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| area=''total:'' 446,550 km<sup>2</sup><br />''land:'' 446,300 km<sup>2</sup><br />''water:'' 250 km<sup>2</sup>
| population=32,725,847 (July 2006 est.)
| language=[[Arabic]] and Tamazight are (official), Berber dialects, [[Spanish]] and [[French]] are is often the languages of business and government
| religion=Muslim 98.5%, Christian 1.3%, Jewish 0.2%
| electricity=127-220V/50Hz (European plug)
'''Morocco''' (المغرب ''Al-Maghrib'') [] is a [[North Africa]]n country that has a coastline on both the North Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. It has borders with [[Western Sahara]] to the south, [[Algeria]] to the east and the [[Spain|Spanish]] North African territories of [[Ceuta]] and [[Melilla]] on the Mediterranean coast in the north. It is just across the Strait of Gibraltar from [[Gibraltar]].
Morocco's long struggle for independence from France ended in 1956. The internationalized city of Tangier was turned over to the new country that same year. Morocco virtually annexed [[got back from Spain the Moroccan Western Sahara]] during the late 1970s, and even though the status of the territory remains unresolved, all maps in Morocco show [[Western Sahara]] as an integrated part of the country. 
Gradual political reforms in the 1990s resulted in the establishment of a bicameral legislature in 1997, although the king still possesses the actual political power. The press is mostly state controled even though there are free newspapers , and clampdowns have occurred following criticism of the authorities or articles concerning the [[Western Sahara]] situation.
Many european carriers desserte Morocco. These are Iberia, TAP Portugal, Air France, Lufthansa, Swiss, Turkish Airlines, Norwegian, BMI, British Airways, Brussels Airlines, Air Berlin, Alitalia, Portugalia, Air Germany and many other European airlines.
'''Easyjet''' [] &mdash; Now fly at budget prices from [[London]] and [[Manchester]] to [[Marrakech]] and [[Casablanca]]. Another option is from [[Paris - Charles de Gaulle]] to [[Casablanca]].
'''Ryanair''' [] &mdash; Has signed an agreement with the Moroccan government and flies to Morocco from [[Bergamo]], [[Girona]], [[Reus]], [[Bremen]], Madrid, [[Brussels]], Frankfurt-Hahn, Eindhoven, [[London]], [[Porto]]. Flying to [[Fez]] 3 times per week. Flights to Marrakesh are also available. A [[Bergamo]]-[[Tangier]] route has been opened in July 2009.
'''Royal Air Maroc''' [] &mdash; The state airline, which drastically needs a price cut.
[[Casablanca]] to [[Marrakech]]- Dh 90 for second class.
In order to check costs on the ONCF website, don't be alarmed from by the French. Scroll down to Billets Normaux (under Prix & Reservation) and choose your ride.
===By bus===
[[Image:The Berber man and the sea.jpg|thumb|250px|A Berber man watches the sea in [[Tangier]]]]
* [[Moroccan Arabic phrasebook|Moroccan Arabic]] a dialect of Maghreb Arabic, also known as Moroccan Darija. The language is extremely different from Standard [[Arabic phrasebook|Arabic]] and is also slightly influenced by French or Spanish, depending on where in the country you are, so don't expect to understand a word of what the locals say to each other even if you are competent in Standard Arabic, or any non-Moroccan dialect. However, all Moroccans learn standard Arabic in school, so while not the first language of choice, speakers of standard Arabic should not have any problems communicating. Officially about half the population cannot read or write so there are always translators around and people to assist filling in forms (for a small fee) around most places where such forms are required such as ports etc.
*[[Berber phrasebook|Berber]], or the Amazigh language, is spoken by Morocco's Berber population. In the mountainous regions of the north the dialect is ''Tarifit'', the central region the dialect is ''Tamazight'', and in the south of the country the dialect is ''Tachelheet''.
* [[French phrasebook|French]] is widely understood in Morocco due to its history as a French protectorate, and is still taught in schools from relatively early grades, making it by far the most useful non-Arabic language to know. Most urban locals you meet will be trilingual in Moroccan Arabic, Standard Arabic and French. In the north and southern part of the country, many people also speak Spanish instead or alongside French.
* While knowledge of the English language is increasing amongst the younger generations, most Moroccans don't speak a word, and even those that do will most likely speak better French. Although you will find a few people who speak English among the most educated people, in urban areas most of them are touts and faux guides. Some shop owners and hotel managers in urban centers also speak English.
Movie-famous '''[[Casablanca]]''' might be the most famous of Moroccan cities and is home to the huge '''Hassan II mosque''', the second largest mosque in the world with only the Grand Mosque of Mecca surpassing it. Many travelers quickly leave this vibrant and modernist metropolis on a search for a more traditional Moroccan experience, but admiring the impressive colonial architecture, Hispano-Moorish and art-deco outlook of the city center is actually time well spent. '''[[Marrakesh]]''', known as the "Red City" and probably the most prominent former imperial capital, will leave you with memories to cherish for life. Spend your days wandering through the lively souqs, admiring the old '''gates and defense walls''', see the Saadian Tombs, the remnants of the El Badi Palace and visit the Koutoubia Mosque with its 12th century minaret. However, when evening falls make sure to head back to '''Jamaa el-Fnaa''', the largest square in Africa, as it fills up with steam-producing food stalls. Indulge in the bustling activity there, listen to Arabic story tellers, watch magicians and Chleuh dancers. '''[[Fez]]''', once Morocco's capital, is another gorgeous imperial city. Get lost in its lovely labyrinth of narrow Medieval streets, enjoy its huge medina, see the beautiful city gates, the ancient '''University of Al-Karaouine''' and the '''Bou Inania Madrasa'''. Also, make sure to visit a traditional '''leather tanning factory'''. The city of '''[[Meknes]]''' is often called the "Versailles of Morocco" for its beauty. Its lovely Spanish-Moorish style center is surrounded by tall city walls with impressive gates and you'll be able to see the 17th century blend of European and Islamic cultures even today.
For a more laid-back experience of city life, catch a sea breeze at '''[[AsalihAsilah]]''' or lovely '''[[Essaouira]]'''. The blue-washed town of '''[[Chefchaouen]]''' is an old time travelers' favorite and a great starting point to explore the impressive High Atlas Mountains. Climb '''Jebel Toubkal''', the highest peak in North-Africa, passing lovely adobe villages and exploring the gorgeous Ourika and Amizmiz valleys on the way. The stunning panoramic view from the top will make it worth every bit of your effort to get there. Other praised hiking routes lead through the beautiful Ameln Valley in the Anti-Atlas and the wooded Rif Mountains in the very north.
Alcohol is available in restaurants, liquor stores, bars, supermarkets, clubs, hotels and discos. Some Moroccans enjoy a drink although it is disapproved in public places. The local brew of choice carries the highly original name of Casablanca Beer. It is a full flavored lager and enjoyable with the local cuisine or as a refreshment. The other two major Moroccan beers are Flag Special and Stork. Also you can find local judeo-berber vodka, mild anise flavored and brewed from figs.
'''Driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal even if you took drank just one beer'''
As a rule, do not drink tap water at all in Morocco, even in hotels, as it contains much higher levels of minerals than the water in Europe. For local people this is not a problem as their bodies are used to this and can cope, but for travellers from places such as Europe, drinking the tap water will usually result in illness. Generally this is not serious, an upset stomach being the only symptom, but it is enough to spoil a day or two of your holiday.
==Stay healthy==
=== General concerns ===
*'''Inoculations''': No particular inoculations are needed for Morocco under normal circumstances, but check with the CDC's [] travel web pages for any recent disease outbreaks. As with most travel, it makes good sense to have a recent tetanus immunization. If you plan to eat outside the circle of established restaurants, consider a Hepatitis A inoculation.
*'''Food and Drink''': Avoid uncooked fruits and vegetables that you can not peel. Avoid any food that is not prepared when you order it (i.e. buffets, etc). Usually fried and boiled foods are safe. Some travellers have also had problems with unrefrigerated condiments (such as mayonnaise) used in fast food outlets.
*'''Shoes''': Keep your sandals/tevas etc for the beach. Moroccan streets double as garbage disposal areas and you do not want to wade though fish heads and chicken parts with open-toe shoes.
*'''Malaria''': Present in the northern, coastal areas of the country but is not a major problem. Take the usual precautions against being bitten (light coloured clothing, insect repellent, etc) and if you are really worried see your doctor about anti-malarial medication before your departure.
===Medical help===
Pharmacies are denoted by a green cross, usually in neon. They sell medicines, contraceptives, and often beauty and related products .
Medical treatment can be obtained from self-employed doctors, clinics and hospitals. Most general practitioners, specialists, and dentists are self-employed; look for signs saying "Docteur" . An average doctor’s check-up in a city costs between 150 and 300 dirhams.
In general, the quality of their work is decent, but you can try to ask some locals for advices and recommendations.
There are few English-speaking doctors, though French is widespread.
Medical care can be difficult or impossible to find in rural areas
Government hospitals are cheap and okay for minor injuries and minor problems, but they tend to be very crowded and for anything serious, a private clinic is generally preferable. Treatments in private clinics will be quite expensive and travelers will be required to pay for any treatment received up front.
*'''Greetings''' among close friends and family (but rarely between men and women!) usually take the form of three pecks on the cheek. In other circumstances handshakes are the norm. Following the handshake by touching your heart with your right hand signifies respect and sincerity.
*'''Left hands''' used to traditionally be considered 'unclean' in the Muslim religion and Arabic Amazigh nomadic cultures, as they used to be reserved for hygiene in toilets. As in many cultures it could be considered impolite to shake hands or offer or accept something from someone with your left hand, more so is giving money by your left, so try to avoid that. While left-handed people may get an occasional exclamation, and local children may get pressured by parents to use their right in traditional societies, most people will understand if you do your own business with your left hand.
* '''Elders''' Moroccans still have the tradition of highly respecting their elders and the sick. If someone who is handicapped, or older than you is passing, then stop and allow room for them. Or if a taxi arrives and you are waiting with an elder, then you should allow the older person to take precedence over you. Tourists are not held to these expectations, but it improves regard for tourists in Morocco when they adhere to the same traditions.
Items shipped as '''freight''' are inspected at the post office before they are sent, so wait until this has been done before you seal the box.
Don't leave postcards with the small post office at Marrakech Airport as they'll never be delivered, despite taking your money for postage stamps. Postboxes on streets seemed to be a more reliable means to send postcards.
===Email &amp; internet===

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