For an exotic vacation, Morocco could be your destination of choice. Located on the continent of Africa, across the Strait of Gibraltar from Spain, Morocco is a country that has a long interesting history and culture that some people might find fascinating and want to explore. One of the features of Morocco that makes the country so fascinating is that it contains such a variety of multi-ethnic groups which helped shape the country into being what it is today. Many different groups of people have come to Morocco throughout history that includes Phoenicians, Jews, Arabs, Moors, Romans, and Vandals. Even though Morocco is in Africa, it is commonly referred to as an Arab country. By identity, much of the population is Arab, yet Morocco places much importance on the protection of its diversity and the preservation of its cultural heritage by allowing each group to posses its own uniqueness contributing to the overall culture. To get to Morocco, there are three major international airports located in the cities of Tangier, Agadir, and Casablanca. Most of the long distance flights arrive in Casablanca. A very modern airport, it has some convenient options to transport you to other locations in and around Morocco. If you don’t like flying or just want something different, there are several car and passenger ferry services which offer routes between Gibraltar, Spain, Italy and France to Morocco.
Spectacularly diverse, Morocco combines deserts, mountains, seas, sun and snow. Morocco is only 14 km away from Spain, across the strait of Gibraltar. The Atlas mountain range splits the country in half, separating the fertile plains from the beaches of the Atlantic coast. The middle atlas range reaches an altitude of 3000 meters above sea level, and oak and cedar forests, grasslands and small lakes surround it. The Rif Mountains stretch along the north coast. In the south, bordering the Anti-Atlas, the gorges have rivers that flow until they drain into the endless sands of the enormous Sahara.
In Morocco, various climates exist within a few hours travel from each other: from the snow-capped Atlas to the desert to the beach. The average annual daylight hours are over eight hours a day in Agadir, Fez, Marrakech and Ouarzazate, with an average temperature of 21 º Celsius. Whether planning to go to the beach or to the mountains, it is important to know the temperatures and weather conditions in Morocco each season. Such data can be found at http://www.meteoma.net/
Morocco is considered an Arab-Berber country. About 40% acknowledge a Berber identity, though many more have Berber ancestry. Berbers are identified primarily by language but also by traditional customs and Moroccan culture - such as the distinctive music and dances. Berber is not yet officially recognized in Morocco, though French is. Arabic remains the official language of Morocco and used in daily socio-economic and cultural activities.
Morocco's history began with the Berbers, the aboriginal people who have inhabited the country since the end of the 2nd millennium BC Rome extended its rule over the area after defeating Carthage in 146 BC, and testimony to its presence still exists in the fine Roman ruins at Volubilis. As Rome fell into decline Morocco was invaded first by the Vandals and then, in the 7th century, by the Arabs. Although external Arab rule lasted little more than a century, the arrival of Islam proved to be a permanent addition to Moroccan culture. In the ensuing centuries a series of ruling dynasties came to power, including the Idrissids, the Almoravids, and the Almohads, but none seemed capable of long maintaining the critical support of the Berber leaders.
By the 15th century Spain and Portugal began to intrude into Morocco, after having expelled the Moors from their own lands. Although Morocco successfully repulsed these invasions, the tide of European imperialism eventually proved too great. By the middle of the 19th century Morocco's strategic importance had become evident to all of the European powers, and they engaged in a protracted struggle for possession of the country. Finally, in 1911, France was formally acknowledged as protector of the greater part of the country, with Spain receiving a number of isolated locales. French rule came to an end in 1953, although its cultural influence on Morocco remains strongly in evidence. Today the country is ruled by King Mohammed VI. He appears to be leading Morocco toward both long-term stability and a greater degree of economic prosperity.