Morocco

Morocco is a North African country that has a coastline on both the North Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. Morocco has got Moroccan western Sahara independence in 1973.

Ethnically speaking, Morocco is composed mainly of Arabs and Berbers or a mixture of the two. Sizeable numbers of Berbers live mainly in the coun.try’s mountainous regions, long areas of refuge where they have preserved their language and culture. Morocco's long struggle for independence from France ended in 1956. The internationalized city of Tangier was turned over to the new country that same year. Morocco annexed much of the Western Sahara, a former territory of Spain, in 1975.

Gradual political reforms in the 1990s resulted in the establishment of a bicameral legislature in 1997, although the King still possesses the actual political power.  The major resources of the Moroccan economy are agriculture, phosphates, tourism and textiles

Accomodation

Hotels in Morocco are a matter of choice and fit every budget. Classified hotels are 1 star (simple) to 5 star (luxury), and are classified as an auberge, riad, rural gîtes d’étape or hotel. Stays usually include breakfast, and many include dinner. Auberges are found in the country or in rural small towns, and are built in the traditional mud (kasbah) style, many with wood burning fireplaces and salons or roof terraces for taking meals. Auberge are very comfortable, small and usually family run and owned.

Riads or Dars In Marrakech, Essaouira, Fes or anywhere there is a medina (old city), small hotels renovated from old houses are called riads or dars. These are often small (about 6 rooms or less), clean and charming, often with to a lovely walled garden where breakfast is served on an inner patio or up on a roof terrace. Dars are usually too small to have a swimming pool, but riads may have what is called a plunge pool to cool off in during summer months. Some are in former merchant houses or palaces and may have large opulent rooms and gardens. These are ideal places to stay in Morocco, and can range in price from budget to splurge depending on size and amenities.

Gîtes d’étape are simple country inns and hostel style places, where mountain trekkers can grab a hot shower, a good meal, and have a roof over their head for one night. Desert bivouacs are traditional nomad carpeted wool tents with a mattress, sheets and blankets. You can shower at the auberge where you will also have breakfast.

Food

Moroccan cuisine is often reputed to be some of the best in the world, with countless dishes and variations proudly bearing the country’s colonial and Arabic influences. Unfortunately as a tourist through Morocco, especially if you’re on a budget, you’ll be limited to the handful of dishes that seem to have a monopoly on cafe and restaurant menus throughout the country. Most restaurants serve dishes foreign to Morocco considering that Moroccans can eat their domestic dishes at home. Apart from major cities, Moroccans do not generally eat out in restaurants so choice is generally limited to international fare such as Chinese, Indian and French cuisine.

 

Horse Festivals

The deafening roar and rising dust of oncoming trucks from all over the region marks the start of one of the most celebrated festivals in Morocco. During the year, the small town of Tissa is a quiet community, tucked away in the treeless hills of the Moroccan countryside, just fifty kilometers away from Fez. But in the month of October, the town is transformed into a sight of medieval festivities, color and music. It is the annual Tissa Horse Festival and it is seen as a calendar event.

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