Tourism in Morocco
Table of contents
Morocco stands out among other countries by its geographical location, heritage and climate, this affects the tourist traffic, as these features represent strong factors of attraction for tourists, and the state itself is interested in developing this sector. The late King of Morocco “Hassan II” said, “Morocco is a tree whose roots lie in Africa but whose leaves breathe in Europe”, this sentence reflects the distinction of the country’s geographical location, which is located in the north of the continent of Africa, where it is bordered from the north by the Mediterranean Sea, from the east by the State of Algeria, from the south by Mauritania, and from the west by the Atlantic Ocean, and it is separated from Spain by the Strait of Gibraltar in the north, where there are two towns in this narrow strip, “Melilla and Ceuta,” which Spain and Morocco dispute over.
The most important tourist cities and landmarks in Morocco
Marrakesh is located in the southeast of the capital, “Rabat”, it is the third largest inhabited city in Morocco. The city combines a distinctive mixture between eastern and western cultures, as it combines the authenticity of the past and the splendor of the present, some of its most important tourist attractions are:
- Jamaa el Fna Square: This popular square, located at the entrance to the city of Marrakesh and its beating heart, is an attractive destination for the locals and tourists from all over the world to enjoy and learn about the heritage of that city, to eat traditional Moroccan meals, to enjoy snake shows presented by magicians and drawing Moroccan henna, tattoos and others.
- Jardin Majorelle: is one of the most attractive destination for tourists in Marrakesh, and is classified as one of the best places suitable for family tourism and is intended by everyone who loves recreation and wish to be distant from the hustle of the city. Visitors to the garden can take a stroll therein, practice walking and jogging, and they can also sit and enjoy the stunning views of the water ponds, fountains, green spaces, and various types of trees and plants (there are about 300 species of plants that have been cultivated in an organized and harmonious manner). The garden includes also houses characterized by its blue paint and the plants that surround it, and the Islamic Museum, which includes the most important artifacts dating back thousands of years, the garden also provides public services such as a parking lot, a cafe and public baths. The garden bears the name of the French artist “Jacques Majorelle” whose drawings fill the place, which represent 40 years of creativity.
- Bahia Palace: The construction of the palace dates back to the nineteenth century by order of Minister Ahmed bin Musa, and it has now become a museum intended by visitors from all over the world. There are 150 rooms in the palace, some of which are designed as royal rooms, some to receive visitors, and others for servants, and the furniture designed in the Ottoman style dazzles visitors with its grandeur, one of the most amazing places is the well-decorated reception hall of the palace, and the galleries that include collectibles and valuable artifacts that explain and show the ancient history of this palace.
- Ben Youssef Madrasa: was established by Sultan Abu Al-Hassan Al-Marini in 1346 AD during the era of the Marinid state (they are a Berber dynasty that ruled Morocco from the thirteenth century AD to the fifteenth century), it is considered one of the most famous schools in Morocco throughout history, as it included great writers and scholars. It is also distinguished by the accuracy of its architecture, inscriptions, and decoration, thus it is a strong attraction for the locals and tourists from different parts of the world.
Fez City in Morocco
Fez was founded by Idris II and made it the capital of the Idrisid state in 182 AH (the eighth century AD), it is the second largest inhabited city in Morocco. This historic city provides an opportunity for its visitors to see and discover the ancient culture and enjoy strolling through the cobblestone streets, its ancient doors that suggest nobility, and its distinctive archaeological monuments, some of its most important tourist attractions are:
- Al-Attarine Madrasa: located north of the Al-Qarawiyyin Mosque, and was built by Sultan Abu Said Othman during the reign of the Marinid state. The school is distinguished by its Moroccan design and beauty, which reflects the techniques used by artists in Morocco to decorate their monuments, different materials were also used such as stones, wood, ceramic mosaics, and others. It is also distinguished by its floors that reflect the Moroccan heritage, which are designed with green and blue tiles, remarkable classroom designs and a fountain located in the backyard, the school has become a strong attraction for thousands of visitors.
- Gates of Fez: such as: Bab El-Hadid, Bab Samarin, Bab al Fatuh, Bab Mahrouk, Bab Khoukha, Bab Makina, Bab El Magana, Bab Bou Jeloud, Bab Dekkakin, Bab Guissa, Bab Al Shams, Bab Chorfa, Bab Sidi Boujida, Bab Al Amer, Dar El Makhzen, Bab al-Shama’in, and others.
- Dar Batha Museum: was built by Mawla Al-Hassan and completed by Sultan Moulay Abdel-Aziz in 1897 A.D. It was designed in a Moroccan-Spanish style, and turned into a museum in 1915 A.D. The museum covers an area of about 10,000 square meters (hectares), it was initially a rest house or a summer residence for royal members. Dar Batha Museum is intended by visitors who love ancient arts and Moroccan heritage as it includes many exhibits, such as artifacts and handicrafts.
Chefchaouen or the Blue City
Chefchaouen is located in northern Morocco, and was established by Moulay Ali Ibn Rashid in 1471 to be a home for the Muslims of Andalusia after the Spaniards expelled them. UNESCO chose Chefchaouen to be a symbol of the Mediterranean diet in 2010 AD due to its distinguished geographical location. It is also characterized by its calmness and the blue paint that covers its houses and streets and is mixed with green due to its location above the Rif mountains and the forests covered by greenery. Some of its most important tourist attractions are:
- Akchour waterfall: is about 29.2 km away from the city of Chefchaouen, it consists of a low waterfall that looks like a small lake, and another waterfall that is located at a high altitude and descends between the mountains, so that the water falls into Akchour Lake. The water of Akchour waterfall is clear and blue, and swimming is allowed therein.
- District Souika: like the city of Chefchaouen, is covered by blue and white paints, and includes many shops that sell local products. It is also distinguished by the oldest houses in the city, which belong to Andalusian families who lived there a long time ago. Visitors seek District Souika to enjoy watching these Ancient houses, the wall fountain, and shopping.
- Kasbah: is one of the first buildings established in the city of Chefchaouen, it is located in the west of the city specifically in Wata El Hammam Square. Visitors and tourists visit Kasbah to enjoy the view of the Andalusian style in which the Kasbah was built, and to see the outer wall in the middle of ten towers, the square and its private garden, and the main courtyard or hall in the middle of which is a fountain. Tourists and visitors may also visit the ethnographic museum there, which includes a number of artifacts, which explain the culture of Chefchaouen over five centuries. There are also traditional costumes and jewelry, and at the top of the Kasbah Tower, a wonderful panoramic view of Chefchaouen can be seen.
Casablanca is the largest city in Morocco, the first in terms of population in Morocco and the third in Africa. It is located in west-central Morocco, about 95 km away from Rabat, the “capital”, and is considered the most famous city on the tourist level, due to its civilized development and that it combines a mixture of Arab and European countries. It is also distinguished by its buildings, heritage neighborhoods and historical monuments, which built with European touches. Some historians say, but it is uncertain, that it was built by the Zanata Berber tribe at the beginning of the twentieth century. Casablanca developed until it became the economic capital of Morocco, some of its most important tourist attractions are:
- Muhammad V Square: is the main square and the most important landmark of Casablanca, it includes the headquarters of the French Consulate. This square was officially opened in 1920 and was designed by the French engineer “Joseph Marst”, the designs of the main square are a mixture of Andalusian Islamic arts and French arts.
- United Nations Square: is one of the most attractive places for tourists in Casablanca, and is close to shopping centers and restaurants. The square is located in the middle of the city of Casablanca, and before colonization, it had a large market. It was formerly called (the Square of the Clock) due to the construction of the clock tower therein, which was ordered to be built by the French leader “Dessigny” in 1908, then it was named (France Square). A globe-shaped sculpture was built, which is what distinguishes the square so far and was designed by the architect “Jean-François Zivaco”, then a tramway and a station were constructed.
- Hassan II Mosque: was designed by the French engineer “Michel Pinso” in the Andalusian-Moroccan style, its construction began in 1987 AD and was completed in 1993 AD. It was built on an area of about 90,000 square meters and its height is approximately 210 meters, Hassan II Mosque includes a toilet, a library, a museum, a Quranic school, an ablution hall, and a prayer hall with an area of approximately 20,000 square meters, which can accommodate about 25,000 worshipers, and the courtyard accommodates about 80,000 other worshipers. The mosque is also distinguished by its view of the ocean, as it was partially built on the sea, it is the largest mosque in Morocco, the second largest mosque in Africa, and the thirteenth in the world.