Morocco is commonly known as the land of mystery and a place worth a visit. It is really a –hot spot for evrey visitor.
Morocco is a country located in North Africa, bordering the Atlantic Ocean on the west and the Mediterranean Sea on the north. It has a population of over 38, 8 million; indigenous Berber and Arabic people. The official languages of Morocco are Berber and Arabic and Rabat is its capital. The most famous and largest cities in Morocco are Casablanca, Marrakesh, Tangier, Fes, and Meknes. Morocco’s religion is Islam which considered the pillar and the principle of its culture. It is officially known as the kingdom of Morocco.
Historically speaking, Moroccan society is rich in culture and civilizations as it has been gone through different cultures by different colonization such as Rome, France, Arabs…..
Tourism is one of the most outstanding parts in the Moroccan economic sector. Due to the fact that Morocco is characterized by the very beautiful landscapes, high amazing mountains, long desert dunes, ancient medina ( Marrakesh, Fes, and Meknes) where traditional and old fashion stuff exist, and traditional Riads, is what encourage and attract so many tourists, all over the world, to visit Morocco.
As we talk about Morocco, It is crucial and necessary to know that it is a patriarchal society. Hence, there is a large part of the inequality between genders.
What you have to know about Morocco
The climate in Morocco varies according to season and location. For example, the temperatures in the south and southeast can reach over 50 degrees Celsius (over 120 degrees Fahrenheit) in the hot summer (July and August). Thus, the summer is the best time to explore the high Atlas (mountains and imperial cities….), and travel to the desert regions at this time is very hard and not recommended. In the winter (from December to February), the mountains are very cold than other areas, as the snow and the rain can be found. Hence, the winter is the best time to discover the desert Spring and autumn months are perfect as the rain is light and the temperatures are warm during the day and cool at night.
Islam is a predominant religion in Morocco; it has prevailed in Morocco since the 7th Century. The majority of Muslims in Morocco are Sunni (belong to Maliki School as the only source of instructions), and the second largest religion in the country is Christianity due to the fact that it has been the only religion in Morocco before the arrival of Islam. Recently, a remarkable number of the non- religious has been increasing in Morocco.
Muslims believe in one God (Allah) and the text they read is called Quran. Mosques are the main place of worship for Muslims in Morocco. By religion, Aid Al Adha is the biggest festival for them and Ramadan is the month of fasting.
Currency and Money
The currency of Morocco is Moroccan Dirham, the only one that is legally traded within Morocco. Dirham is a closed currency on account of the fact that it cannot be exchanged outside the country’s borders. However, all international airports, travel agencies, and banks in Morocco have a currency exchange counter but don’t forget to bring your passport if you want to use the bank.
Credit Card is also available in Morocco. It highly recommended for travelers as there are many ATM machines throughout the country, just you have to check with your bank to know where you can withdraw the money. More to the point, it is advisable to keep hold all your exchange and ATM receipts in order to convert your Dirhams back into your local currency when you leave (you can do it again at the airport or any travel agency).
The official languages of Morocco are Arabic and Tamazight (Berber). There are two varieties of Arabic language, namely Standard Arabic and Dialect Arabic. Standard Arabic is used in formal education, administrative offices, formal speeches, and Mosques (religion), while Dialect Arabic is used for communication on the street and in homes; it is used in casual conversations, and it is not used for writing. At the level of society, the vast majorities of Moroccans speak and understand French, and Spanish is largely widespread in northern Morocco and Western Sahara.
On the other hand, Berber language or the so-called Tamazight has three vernaculars (or varieties) that are mostly used in many rural areas of Morocco. They are Riffian or Riffia, Tashlhit, and Central Atlas Tamazight. All of these aforementioned varieties are mainly used in spoken discourse and that Berber speakers do not use them in writing.
Rabat is the capital city of Morocco, it is also called the green. Rabat is located on the Atlantic Ocean bordering the river Abou Regreg. Additionally, it is the political and Administrative city with a rich history. Some people argue that Rabat is not an advisable destination to visit on account of the fact that it is only a city of political and administrative affairs. However, those people are completely wrong; Rabat is full of exotic places such as Kasbah of Oudaias, Tour Hassan, Chellah, and so on.
Casablanca is the largest city not only in Morocco but also in the Maghreb. It is located in western Morocco. Casablanca is the core of economy and business in Morocco. It has about 3,35 million inhabitants (According to the statistics of 2014). Also, the city has a number of cultural attractions and historical sites: Hassan II Mosque, the largest mosque in North Africa with an incredible architecture, is worth to visit, the beautiful beach in the city with clean water and relaxed atmosphere, the Casablanca Cathedral (Cathédrale Sacré-Coeur) which is the typical of Mauresque architecture, and the Medina that is full of old fascinated restaurants and traditional buildings.
The famous tourist destinations
Morocco is one of the most tourist destinations over the world simply because it is rich in culture and history. In Morocco, there are so many attractions and famous places to visit. Hence, the most popular ones are as the followings: Marrakesh (Ancient Medina, Djemaa el-Fna square, Souk,…..), Fes ( the old and imperial city in Morocco), Tinghir ( the high mountains of Todgha Gorg), Merzouga (desert dunes), Essaouira (old town and Skala de Kasbah) , Casablanca (Hassan II Mosque), Meknes ( the imperial city) , and Chafchouen ( the blue city). “For more detail look at places to visit”
Cost of living
The cost of living here in Morocco depends on the area. For example, the cost of Living in the largest cities and famous places is highly expensive, but in small cities, villages, and rural areas, it is average. So to speak, Morocco is one of the cheapest tourist destinations all over the world. Based on our experience as locals, here is a list of the average prices of living in Morocco.
|Restaurants & Accommodation||EUR||USD|
|Meal (In expensive Restaurant)||2.75 €||2.38$|
|Three-course meal (mid-range)||13.69 €||11.86$|
|Meal at McDonalds (fast food)||4.57 €||3.96$|
|Domestic Beer (0.5 liter)||1.51€||1.31$|
|Coffee (regular cappuccino)||1.32 €||1.14$|
|Drinks (Coke/Pepsi. 0.33 L)||0.63 €||0.55$|
|Bottle of water (1.5 L)||0.57 €||0.49$|
|Luxury Accommodation||122 €||105.65$|
|Budget Accommodation||27 €||23.38$|
|Milk (regular. 1 liter)||0.64 €||0.55$|
|One Loaf of Fresh Bread||0.27 €||0.23$|
|Rice (white. 1kg)||1.07 €||0.93$|
|Five Eggs||0.48 €||0.42$|
|Fresh Cheese (1kg)||6.20 €||5.37$|
|Chicken Meat (1kg)||3.80 €||3.29$|
|Fresh Beef (1kg)||6.88€||5.96$|
|Apples (1kg)||1.09 €||0.94$|
|Banana (1kg)||0.96 €||0.83$|
|Oranges (1kg)||0.52 €||0.45$|
|Tomato (1kg)||0.42 €||0.36$|
|Carrot (1kg)||0.41 €||0.36$|
|Potato (1kg)||0.55 €||0.48$|
|Pepper (1kg)||0.46 €||0.40$|
|Onion (1kg)||0.40 €||0.35$|
|One Piece of Lettuce||0.34 €||0.29$|
|Back of Cigarettes (Marlboro)||3.01 €||2.61$|
|Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range)||6.45 €||5.59$|
|One-way Ticket (Local Transit)||0.42 €||0.36$|
|Grand Taxi (Taxi Start. Standard Tariff)||0.59 €||0.51$|
|Petit Taxi (Taxi per 1 Km. Standard Tariff)||0.55 €||0.48$|
|Grand Taxi For 1hour traveling (Standard Tariff)||3.20 €||2.77$|
|Renting Car (per one day)||27.34 €||23.68$|
|Fuel (1 liter)||0.93 €||0.81$|
|Rent Per Month|
|Apartment in City Centre||292.02 €||252.89$|
|Apartment Outside of Centre||182 .51€||158.05$|
|House in Small village||136.88 €||118.54$|
Based on the fact that Morocco is highly known for its incredible and delicious foods, the most popular ones are Tajine, Couscous, Tanjiya, Pastilla, Harira (soup), Zaalouk, Spicy fish, Bissara, Kabab (brochettes), Snail soup, Rfissa, Steamed sheep head, and these foods vary considerably from one area to another. More commonly, you can find these foods in restaurants, Riads, hotels, popular places ( Jaama Elfena and Elhdim Square), as well as in all tourist destinations in particular.
Luckily, Morocco has a variety of drinks that bring pleasure to every visitor. To get you started, here is a list of the most famous drinks that you have to taste while visiting Morocco:
Mint Tea, the national drink, is considered to be a symbol of hospitality by Moroccans. It is fundamentally served many times per day, especially during the meal time. It is available everywhere and at any time.
Sugar cane juice(freshly squeezed juice) is a sweet and natural drink that is made from the cane, and it can be found mostly in popular places such as Elhdim and Jaam Elfna, as well as in old medinas.
Raib is a traditional yogurt made of fermented milk. It is smooth, thick, and natural. Also, it is available in snack restaurants, popular districts, and public squares. It is highly consumed in the month of fasting (Ramadan).
CoffeeCoffee is the only drink that the majority of Moroccans preferred while sitting in the cafe. Basically, there are two common kinds of coffee that are available in restaurants and cafes. They are: the black coffee or the so-called ‘coffee Noire’, which is made of espresso and a little sugar, and the mixed coffee (Nas Nas), as it is a blend of milk and espresso. Besides, spiced coffee, a traditional homemade coffee, is made of milled beans of coffee and a small amount of fragrant spices. Note this type of coffee can be found only in homes.
Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice apart from the aforementioned drinks, orange juice is one of the loveliest drinks in Morocco because of its high benefit (loaded with Vitamin C). It is offered by street vendors in public squares like Jamaa El Fena (in Marrakesh) or Lhdim (in Meknes), and squeezed in front of you while you ask for some. Moreover, orange juice is the best drink for an overheated.
Alcohol Islam, as we all know, is the pillar of Moroccan culture. Thus, drinking alcohol is definitely forbidden in public. If you want to drink wine, you should go to the bar; there are many bars in Morocco, especially for tourists. It is also available in the big supermarkets (such as Merjan, Asima, Carrefour, Bell veil, and so on), clubs, discos, hotels, as well as in the liquor stores. Additionally, the country is locally producing the so-called red wine and beer as the most typical kinds of alcohol.
Moroccan music is well known for its great diversity from both the traditional and the modern genres, as well as from one region to another. Indigenous Berber and Arab people all have made special contributions to the musical heritage of Morocco.
There are so many varieties of Berber music in Morocco, namely Rifiya (Riff Regada), Soussia (ahwash), Atlasia(Ahidous), L3tawiya, as well as Berber folk as the traditional genre. Also, Arabic music has its own varieties such as the Chaabi (the popular genre of Arabic music), the Andalousia or what we called Malhoun, ELhasania, and Gnawa. Elghita or Ghita , traditional wooden flute, is also a very common genre of music that is typically practiced by both Arab and Berber. It is widely played at wedding parties or during special occasions in Morocco.
Hanna or Tattoos as a part of Moroccan traditions
Hanna or Tattoos is considered as an art of painting on the skin, especially on the hands, feet, and the face. Also, it can be used to dye the hair and nails. Hanna is typically performed by a simple needle infiltration, and it is last for about 3 or 4 weeks. For Moroccans, Hanna is a symbol of welfare, happiness, pleasure, and good luck. In this respect, Berbers also believe that Hanna can protect them from illness and evil eyes.
In Morocco, Hanna is associated with many occasions such as wedding parties, the festival of Aid AL Adha (the festival of sacrifice), circumcision, rates of hospitality and passage, Battle victories, births, and other religious events.
At weddings, for example, people commonly decorate their hands and feet with Hanna as an act of celebrating and joy, and it takes place the night before the wedding ceremony.
Many tourists come to Morocco to experience the beautiful art of Hanna. The artists of Hanna can be found in famous places such as the square of Djemma el Fna in Marrakech, Square of El hdim in Meknes, the souk of Fes, and so on. Moreover, it is available in some Riads and Hotels, where you can ask for an artist to offer you a Hanna design in your accommodation
In popular places, two kinds of Hanna can be found. The traditional pure Hanna and the Black Hanna, this latter is not safe and may cause allergic reactions. Thus, it is best to ask for the traditional one.
Morocco’s National hoidays
- January 1 : New Year (Gregorian calendar)
- January 11 : Independence Manifesto
- March 3 : Throne Day
- May 1 : Labor Day
- May 23 : National Day (Amendment of the Constitution)
- July 9 : The Youth Day (King's Birthday)
- August 14 : The Commemoration of Oued Eddahab
- August 20 : The Revolution of the King and the People
- November 6 : The Commemoration of the Green March
- November 18 : The Independence Day
Morocco’s Religious HolidaysThe dates yearly vary as they are fixed according to the Islamic lunar calendar
- 1st of Moharram : New Year (Muslim calendar)
- 12th of Rabi Al Awal : Aid El Mawlid ( the Birth of the Prophet Mohamed)
- 1st of Shawwal : Aid El Fitr ( the end of Ramadan)
- 10th of Dhu Al Hijja : Aid El Adha (Commemoration of Abraham's sacrifice)
Morocco is often named one of the safest countries all over the world, and its cleanliness and low crime rates make it a haven for every visitor. However,the pickpocket is the only thing to be careful about, especially in the big cities and crowded places. Keep your money hidden in your pouch or in your bag and enjoy the moment.