Skiing: This is possible for several months each year. Ifrane in the Middle Atlas and Oukaïden in the High Atlas (70km/44 miles from Marrakech) offer skiing facilities. Other ski resorts include Mischliffen in the Middle Atlas, on the doorstep of Fès and Meknes. Mount Tidiquin in the Ketama district and Djebel Bou Volane in the Middle Atlas are popular areas for expedition-type skiing and walking trips (with few amenities).
Riding: There are horse riding clubs in all major towns, notably Agadir, Casablanca, Fès, Marrakech and Rabat. Several clubs organise pony treks in the Middle Atlas. The combination of travelling by mule and skiing (known as mule-skiing) is characteristic to the High Atlas and can be carried out from February to April. A useful brochure, The Great Trek through the Moroccan Atlas, is available from the Moroccan Ministry of Tourism or the Moroccan National Tourist Office (see Contact Addresses section). Camel riding (méharrées) is also available, both in the Atlas mountains and around the Sahara Desert area in the southwest.
Other: Also available throughout Morocco are 4-wheel-drives, incorporating visits to natural and cultural sights such as the 300m (984-ft) deep Gorge of Todra, the massive sand dunes of Merzouga and the Berber region of Ouarzazate. Most of these tours feature typical Moroccan feasts and barbecues. The famous Paris-Dakar motor rally passes through Morocco every year.
Morocco in Figures
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