Morocco, in long form the Kingdom of Morocco or the Sharifian Kingdom, is a country in North Africa belonging to the Maghreb. The political capital is Rabat, while the economic capital and largest city in the country is Casablanca.
The country is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, by Spain, the Straits of Gibraltar and the Mediterranean Sea to the north by Algeria to the east and south by Mauritania.
The Moroccan climate is both Mediterranean and Atlantic,; with a hot and dry season coupled with a cold and wet season. The end of the warm period is marked by the October rains. The presence of the sea reduces the temperature differences, moderates the seasons and increases moisture in the air (400 to 1000 mm of rain on the coast). In the innner parts of the country, the climate varies with the altitude. Summers are hot and dry, especially when the sirocco blows hot or Chergui, summer wind from the Sahara. At this season, average temperatures are 30°C to 35°C. Winters are cold and wet with frost and snow. The average temperature ranges from -2°C to 14°C, and can drop to -26°C. In mountainous areas, precipitation is very large (over 2000 mm of precipitation in Rif or 1800 mm in the Middle Atlas). The pre-Saharan Morocco and the Sahara has a dry desert climate.
Morocco has about 31 million citizens. Throughout the twentieth century, the country has experienced rapid population growth – six times the size of the population in 1912. During the same period the proportion of urban residents has increased steadily reaching 55% in 2005. the country now has about thirty cities with over 100,000 inhabitants.
The most represented religion is Islam, which comprises 98.7% of believers. Islam is the official religion, but the coexistence with other religions is effective (the practice of other revealed religions is in fact guaranteed by the constitution). The day is punctuated by five calls to prayer. Religious life follows the Muslim calendar. It begins in 622, the year the Prophet of Islam Mohammed left Mecca to Medina to establish where he had many more followers. The year hegira, lunar year, consists of 12 months, but is shorter than the solar year. Ramadan and important religious holidays vary with respect to the Gregorian calendar. Civilian life is governed by the Gregorian calendar. Unlike other Muslim countries, the weekend consists of Saturday and Sunday. Friday is not a holiday but public administrations and extend their lunch break to allow the faithful to go to prayer.
There are a number of languages in Morocco, but the two official languages are Modern Standard Arabic and the Amazigh (Berber) language. Moroccan Arabic (known as Darija) is the spoken native vernacular. There are 15 to 18 million Berber speakers in Morocco, about 50 to 65% of the population. French remains Morocco’s unofficial second language, and is taught universally and serves as Morocco’s primary language of commerce and economics; it is also widely used in education and government. Morocco is a member of the Francophonie. Spanish is spoken by some Moroccans, especially in the northern regions. English is spoken sporadically in the business, science and education sectors but its usage and learning have grown over the last decade, especially since 2002, when English instruction was introduced from the 7th grade in public schools.
Although the vast majority of its population is Muslim, Morocco is a multicultural country in particular by its contact with the Phoenicians, Romans, Byzantines, Vandals, Arabs, French and Spanish. The traditional Moroccan cuisine is extremely rich and varied, it has a good position in the international ranking. Couscous and tagine, are considered well-known traditional dishes common in this region. They are prepared with mutton or fish and assorted vegetables. During the holidays, we eat other Moroccan dishes and finest: the pastilla, tajine of meat with honey, prunes and almonds, barbecue … The music in Morocco is very diverse and consists of five large groups or families of music: Berber music, African music, international music, music of southern Hassani and Arabic music. The clothing is different from one region to another and from one age to another, most married women wear veils and djellabas. The girls do not wear veils, they put on jeans and t-shirts but certainly one conservatively knowing that men feel embarrassed when they see a woman wearing a short dress.
Morocco has different companies who offer transportation between their cities. The most organized are CTM, SUPRATOURS, STCR. who offer services of good quality and comfort. The prices depends on how far you go. ONCF connect the major cities by railways. For the national airline RAM provides regional flights weekly. There is also intercity transportation by mini-bus or large taxis that can carry six persons and small taxis for transportation within the cities.