Top Ten Moroccan Attractions

Top Ten Moroccan Attractions

       Morocco is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 square km, and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara. It is part of the Maghreb region, in addition to Tunisia, Algeria, Mauritania and Libya, with which it shares cultural, historical and linguistic ties. Morocco is a constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament. The King of Morocco holds vast executive powers, including the possibility of dissolving the parliament. Executive power is exercised by the government but more importantly by the king himself. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of parliament, the Assembly of Representatives and the Assembly of Councillors. The king can also issue decrees called dahirs which have the force of law. Parliamentary elections were held in Morocco on September 7, 2007, with voter turnout estimated to be 37%, the lowest in decades. The political capital is Rabat, and the largest city is Casablanca; other large cities include Marrakesh, Tetouan, Tangier, Salé, Fes, Agadir, Meknes and Oujda. Most Moroccans speak at least one of the two languages, Berber and Moroccan Arabic as a mother tongue. Both languages have regional dialects and accents.

  1. Marrakech

    Marrakech or Marrakesh, known as the “Red City,” is the most important former imperial city in Morocco’s history. The city of Marrakesh is the capital of the mid-southwestern economic region of Marrakech-Tensift-Al Haouz, near the foothills of the snow-capped Atlas Mountains, being also the 2nd largest city in Morocco. Like many North African cities, the city of Marrakech comprises both an old fortified city (the médina) and an adjacent modern city (called Gueliz) for a total population of 1,070,000. It is served by Ménara International Airport and a rail link to Casablanca and the north. Marrakech has the largest traditional market (souk) in Morocco and also has one of the busiest squares in Africa and the world, Djemaa el Fna. The square bustles with acrobats, story-tellers, water sellers, dancers and musicians. By night food stalls open in the square turning it into a huge busy open-air restaurant.
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  2. Tetouan

    Tetouan is a city in northern Morocco. The Berber name means literally “the eyes” and figuratively “the water springs.” Tetouan is one of the two major ports of Morocco on the Mediterranean Sea. It lies a few miles south of the Strait of Gibraltar, and about 40 mi (60 km) E.S.E. of Tangier. In 2004 the city had 320,539 inhabitants. Arabic is the official language but it is not used for everyday dialogue. The city has its own dialect, a particular variant of Arabic which is distinct from Jebli Arabic. However, Jebli arabic is predominant since people from the neighboring rural areas settled in the city during the 20th century rural flights. The use of Spanish and French is still widespread especially by the businessmen and intellectual elites. Its main religion is Islam, though a small Christian minority lives in the city.
  3. Casablanca

    Casablanca is Morocco’s largest city as well as its chief port, located on the Atlantic Ocean in Western Morocco. The 2004 census recorded a population of 2,949,805 in the prefecture of Casablanca and 3,631,061 in the region of Grand Casablanca. Casablanca is considered the economic and business center of Morocco, while the political capital city of Morocco is Rabat. Casablanca hosts headquarters and main industrial facilities for the leading Moroccan and international companies based in Morocco. Industrial statistics show Casablanca retains its historical position as the main industrial zone of the country. The Port of Casablanca is one of the largest artificial ports in the world, and the largest port in North Africa.
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  4. Rabat

    Rabat, literally “Fortified Place,” is the capital and 3rd largest city of the Kingdom of Morocco with a population of approximately 650,000 (2010). The city is located on the Atlantic Ocean at the mouth of the river Bou Regreg. On the facing shore of the river lies Salé, Rabat’s bedroom community. Together with Temara the cities account for a combined metropolitan population of 1.8 million. Silting problems have diminished the Rabat’s role as a port; however, Rabat and Salé still maintain important textile, food processing and construction industries. In addition, tourism and the presence of all foreign embassies in Morocco serve to make Rabat one of the most important cities in the country. Controversy surrounds sweatshop labor by major multinational corporations in the area. Rabat is accessible by train through the ONCF system and by plane through the nearby Rabat-Salé Airport.
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  5. Aït Benhaddou

    Aït Benhaddou is a fortified city, or ksar, along the former caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakech in present-day Morocco. It is situated in Souss-Massa-Draâ on a hill along the Ounila River and has some beautiful examples of kasbahs, which unfortunately sustain damage during each rainstorm. Most of the town’s inhabitants now live in a more modern village at the other side of the river; however, ten families still live within the ksar. Several films have been shot here, including; Lawrence of Arabia (1962), The Man Who Would Be King (1975), Jesus of Nazareth (1977), Time Bandits (1981), The Living Daylights (1987), The Mummy (1999), Gladiator (2000), Alexander (2004) and Kingdom of Heaven (2005).
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  6. Volubilis

    Description: Volubilis is an archaeological site in Morocco situated near Meknes between Fez and Rabat along the N13 road. The nearest town is Moulay Idriss. Volubilis features the best preserved Roman ruins in this part of northern Africa.
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  7. Meknes

    Meknes is a city in northern Morocco, located 130 km (81 mi) from the capital Rabat and 60 km (37 mi) from Fes. It is served by the A2 expressway between those two cities and by the corresponding railway. Meknes was the capital of Morocco under the reign of Moulay Ismail (1672–1727), before it was relocated to Marrakech. It is the capital of the Meknes-Tafilalet region with an estimated population of 985,000 (2010). Meknes is named after a Berber tribe which was known as Miknasa (native Berber: Imeknasen) in the medieval North African sources.
  8. Essaouira

    Essaouira is a city in the western Moroccan economic region of Marrakech-Tensift-Al Haouz, on the Atlantic coast. Since the 16th century, the city has also been known by its Portuguese name of Mogador or Mogadore. The Berber name means the wall, a reference to the fortress walls that originally enclosed the city.
  9. Fes el Bali

    Fes el Bali is the oldest and walled part of Fes, Morocco. Fes el Bali was originally founded as the capital of the Idrisid Dynasty in between 789 and 808 AD. Besides being famous for having the oldest university in the world, Fes el Bali, with a total population of 156,000, is also believed to be the biggest car-free urban area in the world. The world heritage site includes Fes el Bali’s urban fabric and walls and a buffer zone around Fes el Bali. Fes el Bali is, along with Fes Jdid and the French-created Ville nouvelle, one of the three main districts in Fes.
  10. Agadir

    Agadir is a major city in southwest Morocco, capital of the Agadir province and the Sous-Massa-Draa economic region.
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  11. El Jadida

    El Jadida is a port city on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, in the province of El Jadida. It has a population of 144,440 (2004). From the sea, El Jadida’s old city; has a very “un-Moorish” appearance; it has massive Portuguese walls of hewn stone. El Jadida, previously known as Mazagan, was seized in 1502 by the Portuguese, and they controlled this city until 1769, when they abandoned Mazagão. Its inhabitants were evacuated to Brazil, where they founded new settlement Nova Mazagão, now in Amapá. El Jadida was then taken over by Sultan Mohammed ben Abdallah. The Portuguese Fortified City of Mazagan was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004, on the basis of its status as an “outstanding example of the interchange of influences between European and Moroccan cultures” and as an “early example of the realization of the Renaissance ideals integrated with Portuguese construction technology.” The modern city of Essaouira (containing some of the earliest recorded Phoenician settlement history of Morocco: the archaeological ruins of Mogador) connects to El Jadida from the south via the R301 road.
  12. Tangier

           Tangier, preferred, sometimes Tangiers is a city in northern Morocco with a population of about 700,000 (2008). It lies on the North African coast at the western entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar where the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Spartel. The history of Tangier is very rich due to the historical presence of many civilizations and cultures starting from the 5th century BC. Between the period of being a Phoenician town to the independence era around the 1950’s, Tangier was a place, and, sometimes a refuge, for many cultures. However, it was not until 1923 that Tangier was attributed an international status by foreign colonial powers, thus becoming a destination for many Europeans, Americans and Indians alike. The city is currently undergoing rapid development and modernization. Projects include new 5-star hotels along the bay, a modern business district called Tangier City Centre, a new airport terminal and a new soccer stadium. Tangier’s economy is also set to benefit greatly from the new Tanger-Med port. Tangier’s sport team I.R.T. (or Ittihad Riadi de Tanger) is the main football club and has the most followers. Tangier will be one of the host cities for the 2015 African Nations Cup soccer championship, played at the new Ibn Batouta Stadium and in other cities in Morocco.
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  13. Ruins of Chellah

    Chellah or Sala Colonia is a necropolis and complex of ancient Roman Mauretania Tingitana and medieval ruins at Rabat, Morocco. It is the most ancient human settlement on the mouth of the Bou Regreg River.
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