The Rough Guide To Morocco

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INTRODUCTION For Westerners, Morocco holds an immediate and enduring fascination. Though just an hour’s ride on the ferry from Spain, it seems at once very far from Europe, with a culture – Islamic and deeply traditional – that is almost wholly unfamiliar. Throughout the country, despite the years of French and Spanish colonial rule and the presence of modern and cosmopolitan cities like Rabat or ...

Series: Rough Guide Travel Guides
Paperback: 656 pages
Publisher: Rough Guides; 6th edition (June 4, 2001)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1858286018
ISBN-13: 978-1858286013
Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.1 x 7.7 inches
Amazon Rank: 13541498
Format: PDF ePub fb2 djvu book

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I bought this book a couple of months before my trip to Morocco at the beginning of 2009. Even though this book was published in late 2007, the prices and information are still accurate. I decided to purchase the rough guide because my previous exper...

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a more distant past constantly makes its presence felt. Fes, perhaps the most beautiful of all Arab cities, maintains a life still rooted in medieval times, when a Moroccan empire stretched from Senegal to northern Spain; while in the mountains of the Atlas and the Rif, it is still possible to draw up tribal maps of the Berber population. As a backdrop to all this, the country’s physical make-up is also extraordinary: from a Mediterranean coast, through four mountain ranges, to the empty sand and scrub of the Sahara.All of which makes travel here an intense and rewarding – if not always easy – experience. Certainly, there can be problems in coming to terms with your privileged position as tourist in a nation that, for the most part, would regard such activities as those of another world. And the northern cities especially have a reputation for hustlers: self-appointed guides whose eagerness to offer their services – and whose attitude to tourists as being a justifiable source of income (and to women as something much worse) – can be hard to deal with. If you find this to be too much of a struggle, then it would probably be better to keep to low-key resorts like Essaouira or Asilah, or to the more cosmopolitan holiday destination of Agadir, built very much in the image of its Spanish counterparts, or even a packaged sightseeing tour.But you’d miss a lot that way. Morocco is at its best well away from such trappings. A week’s hiking in the Atlas; a journey through the southern oases or into the pre-Sahara; or leisured strolls around Tangier, Fes or Marrakesh – once you adapt to a different way of life, all your time will be well spent. And it is difficult for any traveller to go for long without running into Morocco’s equally powerful tradition of hospitality, generosity and openness. This is a country people return to again and again.REGIONSGeographically, the country divides into five basic zones: the coast, Mediterranean and Atlantic; the great cities of the plains; the Rif and Atlas mountains; and the oases and desert of the pre- and fully-fledged Sahara. With two or three weeks – even two or three months – you can’t expect to cover all of this, though it’s easy enough (and highly recommended) to take in something of each aspect.You are unlikely to miss the mountains, in any case. The three ranges of the Atlas, with the Rif a kind of extension in the north, cut right across the interior – physical and historical barriers, and inhabited for the most part by the indigenous Moroccan Berbers. Contrary to general preconceptions, it is actually the Berbers who make up most of the population; only around ten percent of Moroccans are "pure" Arabs, although with the shift to the industrialized cities, such distinctions are becoming less and less significant.A more current distinction, perhaps, is the legacy of Morocco’s colonial occupation over the fifty-odd years before it reasserted its independence in 1956. The colonized country was divided into Spanish and French zones – the former contained Tetouan and the Rif, the Mediterranean and the northern Atlantic coasts, and parts of the Western Sahara; the latter comprised the plains and the main cities (Fes, Marrakesh, Casablanca and Rabat), as well as the Atlas. It was the French, who ruled their "protectorate" more closely, who had the most lasting effect on Moroccan culture, Europeanizing the cities to a strong degree and firmly imposing their language, which is spoken today by all educated Moroccans (after Moroccan Arabic or the three local Berber languages).