With its relative proximity to Europe and increasingly easy to access from international airports, Morocco has long attracted visitors from abroad. A large part of its charm is due to its historical significance as a cultural crossroads between Arabic, Middle-Eastern, African and European cultures and communities. Modern Morocco is developing fast and its cities rival any in Europe or North America for facilities, infrastructure and modern conveniences. In rural Morocco – in the plains, mountains and deserts – life continues as it has for centuries. This juxtaposition of traditional life and modernity, the familiar and the exotic, is as appealing today as when adventurers and discoverers passed through in bygone eras. Morocco is a safe place to travel and offers
The indigenous people of Morocco are the Berbers (also known as Amazigh, literally “free men”). They were the original inhabitants of the mountains and deserts. A little-known facet of Morocco’s history is where Berber and Jewish history and culture intertwine. There were several waves of Jewish immigration to North Africa, potentially beginning in the BCE period and certainly pre-dating the arrival of Islam from Arabia in the 7th century.
The result of such a long history of cohabitation and assimilation and integration of others’ cultural practices has created a modern Moroccan population which – at up to 50% Berber (the remainder being by large majority of Arab descent) is resilient to external shocks and reluctant to upset the balance of closely-knit communities.
As a result of this unique history and the careful political management by the constitutional monarch, King Mohammed VI, Morocco has not suffered the upheaval of Arab Spring-style uprisings, while its neighbors and allies have been shaken to the core. Tensions have been meticulously mitigated and complaints painstakingly investigated in order to avoid the social unrest which has rocked the region.
The modern monarch has also taken time to cultivate productive relationships with key Western powers. The relationship with the EU, including on some contentious issues such as immigration, trade and international security, is closer than it has ever been. The relationship with the USA is similar. Morocco was the first country to recognize US independence and – over 200 years later – Morocco remains a key ally in the strategic Middle East and North Africa region. These relationships and their importance to Moroccan economic and social stability are at least in part behind Morocco’s strenuous efforts to tackle international terrorism and religious extremism.
Overall, Morocco is one of the safest countries in Africa or the Middle East and North Africa region. You will be welcomed with a smile and great hospitality by virtual strangers. Enjoy your trip!