OFFICIAL NAME: Kingdom of Morocco
FORM OF GOVERNMENT: Constitutional monarchy
OFFICIAL LANGUAGES: Arabic, Berber dialects, French
MONEY: Moroccan Dirham
AREA: 447 square kilometers
MAJOR MOUNTAIN RANGES: Atlas, Rif
MAJOR RIVERS: Draa
Morocco is a constitutional monarchy. King Mohammed VI has ruled since 1999. The King is the head of state (person in charge of the country) and the most important person. There is also a Prime Minister, appointed by the king, who helps with the governing of the country. The people of Morocco vote for Members of Parliament to speak for them and to help make laws for them.
Religion is a very important part of Moroccan life. Most people in Morocco practice Islam. This religion promotes praying five times a day and fasting for a month prior to Ramadan, their most important religious holiday. They worship at mosques which are considered to be some of the most beautiful houses of worship in the world. The most important festival in Islam is Eid ul-Fitr which takes place at the end of the month of Ramadan. People wear their best clothes, pray and feast over a few days.
People and Culture
Ethnically, Moroccans are mostly Berber (North African indigenous) and Arab and most of the people are Muslim. The Berber people have been living in North Africa for centuries, historically living in the mountainous areas but in more recent times moving to the cities for work.
Moroccan cities commonly have mosques with beautiful towers called minarets, market areas called bazaars, old medieval sections called medinas and old fortresses called kasbahs.
The most popular sport in Morocco is football (soccer). In 1986, the Moroccan national team became the first African and Arab country to make to the 2nd round of a World Cup.
Meals eaten with family and extended family are an important part of daily life. Moroccan meals are served on comfy cushions around a low table. Green tea with mint and sweetened with sugar is a popular beverage in Morocco. The most famous of Moroccan dishes are couscous and tajines. Chicken is the most widely eaten meat and most people do not eat pork. Moroccan food is rated some of the best in the world.