Moving to Morocco

 

 

Nature is not once far away in Morocco. Desert, mountains, valleys and sea - the country has a lot to offer to expats. The warm days and cool nights of autumn are also ideal for seeing the best of natural Morocco. The High Atlas Mountains are the most popular destination for trekking – most notably for fans of outdoor adventures.

Known in ancient times as Mauretania, Morocco is a country on the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts of Africa with around 35 million inhabitants. The languages spoken there are mainly the Arabic and Amazighe Berber languages, both of which are official languages of Morocco. 

The Arabic name for the country of Morocco is Al Maghreb meaning the “Western Kingdom”, but the western name Morocco comes from a name for the city of Marrakesh. It was once part of the Roman Empire until it was overrun by the Germanic Vandal tribe in the year 429. It was overrun by Muslims with the rise of Islam and remains Muslim to this day. Though it had several powerful empires in medieval times, it was a protectorate of France and Spain in the early 20th century before regaining independence in the year 1956. The country today is a Constitutional Monarchy ruled by King Mohammed the 6th, and the official currency of Morocco is known as the Dirham. There are around 100 thousand European expats, mostly French and Spanish nationals, living in Morocco. The Berbers are an ancient people who were recorded in history as the "Meshwesh" long ago by the Ancient Egyptians. They call themselves "Imazighen". They have their Tifinagh alphabet used for writing their language, derived directly from Phoenician letters.

Morocco also occupies much of the disputed desert region known as Western Sahara, which has been the cause of much political strife since the year 1976. Principal crops that grow in Morocco include olives, oranges, and almonds. Despite public Morocco still has a fairly high rate of illiteracy at around 50 percent. Ingredients often used in Moroccan cooking include chicken, beef, lamb, and couscous. Favorite genres of music in Morocco are chaabi music and trance music. The most popular sport in Morocco is soccer football. Both men and women in Morocco traditionally wear the djellaba, which has long sleeves and a hood. Famous cities in Morocco include Marrakesh and Casablanca.

There have been many foreign movies that were shot in Morocco because of its exotic desert terrain. Some of the more famous ones include The Man Who Knew Too Much, Lawrence of Arabia, Patton, and Black Hawk Down. Morocco allows nationals of most Western and industrialized nations to visit without a tourist visa for up to 90 days. Morocco has always been an ally of the United States and has the oldest unbroken treaty of friendship with the US dating to the American Revolution when there were troubles with Barbary pirates.

 

 

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