Monday, June 27, 2022

Culture in Morocco

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An ethnically diverse country, Morocco is rich in culture and civilisation. Many people throughout Morocco’s history have come from the East (Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Jews, Arabs), the South (Sub-Saharan Africans) and the North (Romans, Andalusians). All these civilisations have influenced the social structure of Morocco. It hosts various forms of faith, from paganism, Judaism and Christianity to Islam.

Since independence, there has been a real flowering in painting and sculpture, folk music, amateur theatre and film-making. The Moroccan National Theatre (founded in 1956) regularly stages productions of Moroccan and French plays. Art and music festivals are held throughout the country in the summer months, including the World Sacred Music Festival in Fez.

Each region has its own particularities, contributing to the national culture and heritage of civilisation. Morocco has made the protection of its diverse heritage and the preservation of its cultural heritage one of its top priorities.

In terms of culture, Morocco has always been a combination of Berber, Jewish and Arab cultural heritage and influences from outside, such as French, Spanish and, most recently, Anglo-American lifestyles.

Women are often sexually harassed when walking through the streets. One woman walking through the streets of Casablanca, filmed by the Moroccan Times, was harassed about 300 times.

Architecture in Morocco

Influences from the indigenous Berbers, many foreign invaders, as well as religious and cultural influences, have shaped Moroccan architectural styles. The architecture ranges from the ornate, with bold colours, to the simple, clean lines of earth tones.

Influences from the Arab world, Spain, Portugal and France can be seen in Moroccan architecture, both on their own and mixed with Berber and Islamic styles. Among the buildings and old kasbah walls are French-style buildings left behind by colonisation, intersecting with elaborate mosques and riad-style houses. In cities like Rabat and Casablanca, sleek modern designs are built that pay no particular homage to any of Morocco’s past architectural styles.

Literature in Morocco

The literature of Morocco has been written in Arabic, Berber and French. Under the Almohad dynasty, Morocco experienced a period of prosperity and brilliance of scholarship. The Almohads built the Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakech, which housed no less than 25,000 people, but was also famous for its books, manuscripts, libraries and bookshops, which gave it its name; the first book bazaar in history. Almohad Caliph Abu Yaqub had an enormous passion in collecting books. He founded a large library which was eventually carried into the Kasbah and turned into a public library.

Modern Moroccan literature began in the 1930s. Two main factors gave Morocco the impetus to witness the birth of a modern literature. As a protectorate of France and Spain, Morocco gave Moroccan intellectuals the opportunity to interact, to produce literary works freely and to enjoy contact with other Arab literatures and with Europe. Three generations of writers had a particular impact on Moroccan literature in the 20th century. The first generation, of which Mohammed Ben Brahim (1897-1955) was the most important representative, lived and wrote during the Protectorate (1912-56).

It was the second generation of writers who played an important role in the transition to independence, including Abdelkrim Ghajarab (1919-2006), Alal al-Fassi (1910-1974) and Mohammed al-Mokhtar Susi (1900-1963). The third generation is that of the writers of the sixties. The literature of Morocco has thrived with a number of writers, including Mohammed Shoukry, Doris Chaibi, Mohammed Zafzaf, and Doris El Khouri.

Music in Morocco

Moroccan music has Amazigh, Arab and sub-Saharan origins. Rock-influenced chaabi bands are common, as is trance music with historical origins in Muslim music.

Morocco is the home of Andalusian classical music, which can be found throughout North Africa. It probably developed under the Moors in Cordoba, and the Persian-born musician Ziryab is usually credited with its invention. A genre known as contemporary Andalusian music and art is the brainchild of Moroccan visual artist/composer/speaker Tarik Banzi, founder of the Al-Andalus Ensemble.

Chaabi (“folk”) is a music that consists of numerous variants derived from the diverse forms of Moroccan folk music. Chaabi was originally played at markets, but can now be found at any celebration or gathering.

Aita is a Bedouin style of music sung in the countryside.

Popular western music forms are becoming increasingly popular in Morocco, such as fusion, rock, country, metal and especially hip-hop.

Morocco took part in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1980, where it finished second to last.

Cinema in Morocco

Cinema in Morocco has a long history dating back over a century to the filming of Le chevrier Marocain (“The Moroccan Goatherd”) by Louis Lumière in 1897. Between that time and 1944, many foreign films were shot in the country, especially in the Ouarzazate area.

In 1944, the Moroccan Cinematographic Centre (CCM), the national film regulator, was founded. Studios were also opened in Rabat.

In 1952, Othello by Orson Welles won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival under the Moroccan flag. However, the musicians at the festival did not play the Moroccan national anthem because no one present knew what it was.

Six years later, Mohammed Ousfour was to direct the first Moroccan film, Le fils maudit (“The Damned Son”).

In 1968, the first Mediterranean Film Festival was held in Tangier. In its current form, the event takes place in Tetouan.

This was followed by the first national cinema festival in 1982, which took place in Rabat.

In 2001, the first Marrakech International Film Festival (FIFM) was also held in Marrakech.

Cuisine in Morocco

Moroccan cuisine has long been considered one of the most varied cuisines in the world. This is a result of Morocco’s centuries of interaction with the outside world. The cuisine of Morocco is essentially Berber-Moorish, European and Mediterranean. The cuisine of Morocco is essentially a Berber cuisine (sometimes called Moorish cuisine). It is also influenced by Sephardic cuisine and by the Moriscos when they found refuge in Morocco after the Spanish Reconquista.

Spices are used extensively in Moroccan cuisine. While spices have been imported into Morocco for thousands of years, many ingredients such as saffron from Tiliouine, mint and olives from Meknes and oranges and lemons from Fez are local products. Chicken is the most commonly eaten meat in Morocco. The most commonly eaten red meat in Morocco is beef; lamb is preferred but is relatively expensive. The main Moroccan dish with which most people are familiar is couscous, the ancient national delicacy.

Beef is the most commonly eaten red meat in Morocco, usually eaten in a tagine with vegetables or pulses. Chicken is also very common in tagines, as one of the most famous tagines is the tagine with chicken, potatoes and olives. Lamb is also eaten, but because North African breeds of sheep store most of the fat in their tails, Moroccan lamb does not have the pungent taste that Western lamb and mutton have. Poultry is also very common, and the use of seafood is increasing in Moroccan cuisine. In addition, there are dried cured meats and salted preserved meats such as kliia/khlia and “g’did”, which are used to flavour tagines or in “el ghraif”, a folded savoury Moroccan pancake.

The best-known Moroccan dishes include couscous, pastilla (also spelled bsteeya or bestilla), tajine, tanjia and harira. Although the latter is a soup, it is considered a dish in its own right and is served as such or with dates, especially during the month of Ramadan. Eating pork is forbidden according to Sharia, the religious laws of Islam.

A large part of the daily meal is bread. Bread in Morocco is mainly made from durum wheat semolina known as khobz. Bakeries are very common throughout Morocco and fresh bread is a staple in every town and village. The most common is wholemeal bread made from coarse or white flour. There is also a range of flat breads and pulled, unleavened pan breads.

The most popular drink is “atai”, green tea with mint leaves and other ingredients. Tea occupies a very important place in Moroccan culture and is considered an art form. It is not only served with meals, but throughout the day, and it is above all a drink of hospitality, served whenever guests are present. It is served to guests and it is rude to refuse it.

How To Travel To Morocco

With plane There are flights to Casablanca from New York, Montreal, Dubai and many different European cities, including seasonal charter flights to Agadir. Many European airlines fly to Morocco. Some of these airlines include Iberia, TAP Portugal, Air France, Lufthansa, Swiss, Turkish Airlines, Norwegian, BMI, British Airways, Brussels Airlines, Air Berlin,...

How To Travel Around Morocco

With train Trains are generally the best option due to their speed, frequency and comfort. However, the network is limited and only connects Marrakech and Tangier via Casablanca and Rabat. A branch line to Oujda starts in Sidi Kachem and connects Meknes and Fez with the main line. People are incredibly...

Visa & Passport Requirements for Morocco

All visitors to Morocco require a valid passport, but visitors from the following countries are not required to obtain a visa prior to arrival: Schengen Member States, Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Ivory Coast, Croatia, Republic of Congo, Guinea, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, Kuwait, Libya,...

Destinations in Morocco

Cities Rabat - The capital of Morocco; very relaxed and stress-free, highlights are a 12th century tower and minaret. Agadir - It is best to visit Agadir because of its beaches. The town is a fine example of modern Morocco, with less emphasis on history and culture. A few cents on...

Accommodation & Hotels in Morocco

Hotels in Morocco are a matter of choice and suit every budget. Classified hotels range from 1 star (basic) to 5 stars (luxury) and are classified as auberge, riad, rural gîtes d'étape or hotel. Stays usually include breakfast, and many include dinner. Places to stay Auberges are located in the countryside...

Things To See in Morocco

Morocco is only a few hours away from many major European cities, and visitors will be amazed by the wonderful colors, smells, and sounds of Islamic Africa. Imagine bustling souks and spice markets, stunning mosques, whitewashed seaside towns and medieval city centres. From the snowy mountains of the High...

Things To Do in Morocco

Tours Marrakech is a good starting point for exploring the High Atlas Mountains or organising one to four-day Sahara treks. Hammams There are two types of hammam (steam baths) throughout Morocco. The first one is a sightseeing hammam, where visitors can be pampered and rubbed out by experienced staff. As these are only...

Food & Drinks in Morocco

Food in Morocco Moroccan cuisine is often described as one of the best in the world, with countless dishes and variations that proudly bear the country's colonial and Arab influences. Unfortunately, being a tourist in Morocco, particularly if you are on a budget, you are often restricted to a small...

Weather & Climate in Morocco

The country's Mediterranean climate is similar to that of southern California, with lush forests in the mountain ranges of northern and central California giving way to drier conditions and deserts further inland in the southeast. The Moroccan coastal plains have remarkably moderate temperatures even in summer, due to the...

Money & Shopping in Morocco

Money in Morocco The Moroccan dirham is used as the local currency, and its ISO 4217 symbol is MAD ( also sometimes abbreviated as Dh, Dhs, DH, or درهم, or دراهم, the plural of Dhm). It is split up into 100 cents (c). There are coins in denominations of 5c, 10c,...

Festivals & Events in Morocco

The biggest event in the Moroccan calendar is the month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast during the day and break their fast at sunset. Most restaurants are closed at lunchtime (with the exception of those catering specifically to tourists), and things generally slow down. Travelling during this time is...

Traditions & Customs in Morocco

Greetings among close friends and family (but rarely between men and women!) usually take the form of three kisses on the cheek. In other circumstances, shaking hands is the norm. Touching your heart with your right hand after shaking hands signifies respect and sincerity. When approaching someone or entering...

Internet & Communications in Morocco

Phone Public telephones are found in city centres, but private telephone offices (also called teleboutiques or telekiosks) are also common. The international dialling code (for dialling out of the country) is 00. All numbers are ten digits long, counting the initial 0, and the whole number must be dialled within...

Language & Phrasebook in Morocco

Arabic and Berber are official languages in Morocco. However, local Moroccan Arabic, a dialect of Maghreb Arabic (spoken in Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria), is very different from Standard Arabic, so even native Arabic speakers from outside the region would not understand the conversations of the locals. However, all Moroccans...

History Of Morocco

Prehistory and Antiquity The region that today constitutes Morocco has been inhabited since the Paleolithic, between 190,000 and 90,000 years before Christ. In the upper paleoliths, the Maghreb looked more fertile than today, more like a savannah than an arid landscape. 22,000 years ago, the Aterian was replaced by the...

Stay Safe & Healthy in Morocco

Stay safe in Morocco Overall, Morocco remains a relatively safe country; however, homosexuality is criminalised and punishable by up to 3 years in prison in both Morocco and Western Sahara. Gay and lesbian tourists should be confident and cautious. In 2014, 70-year-old British traveller Ray Cole was prosecuted and imprisoned...

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