The territory of Morocco is approximately 710,8S0 square Kilometers. The Moroccan coast extends over 3,500 Km.
Morocco has primarily a Mediterranean climate. The Atlas region has sufficient rainfall with frequent snow. In the South, a desert climate prevails.
Main river: Draa (1,200 Km); Oum Rbia (600 Km); Sebou (500 Km); Moulouya (450 Km); Bouregreg (250 Km).
Main Mountains: Rif (2, 465 m); Middle Atlas (3,326 m); High Atlas (4,165 m); Anti Atlas (2,531 m).
Arabic is the National language but French is widely spoken in the North and the South.
Islam is the State religion. Except for a rather small Jewish community, all Moroccans are Muslim. The Constitution guarantees the freedom of religion and states that the King is the "Amir Al Muminin" (the Commander of the faithful). Morocco has been known for centuries as a land of religious tolerance where Churches, Synagogues and Mosques coexist in peaceful harmony. Churches and Synagogues thrive especially in the large cities which now accommodate a large foreign community.
In 788, Moulay Idriss created the Idrissid Dynasty and the first Muslim State in the West. The country has since been ruled by a number of dynasties (The Almoravides, The Almohades, The Merinides, and the Saadians).In 1660, the current ruling Alaouite Dynasty succeeded in keeping out invaders. Many coastal cities like Tangier, El Jadida, and Essaouira were occupied at different times by European powers, mainly Spain and Portugal.
In 1912, Morocco became a French protectorate while Spain occupied the North and the South of the country. After World War I, Tangier became an International Zone (occupied by over 20 Western countries, including the USA).
Morocco finally gained its Independence in 1956. The Saharan provinces (under Spanish control) were returned to the Kingdom after the "Green March" organized by King Hassan II in 1975. In spite of Moroccan independence, two cities (Sebta and Mellilia), in Northern Morocco are still administered by Spain.
The Constitution: the 1972 Moroccan Constitution, revised on September 4, 1992, guarantees : the freedom of movement, equal rights to education and to employment, multiple political parties, the right to strike and the respect of human rights as they are universally recognized.
The Government is composed of a Prime Minister and a Cabinet of Ministers (appointed by the King upon proposition of the Prime Minister). It is responsible to the King and the House of Representatives. It enacts the laws and oversees the bureaucracy.
The Legislative Branch: The Legislative branch consists of a Parliament elected for 6 years. There are 333 deputies including 2 women. Two-thirds of the members are elected by universal direct suffrage and one-third by indirect vote (municipal, labor and professional electoral college).
The Judiciary Branch: The Judiciary authority is independent from the Legislative and the Executive branches.
The judges are nominated by the King upon the proposal of the Higher Judiciary Council
Currency: the Dirham (DH) is the unit of currency ($1 US is currently valued at 9.50 DH). The Central Bank (Banque du Maroc) adjusts, on a daily basis, the rate of exchange of the dirham with respect to a "basket" of 20 foreign currencies.
Energy: efforts are being made to develop the production of energy in order to achieve self-sufficiency. Morocco is exploring the development of new sources of energy such as uranium and solar energy. The gas pipeline planned to link Algeria with Spain via Morocco will also be an important energy source.
Mining: Phosphates are considered to be Morocco's greatest natural resource (Morocco is the third largest producer and the world's first exporter of phosphates). Morocco also has large reserves of Phosphate rocks and produces enough lead, copper, coal and zinc for domestic consumption.
agricultural production has
two major parts : dry-land
and irrigated farming. Dry-
land farming occupies over
80~ of the arable land and is
dominated by the production
of cereals (wheat) and
vegetables. Some of Morocco's
- citrus (Morocco is the world's second exporter of citrus);
- large scale production of sugar beet and sugar cane;
- the development of early vegetables for export.
The school year starts in mid September and ends in June. It is divided in three trimesters (with a two-week school break both at the end of December and March).
The lengths of the different levels of education are as follows:
*Pre-school: 2 years
*Basic education: 6 years of primary school and 3 years of preparatory school.
*High school: 3 years
The school hours are 30 hours per week in primary school and between 30 and 34 hours in high school. The students who graduate from high school are awarded a diploma called "Baccalaureate" which enables them to attend the Universities or to take the entrance examination to one of the institutes of higher education.
1st of Moharram: New Year
12th of Rabi Al Awal: Aid El Mawlid (Birth of the Prophet Mohamed)
1st of Shawwal: Aid El Fitr (end of Ramadan)
10th of Dhu Al Hijja: Aid El Adha (Commemoration of Abraham's sacrifice)