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The Marocco Collections Exhibition
Frame One :
The Marocco Collections
3.Painting Found In Indonesia
3)Marocco modern ceramic design
(1) City Pictures
(2) Tour Package
Whether for leisure, business conventions or incentives, each package is customized for the traveler’s enjoyment.
The Grand Tour
Morocco is a study of contrasts, and this tour reveals this remarkable country at its best. Though it would take months to discover all the joys of Morocco, you will be given an insight into why so many people, including the famous American writer Paul Bowles, chose to call Morocco home. You will visit the four Imperial Cities, the Atlas Mountains, the Sahara Desert, and the cities of Casablanca, Rabat, Meknes, Volubilis, Fez, Ifrane, Erfoud, Tinerhir, Ouarzazate, and Marrakesh, many places which have been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. You will explore the ancient and the modern, the historic and the natural, the rural and the urban: the diversity and magnificence that is called Morocco.
Majestic Morocco: The Imperial Cities
Natural beauty, ancient history, and cultural diversity—these are the qualities for which Morocco is known. A land always coveted by others, it was a crossroads for trade from Europe to Southern Africa, the Middle East, and the Far East. Foreign rulers longed for control of Morocco, then called Mauritania. Phoenicians, Romans, Arabs, Spaniards, Portuguese, French and Germans all sought to occupy Morocco, and the country is etched by the battles and the occupation of its invaders. Rabat, Meknes, Fez, and Marrakech are referred to as the Imperial Cities, having once been capitals during various Muslim Dynasties. The architecture of these cities displays the influence of these invaders.
Prehistoric Morocco: A Journey Back through Time
This tour transports you roughly backward through time in Morocco: you begin in modern-day Ouarzazate, the film capital of Morocco, where many American films have been made, such as Romancing the Stone, The Gladiator, The Sheltering Sky, and Lawrence of Arabia. You will also visit the grand and picturesque Aït Benhaddou, so beautiful that it has been used as the backdrop for many American films. Then you will view the spectacular natural scenery of both the Dades Gorge and the Todra Gorge: composed by time, the gorges are a symphony of color, texture, and shape. Moreover, you will explore areas with fossilized dinosaur remains, uncharted roads, and prehistoric rock carvings.
Morocco by the Sea: The Ancient Route of the Moors
The Moors, a genetic mixture of Arabs and Berbers, came from a region of North Africa that is Morocco today. By the 7th century, they occupied large areas of Portugal and Spain, called al-Andalus. The Moorish occupation of Spain is considered a “golden era” in which learning, culture, and trade flourished. The influence of the Moors, or Andalusians, may be seen most prominently today in towns and villages in north Moroccan. Eventually the Moorish influence spread to the New World, seen clearly in the colonial architecture of Latin and South America.
Spiritual Morocco: The Jewish Tradition
The geography, history, and the people of Morocco have always been complex and diverse. The first Jews arrived with the Phoenician merchants about 1000 BC, settling along the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Over hundreds of years, the Jews have established traditions in nearly every area within Morocco. Throughout the course of your tour, you will visit the significant Jewish heritage sites within the major cities, discovering the Jewish heritage within this remarkably unique and tolerant country.
Frame two :
Marocco Historic collections
|Kingdom of Moroccoالمملكة المغربية (Arabic)
Al-Mamlakatu l-Maġribiyahⵜⴰⴳⵍⴷⵉⵜ ⵏ ⵓⵎⵔⵔⵓⴽ (Berber)
Tageldit n Umerruk
Royaume du Maroc
|Motto: “الله، الوطن، الملك”
“Allāh, al Waṭan, al Malik” (transliteration)
“Yakuc – Tamurt – Agellid”
God – Homeland – King
|Anthem: “Hymne Chérifien“|
34°02′N 6°51′W / 34.033°N 6.85°W / 34.033; -6.85
|Recognised national languages||French, Berber language, Darija|
|Ethnic groups||Berber-Arab 99.1%, Jews 0.2%, others 0.7%|
|–||Prime Minister||Abbas El Fassi|
|–||Unified by Idrisid dynasty||780–974|
|–||Independence from France||March 2, 1956|
|–||Independence from Spain||April 7, 1956|
|–||Total||710,850 km2 (57th)
274,460 sq mi
|–||Water (%)||250 km² (0,056%)|
|–||2009 estimate||32,993,000 (38th)|
|GDP (PPP)||2010 estimate|
|GDP (nominal)||2010 estimate|
|HDI (2010)||0.567 (medium) (114th)|
|Currency||Moroccan dirham (
|Time zone||WET (UTC+0)|
|–||Summer (DST)||WEST (UTC+1)|
|Drives on the||right|
|ISO 3166 code||MA|
|*All data excludes the Western Sahara, much of which is under Moroccan de facto administrative control.|
|1||French is not official, but it is widely used in official government documents, and by the business community. Moroccan Arabic or Darija is a common native language, and it is spoken but not written. Classical Arabic is official, and it is a written, but not a natively spoken, language. Amazigh or Berber is a widely spoken language and is both native and written.|
The Kingdom of Morocco (المملكة المغربية, al-Mamlakah al-Maġribiyya), is a country located in North Africa which is less formally known as simply Morocco (i /məˈrɒkoʊ/; Arabic: المغرب, al-Maġrib; Berber: Amerruk / Murakuc). It has a population of nearly 33 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administrates the disputed region of the Western Sahara. The history of the country’s known human civilization spans over 8000 years, and it was founded by the Berbers who are the original inhabitants.
Morocco is a de jure constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament. The King of Morocco holds vast executive powers, including dissolving parliament at will. Executive power is exercised by the government and by the king as well. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of parliament, the Assembly of Representatives and the Assembly of Councillors. The king can also issue decrees called dahirs which have the force of law. Parliamentary elections were held in Morocco on 7 September 2007, and were considered by some neutral observers to be mostly free and fair; although voter turnout was estimated to be 37%, the lowest in decades. The political capital is Rabat, and the largest city is Casablanca; other large cities include Marrakesh, Tetouan, Tangier, Salé, Fes, Agadir, Meknes and Oujda.
Morocco has a rich indigenous culture and civilization, and its cuisine has long been considered to be one of the most diverse in the world. The population is probably 40% to 55% Berber , partly mixed with ethnic Arabs. Although Arabic is the official language, modern studies show that the Arabization process in Morocco was mostly linguistic. Berber-speaking Moroccans can be divided in three main dialectal groups: the Riffians, the Chleuh and the Central Moroccan Atlas inhabitants.
The full Arabic name al-Mamlaka al-Maġribiyya (المملكة المغربية) translates to “The Western Kingdom”. Al-Maġrib (meaning “The West”) is commonly used. For historical references, medieval Arab historians and geographers used to refer to Morocco as Al-Maghrib al Aqşá (“The Farthest West”), disambiguating it from neighboring historical regions called al-Maghrib al Awsat (“The Middle West”, Algeria) and al-Maghrib al Adna (“The Nearest West”, Tunisia).
The English name “Morocco” originates from Spanish “Marruecos” or the Portuguese “Marrocos”, from medieval Latin “Morroch”, which referred to the name of the former Almoravid and Almohad capital, Marrakesh. In Persian and Urdu and Hindi Morocco is still called “Marrakesh”. In Turkish, Morocco is called “Fas” which comes from the ancient Idrisid and Marinid capital, Fes.
The word “Marrakesh” is derived from the Amazigh Berber word combination Mur-Akush (ⵎⵓⵔ-ⴰⴽⵓⵛ), meaning Land of God.
|History of Morocco|
|Prehistoric and Berber Morocco|
|Emirate of Sijilmassa|
|Kingdom of Maghrib al Aqsa|
|Caliphate of Cordoba|
|Kingdom of the Almoravids|
|Kingdom of Morocco (1215–1659)
Kingdom of Marrakech, Kingdom of Fez
|Empire of Morocco (1666–late 19th C.)
Kingdom of Marrakech, Kingdom of Fez, Kingdom of the Souss, Kingdom of Sijilmassa, Land of Draa
|Sultanate of Morocco (late 19th C.–1957)
Morocco, Tekna Confederation
|Treaty of Fez
French Protectorate, Spanish Protectorate
|Modern Morocco (since 1956)|
Umayyad Arabs conquered the region in the 7th century, bringing their language, their system of government, and Islam, to which many of the Berbers slowly converted, mostly after the Arab rule receded. In the Islamic era the first Moroccan Muslim state, independent from the Arab Empire, was The Kingdom of Nekor, an emirate in the Rif area. It was founded by an immigrant from Yemen, Salih I ibn Mansur in 710 AD, as a client state to Caliphal grant. Idris I fled to Morocco from the Abbasids’ massacre against his tribe in Iraq and managed to convince the Awraba Berber tribes to break allegiance to the distant Abbasid caliphs in Baghdad. He founded the Idrisid Dynasty in 780 AD. Morocco became later a center of learning and a major power.
From the 11th century onwards, a series of powerful Berber dynasties arose. Under the Almoravid dynasty and the Almohad dynasty, Morocco dominated the Maghreb, Muslim Spain, and the western Mediterranean region. In the 13th century the Merinids gained power over Morocco and strove to replicate the successes of the Almohads. In the 15th century the Reconquista ended Islamic rule in Iberia and many Muslims and Jews fled to Morocco. Under the Saadi Dynasty, the first Moroccan dynasty initiated by ethnic Arabs since the Idrisids, the country would consolidate power and fight off Portuguese and Ottoman invaders, as in the battle of Ksar el Kebir. The reign of Ahmad al-Mansur brought new wealth and prestige to the Sultanate, and a massive Berber invasion of the Songhay Empire was initiated.
However, managing the territories across the Sahara proved too difficult. After the death of al-Mansur the country was divided among his sons. In 1666 the sultanate was reunited by the Alaouite dynasty, who have since been the ruling house in Morocco. The organization of the state developed with Ismail Ibn Sharif. With his Black Guard he drove the British from Tangier (1684) and the Spanish from Larache (1689). In 1912, after the First Moroccan Crisis and the Agadir Crisis, the Treaty of Fez was signed, effectively dividing Morocco into a French and Spanish protectorate. In 1956, after 44 years of occupation, Morocco regained independence from France and Spain as the “Kingdom of Morocco”.
Population of Morocco
The area of present day Morocco has been inhabited since Neolithic times (at least since 2000 BC, as attested by signs of the Capsian culture), a period when the Maghreb was less arid than it is today. In Mesolithic ages the geography of Morocco resembled a savanna more than the present day arid landscape. In the classical period, Morocco was known as Mauretania, although this should not be confused with the modern-day country of Mauritania. Modern DNA analysis (see link) has confirmed that various populations have contributed to the present-day gene pool of Morocco in addition to the main ethnic group which is the Amazighs/Berbers. Those other various populations are Arabs, Iberians, Phoenicians, Sephardic Jews and sub-Saharan Africans.
A large Jewish community lived in Morocco before the creation of Israel, numbering approximately 265,000 in 1948, although between 7,000 and 12,000 live there now (mostly in few major cities). A call made by late king Hassan II for Jews to return to Morocco was not answered.
Romans and Berber Morocco
North Africa and Morocco were slowly drawn into the wider emerging Mediterranean world by Phoenician trading colonies and settlements in the early Classical period. Major early substantial settlements of the Phoenicians were at Chellah, Lixus and Mogador, with Mogador being a Phoenician colony as early as the early 6th century BC. The arrival of Phoenicians heralded a long engagement with the wider Mediterranean, as this strategic region formed part of the Roman Empire, as Mauretania Tingitana. In the fifth century, as the Roman Empire declined, the region fell to the Vandals, Visigoths, and then the Byzantine Empire, the Eastern Roman Empire, in rapid succession. During this time, however, the high mountains of most of modern Morocco remained unsubdued, and stayed in the hands of their Berber inhabitants. Christianity was introduced in the second century and gained converts in the towns and among slaves and Berber farmers.
Islamic expansion began in the seventh century. In 670 AD, the first Islamic conquest of the North African coastal plain took place under Uqba ibn Nafi, a general serving under the Umayyads of Damascus. Arabs brought their language and Islam, to which most of the Berbers converted. After the outbreak of the Great Berber Revolt in 739, the region’s Berber population asserted its independence, forming states and kingdoms such as the Miknasa of Sijilmasa and the Barghawata. Under Idris ibn Abdallah, who was appointed by the Awraba Berbers of Volubilis to be their representative, the country soon cut ties and broke away from the control of the distant Abbasid caliphs in Baghdad and the Umayyad rule in Al-Andalus. The Idrisids established Fes as their capital and Morocco became a centre of learning and a major regional power.
Morocco would reach its height under a series of Berber dynasties that replaced the Idrisids after the 11th century. From the 13th century onwards the country has seen a massive migration of Banu Hilal Arab tribes. Their arrival was to have a critical effect on the nation: due to them nomadism returned, urban civilization fell and the country’s inhabitants were quickly becoming Arabized. The Maghrawa, the Almoravids, the Almohads, the Marinids, the Wattasids and finally the Saadi dynastie would see Morocco rule most of Northwest Africa, as well as large sections of Islamic Iberia, or Al-Andalus. Following the Reconquista of the Iberian Peninsula, large numbers of Muslims and Jews were forced to flee to Morocco.
After the Saadi, the Arab Alaouite Dynasty eventually gained control. Morocco was facing aggression from Spain and the Ottoman Empire that was sweeping westward. The Alaouites succeeded in stabilizing their position, and while the kingdom was smaller than previous ones in the region, it remained quite wealthy. In 1684, they annexed Tangier. The organization of the kingdom developed under Ismail Ibn Sharif (1672–1727), who, against the opposition of local tribes began to create a unified state.
Morocco was one of the first nations to recognize the fledgling United States as an independent nation in 1787. In the beginning of the American Revolution, American merchant ships were subject to attack by the Barbary Pirates while sailing the Atlantic Ocean. On December 20, 1777, Morocco’s Sultan Mohammed III declared that the American merchant ships would be under the protection of the sultanate and could thus enjoy safe passage. The Moroccan-American Treaty of Friendship stands as the U.S.’s oldest non-broken friendship treaty.
Successful Portuguese efforts to invade and control the Atlantic coast in the fifteenth century did not profoundly affect the Mediterranean heart of Morocco. After the Napoleonic Wars, Egypt and the North African maghreb became increasingly ungovernable from Istanbul, the resort of pirates under local beys, and as Europe industrialized, an increasingly prized potential for colonization. The Maghreb had far greater proven wealth than the unknown rest of Africa and a location of strategic importance affecting the exit from the Mediterranean. For the first time, Morocco became a state of some interest in itself to the European Powers. France showed a strong interest in Morocco as early as 1830. Recognition by the United Kingdom in 1904 of France’s sphere of influence in Morocco provoked a reaction from the German Empire; the crisis of June 1905 was resolved at the Algeciras Conference, Spain in 1906, which formalized France’s “special position” and entrusted policing of Morocco jointly to France and Spain. A second Moroccan crisis provoked by Berlin, increased tensions between European powers. The Treaty of Fez (signed on March 30, 1912) made Morocco a protectorate of France. By the same treaty, Spain assumed the role of protecting power over the northern and southern Saharan zones on November 27 that year.
Under the French protectorate, Moroccan natives were denied their basic human rights such as freedom of speech, the right of gathering and travel in their own country. French settlers built for themselves modern European-like cities called ” Village or ville” next to poor old Arab cities called “Medinas”. The French apartheid system forbid native Moroccans from living, working, and traveling into the French quarters. The French education system was teaching the few favored noble native Moroccan families about solely French history, art and culture. There was complete disregard for the natives own language and culture. Colonial authorities exerted tighter control on religious schools and universities namely “madrassas” and quaraouaine university. The rise of a young Moroccan intellectual class gave birth to nationalist movements whose main goals were to restore the governance of the country to its own people. Nationalist political parties, which subsequently arose under the French protectorate, based their arguments for Moroccan independence on such World War II declarations as the Atlantic Charter (a joint U.S.-British statement that set forth, among other things, the right of all people to choose the form of government under which they live). A manifesto of the Istiqlal Party (Independence party in English) in 1944 was one of the earliest public demands for independence. That party subsequently provided most of the leadership for the nationalist movement.
France’s exile of Sultan Mohammed V in 1953 to Madagascar and his replacement by the unpopular Mohammed Ben Aarafa, whose reign was perceived as illegitimate, sparked active opposition to the French and Spanish protectorates. The most notable violence occurred in Oujda where Moroccans attacked French and other European residents in the streets. Operations by the newly created “Jaish al-tahrir” (Liberation Army), were launched on October 1, 1955. Jaish al-tahrir was created by “Comité de Libération du Maghreb Arabe” (Arab Maghreb Liberation Committee) in Cairo, Egypt to constitute a resistance movement against occupation. Its goal was the return of King Mohammed V and the liberation of Algeria and Tunisia as well. France allowed Mohammed V to return in 1955, and the negotiations that led to Moroccan independence began the following year.
All those events helped increase the degree of solidarity between the people and the newly returned king. For this reason, the revolution that Morocco knew was called “Taourat al-malik wa shaab” (The revolution of the King and the People) and it is celebrated every August 20.
The Mausoleum of Mohammed V in Rabat
On November 18, 2006, Morocco celebrated the 50th anniversary of its independence. Morocco recovered its political independence from France on March 2, 1956, and on April 7, France officially relinquished its protectorate. Through agreements with Spain in 1956 and 1958, Moroccan control over certain Spanish-ruled areas was restored, though attempts to claim other Spanish colonial possessions through military action were less successful. The internationalized city of Tangier was reintegrated with the signing of the Tangier Protocol on October 29, 1956 (see Tangier Crisis). Hassan II became King of Morocco on March 3, 1961. His early years of rule would be marked by political unrest. The Spanish enclave of Ifni in the south was reintegrated to the country in 1969. Morocco annexed the Western Sahara during the 1970s (“Marcha Verde”, Green March) after demanding its reintegration from Spain since independence, but final resolution on the status of the territory remains unresolved. (See History of Western Sahara.)
Political reforms in the 1990s resulted in the establishment of a bicameral legislature in 1997. Morocco was granted Major non-NATO ally status by the United States in June 2004 and has signed free trade agreements with the United States and the European Union.
The current King of Morocco, Mohammed VI
Morocco is a de jure constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament. The King of Morocco, with vast executive powers, can dissolve government and deploy the military, among other prerogatives. Opposition political parties are legal, and several have been formed in recent years. Politics of Morocco take place in a framework of a parliamentary constitutional monarchy, whereby the Prime Minister of Morocco is the head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of parliament, the Assembly of Representatives of Morocco and the Assembly of Councillors. The Moroccan Constitution provides for a monarchy with a Parliament and an independent judiciary.
The constitution grants the king extensive powers; he is both the secular political leader and the “Commander of the Faithful” as a direct descendant of the Prophet Mohammed. He presides over the Council of Ministers; appoints the Prime Minister following legislative elections, and on recommendations from the latter, appoints the members of the government. While the constitution theoretically allows the king to terminate the tenure of any minister, and after consultation with the heads of the higher and lower Assemblies, to dissolve the Parliament, suspend the constitution, call for new elections, or rule by decree, the only time this happened was in 1965. The King is formally the chief of the military. Upon the death of his father Mohammed V, King Hassan II succeeded to the throne in 1961. He ruled Morocco for the next 38 years, until he died in 1999. His son, King Mohammed VI, assumed the throne in July 1999.
Following the March 1998 elections, a coalition government headed by opposition socialist leader Abderrahmane Youssoufi and composed largely of ministers drawn from opposition parties, was formed. Prime Minister Youssoufi’s government is the first government drawn primarily from opposition parties in decades, and also represents the first opportunity for a coalition of socialist, left-of-center, and nationalist parties to be included in the government until October 2002. It was also the first time in the modern political history of the Arab world that the opposition assumed power following an election. The current government is headed by Abbas El Fassi.
The legislature’s building in Rabat
Since the constitutional reform of 1996, the bicameral legislature consists of two chambers. The Assembly of Representatives of Morocco (Majlis al-Nuwab/Assemblée des Répresentants) has 325 members elected for a five year term, 295 elected in multi-seat constituencies and 30 in national lists consisting only of women. The Assembly of Councillors (Majlis al-Mustasharin) has 270 members, elected for a nine year term, elected by local councils (162 seats), professional chambers (91 seats) and wage-earners (27 seats). The Parliament’s powers, though limited, were expanded under the 1992 and 1996 constitutional revisions and include budgetary matters, approving bills, questioning ministers, and establishing ad hoc commissions of inquiry to investigate the government’s actions. The lower chamber of Parliament may dissolve the government through a vote of no confidence.
The highest court in the judicial structure is the Supreme Court, whose judges are appointed by the King. The Youssoufi government continued to implement a reform program to develop greater judicial independence and impartiality. Morocco is divided into 16 administrative regions; the regions are administered by the Walis and governors appointed by the King.
As part of a 1997 decentralization/regionalization law passed by the legislature, sixteen new regions were created. These regions are:
Morocco is divided into 37 provinces and 2 wilayas*: Agadir, Al Hoceima, Azilal, Beni Mellal, Ben Slimane, Boulemane, Casablanca*, Chaouen, El Jadida, El Kelaa des Sraghna, Er Rachidia, Essaouira, Fes, Figuig, Guelmim, Ifrane, Kenitra, Khemisset, Rommani, Khenifra, Khouribga, Laayoune, Larache, Marrakech, Meknes, Nador, Ouarzazate, Oujda, Rabat-Sale*, Safi, Settat, Sidi Kacem, Tangier, Tan-Tan, Taounate, Taroudannt, Tata, Taza, Tetouan, Tiznit; three additional provinces of Ad Dakhla (Oued Eddahab), Boujdour, and Es Smara as well as parts of Tan-Tan and Laayoune fall within Moroccan-claimed Western Sahara.
- To find related topics in a list, see List of cities in Morocco.
|Largest cities in Morocco|
|Rank||City||Region||Population||Rank||City||Region||Population||view · talk · edit
Western Sahara status
Because of the conflict over Western Sahara, the status of both regions of “Saguia el-Hamra” and “Río de Oro” is disputed. The United Nations views Western Sahara as a non-self-governing territory, and as a case of unfinished decolonization. Morocco’s rule in the territory is not internationally recognized, nor is the independent republic proposed by Polisario, a Saharawi group which fought against the Spanish colonial rule and then for Western Sahara’s independence as the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (today headquartered in Algeria). There is a ceasefire in effect since 1991, and a UN mission (MINURSO) is tasked with organizing a referendum on whether the territory should become independent or recognized as a part of Morocco. At the time, both parties signed an agreement to this effect, but they did not agree on who would be entitled to vote.
The territory is mostly administered as the Southern Provinces by Morocco since Spain handed over the territory to Morocco and Mauritania after the Madrid Accords in 1975-76. Part of the territory, the Free Zone, is an unhabited area controlled by the Polisario Front as the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic with Headquarters at Tindouf in Algeria. A UN-administered cease-fire has been in effect since September, 1991.
Western Sahara War
The Western Sahara War was the armed conflict which saw the Sahrawi rebel national liberation movement Polisario Front(Headquarted in Algeria) battling Morocco and Mauritania for the control of the former Spanish colony of Western Sahara from 1976 to 1991. The war resulted in the Spanish retreat in 1976, the Mauritanian retreat in 1979 and a cease fire agreement with Morocco. The bigger part of the territory remained under Moroccan control.
Moroccan Autonomy Initiative
Recently, the government of Morocco has suggested autonomous status for the region, through the Moroccan Royal Advisory Council for Saharan Affairs (CORCAS). The project was presented to the United Nations Security Council in mid-April 2007. The proposal was encouraged by Moroccan allies such as the USA, France and Spain, and the Security Council “Takes note of the Moroccan proposal presented on 11 April 2007 to the Secretary-General and welcoming serious and credible Moroccan efforts to move the process forward towards resolution;”. The Security Council has called upon the parties to enter into direct and unconditional negotiations to reach a mutually accepted political solution.
High Atlas mountains
Road in Ifrane
Morocco has a coast on the Atlantic Ocean that reaches past the Strait of Gibraltar into the Mediterranean Sea. It is bordered by Spain to the north (a water border through the Strait and land borders with three small Spanish-controlled exclaves, Ceuta, Melilla, and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera), Algeria to the east, and Mauritania to the south. 
The geography of Morocco spans from the Atlantic Ocean, to mountainous areas, to the Sahara (desert). Morocco is a Northern African country, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, between Algeria and the annexed Western Sahara.
A large part of Morocco is mountainous. The Atlas Mountains are located mainly in the center and the south of the country. The Rif Mountains are located in the north of the country. Both ranges are mainly inhabited by the Berber people. At 172,402 sq mi (446,519 km2), Morocco is the fifty-seventh largest country in the world (after Uzbekistan). Algeria borders Morocco to the east and southeast though the border between the two countries has been closed since 1994.
There are also four Spanish enclaves on the Mediterranean coast: Ceuta, Melilla, Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera, Peñón de Alhucemas, and the Chafarinas islands, as well as the disputed islet Perejil. Off the Atlantic coast the Canary Islands belong to Spain, whereas Madeira to the north is Portuguese. To the north, Morocco is bordered by and controls part of the Strait of Gibraltar, giving it power over the waterways in and out of the Mediterranean sea.
The Rif mountains occupy the region bordering the Mediterranean from the north-west to the north-east. The Atlas Mountains run down the backbone of the country, from the south west to the north east. Most of the south east portion of the country is in the Sahara Desert and as such is generally sparsely populated and unproductive economically. Most of the population lives to the north of these mountains, while to the south is the desert. To the south, lies the Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony that was annexed by Morocco in 1975 (see Green March). Morocco claims that the Western Sahara is part of its territory and refers to that as its Southern Provinces.
Morocco’s capital city is Rabat; its largest city is its main port, Casablanca. Other cities include Agadir, Essaouira, Fes, Marrakech, Meknes, Mohammadia, Oujda, Ouarzazat, Safi, Salé, Tangier and Tétouan.
The climate is Mediterranean in the North and in some mountains (West of Atlas), which becomes more extreme towards the interior regions. The terrain is such that the coastal plains are rich and accordingly, they comprise the backbone for agriculture, especially in the North. Forests cover about 12% of the land while arable land accounts for 18%. 5% is irrigated. In the Atlas (Middle Atlas), there are several different climates: Mediterranean (with some more humid and fresher variants), Maritime Temperate (with some humid and fresher variants too) that allow different species of oaks, moss carpets, junipers, atlantic cedars and many other plants, to form extensive and very rich humid cloud forests. In the highest peaks a different climate may occur. On the other side of Atlas mountains (East Atlas), the climate changes, due to the barrier/shelter effect of these mountainous system, turning it very dry and extremely warm during the summer (that can last several months), especially on the lowlands and on the valleys faced to the Sahara. Here it starts the big Desert Sahara and it is perfectly visible, for example, on the Draa Valley, on which it is possible to find oases, sand dunes and rocky desert landscapes. So the climate in this region is desert.
Morocco is known for its wildlife biodiversity. Birds represent the most important fauna. The avifauna of Morocco includes a total of 454 species, of which five have been introduced by humans, and 156 are rare or accidental.
Morocco’s economy is considered a relatively liberal economy governed by the law of supply and demand. Since 1993, the country has followed a policy of privatization of certain economic sectors which used to be in the hands of the government. Morocco is the world’s biggest exporter and third producer of phosphorus. Price fluctuations of phosphates in the international market strongly influence Morocco’s economy.
Government reforms and steady yearly growth in the region of 4-5% from 2000 to 2007, including 4.9% year-on-year growth in 2003-2007 helped the Moroccan economy to become much more robust compared to a few years ago. Economic growth is far more diversified, with new service and industrial poles, like Casablanca and Tangier, developing. The agriculture sector is being rehabilitated, which in combination with good rainfalls led to a growth of over 20% in 2009.
The services sector accounts for just over half of GDP and industry, made up of mining, construction and manufacturing, is an additional quarter. The sectors who recorded the highest growth are the tourism, telecoms, information technology, and textile sectors. Morocco , however, still depends to an inordinate degree on agriculture. The sector accounts for only around 14% of GDP but employs 40-45% of the Moroccan population. With a semi-arid climate, it is difficult to assure good rainfall and Morocco’s GDP varies depending on the weather. Fiscal prudence has allowed for consolidation, with both the budget deficit and debt falling as a percentage of GDP.
The economic system of the country presents several facets. It is characterized by a large opening towards the outside world. France remains the primary trade partner (supplier and customer) of Morocco. France is also the primary creditor and foreign investor in Morocco. In the Arab world, Morocco has the second-largest non-oil GDP, behind Egypt, as of 2005.
Since the early 1980s the Moroccan government has pursued an economic program toward accelerating real economy growth with the support of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the Paris Club of creditors. The country’s currency, the dirham, is now fully convertible for current account transactions; reforms of the financial sector have been implemented; and state enterprises are being privatized.
The major resources of the Moroccan economy are agriculture, phosphates, and tourism. Sales of fish and seafood are important as well. Industry and mining contribute about one-third of the annual GDP. Morocco is the world’s third-largest producer of phosphorus (after China, which is first, and the United States which is second), and the price fluctuations of phosphates on the international market greatly influence Morocco’s economy. Tourism and workers’ remittances have played a critical role since the Kingdom’s independence. The production of textiles and clothing is part of a growing manufacturing sector that accounted for approximately 34% of total exports in 2002, employing 40% of the industrial workforce. The government wishes to increase textile and clothing exports from $1.27 billion in 2001 to $3.29 billion in 2010.
The high cost of imports, especially of petroleum imports, is a major problem. Another chronic problem is unreliable rainfall, which produces drought or sudden floods; in 1995, the country’s worst drought in 30 years forced Morocco to import grain and adversely affected the economy. Another drought occurred in 1997, and one in 1999–2000. Reduced incomes due to drought caused GDP to fall by 7.6% in 1995, by 2.3% in 1997, and by 1.5% in 1999. During the years between drought, good rains brought bumper crops to market. Good rainfall in 2001 led to a 5% GDP growth rate. Morocco suffers both from unemployment (9.6% in 2008), and a large external debt estimated at around $20 billion, or half of GDP in 2002.
Among the various free trade agreements that Morocco has ratified with its principal economic partners, are The Euro-Mediterranean free trade area agreement with the European Union with the objective of integrating the European Free Trade Association at the horizons of 2012; the Agadir Agreement, signed with Egypt, Jordan, and Tunisia, within the framework of the installation of the Greater Arab Free Trade Area; the US-Morocco Free Trade Agreement with United States which came into force on January 1, 2006, and lately the agreement of free exchange with Turkey.(See Economy of Morocco)
Morocco is the fourth most populous Arab country, after Egypt, Sudan and Algeria. Most Moroccans practice Sunni Islam and are of Berber, Arab or mixed Arab-Berber stock. Arabs and Berbers comprise about 99.1% of the Moroccan population.
Morocco has been inhabited by Berbers for at least the last 5000 years. The Arabs conquered the territory that would become Morocco in the 7th and 11th centuries, at the time under the rule of various late Byzantine Roman leaders and indigenous Berber and Romano-Berber principalities, laying the foundation for the emergence of an Arab-Berber culture. A sizeable portion of the population is identified as Haratin and Gnawa (or Gnaoua), black or mixed race. Morocco’s Jewish minority (265,000 in 1948) has decreased significantly and numbers about 5,500 (See History of the Jews in Morocco). Most of the 100,000 foreign residents are French or Spanish. Some of them are colonists’ descendants, who primarily work for European multinational companies, others are married to Moroccans and preferred to settle in Morocco. Prior to independence, Morocco was home to half a million Europeans, mainly Spanish and French settlers (colons).
Recent studies make clear no significant genetic differences exist between Arabic and non-Arabic speaking populations, highlighting that in common with most of the Arab World, Arabization was mainly via acculturation of indigenous populations over time. In the 12th and 13th centuries an invasion of Arab nomads, the Banu Hilal and Banu Sulaym tribes, swept the whole Maghreb. The Moorish refugees from Spain settled in the coast-towns. According to the European Journal of Human Genetics, Moroccans from North-Western Africa were genetically closer to Iberians than to Sub-Saharan Africans of Bantu ethnicity.
The largest concentration of Moroccans outside Morocco is in France, which has reportedly over one million Moroccans. The Netherlands and Belgium have 1 million Moroccans from the Riff (Al Hoceima, Nador). There are also large Moroccan communities in Spain (about 700,000 Moroccans), the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Israel and the United States. Moroccan Jews are the second biggest Jewish ethnic group in Israel.
Most people live west of the Atlas Mountains, a range that insulates the country from the Sahara Desert. Casablanca is the center of commerce and industry and the leading port; Rabat is the seat of government; Tangier is the gateway to Morocco from Spain and also a major port; Fes is the cultural and religious center; and Marrakech is a major tourist center.
There is a European expatriate population of 100,000, mainly of French or Spanish descent; many are teachers or technicians or retirees, especially in Marrakech.
Morocco’s official language is Modern Standard Arabic. The country’s distinctive Arabic dialect is called Moroccan Arabic. Approximately 20 million (60% of the population), mostly in rural areas, speak Berber – which exists in Morocco in three different dialects (Riff, Shilha, and Central Atlas Tamazight) – either as a first language or bilingually with the spoken Arabic dialect. French, which is Morocco’s unofficial second language, is taught universally and serves as Morocco’s primary language of commerce and economics. It also is widely used in education and government. About 2 million Moroccans in the northern part of the country speak Spanish as a second language in parallel with Riff. English, while still far behind French and Spanish in terms of number of speakers, is rapidly becoming the second foreign language of choice among educated youth. As a result of national education reforms entering into force in late 2002, English will be taught in all public schools from the fourth year on. French however, will remain the second language because of Morocco’s close economic and social links with other French-speaking countries and especially France.
The single oldest known native language of Morocco is the Berber language. Its current number of speakers is unknown. The government avoids highlighting this issue for political reasons. Berber in Morocco has three main accents or varieties: Tamazight Tarifit, Tamazight of the Atlas, and Tamazight Tashelhit.
Contrary to stereotypical beliefs held by many foreigners, Berber-speaking Moroccans live in the cities too and not only in rural areas. The cities of Casablanca and Rabat, for example, have sizable Berber-speaking populations that might amount to a third or more of their total respective populations.
The number of Tamazight-Tarifit speakers was estimated at around 3 million in 1990. The language is spoken in the Rif area in the north of the country, and is the largest Berber dialect in Morocco, by number of speakers. There is also 2 million Riff-speaking in Europe. The Riffians represent over 96% of the Morrocans in The Netherlands and Belgium. and 45% of the Morroccans in France are Riffian. The Tashelhit dialect is the most widely spoken variety of Berber, as it covers the whole of the Region Souss-Massa-Draâ, and is also spoken in the Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz region. Studies done in 1990 show around 3 million people, concentrated in the south of Morocco, speak Tashelhit.
Linguistically, Berber belongs to the Afro-Asiatic languages group, and has many accents or variants. Collectively, these are known by many Moroccan-Arabic-speakers as “Shelha”. Classical Arabic of the Middle East still uses the word “Barbaria”. Although, there is an increasing tendency by Arab Media (e.g. Aljazeera, Asharq Alawsat) to use the word “Amazighiyya” because the Arabic word “Barbari” means both “Berber” and “Barbarian”. The terms “Barbar” and “Shelha” (or “Shalha”) are considered by most Berber activists to be offensive. They prefer the word Amazigh. However, the European word “Berber” is not considered offensive by Berbers because European languages distinguish between “Berber” and “Barbarian”.
Agdal gardens, Meknes
Morocco is an ethnically diverse country with a rich culture and civilization. Through Moroccan history, Morocco hosted many people coming from East (Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Jews and Arabs), South (Sub-Saharan Africans) and North (Romans, Vandals, Andalusians (including Moors and Jews). All those civilizations have had an impact on the social structure of Morocco. It conceived various forms of beliefs, from paganism, Judaism, and Christianity to Islam.
The production of Moroccan literature has continued to grow and diversify. To the traditional genres—poetry, essays, and historiography—have been added forms inspired by Middle Eastern and Western literary models. French is often used in publishing research in the social and natural sciences, and in the fields of literature and literary studies, works are published in both Arabic and French. Moroccan writers, such as Mohammed Choukri, Driss Chraïbi, Abdallah Laroui, Abdelfattah Kilito, and Fatima Mernissi, publish their works in both French and English. Expatriate writers such as Pierre Loti, William S. Burroughs, and Paul Bowles have drawn attention to Moroccan writers as well as to the country itself.
Since independence a veritable blossoming has taken place in painting and sculpture, popular music, amateur theatre, and filmmaking. The Moroccan National Theatre (founded 1956) offers regular productions of Moroccan and French dramatic works. Art and music festivals take place throughout the country during the summer months, among them the World Sacred Music Festival at Fès.
Moroccan music, influenced by Arab, Amazigh, African, and Andalusian traditions, makes use of a number of traditional instruments, such as the flute (nāy), shawm (ghaita), zither (qanūn), and various short necked lutes (including the ʿūd and gimbrī). These are often backed by explosive percussion on the darbūkka (terra-cotta drum). Among the most popular traditional Moroccan artists internationally are the Master Musicians of Jajouka, an all-male guild trained from childhood, and Hassan Hakmoun, a master of gnāwa trance music, a popular spiritual style that traces its roots to sub-Saharan Africa. Younger Moroccans enjoy raï, a style of plain-speaking Algerian music that incorporates traditional sounds with those of Western rock, Jamaican reggae, and Egyptian and Moroccan popular music.
Each region possesses its own specificities, thus contributing to the national culture and to the legacy of civilization. Morocco has set among its top priorities the protection of its diverse legacy and the preservation of its cultural heritage.
Culturally speaking, Morocco has always been successful in combining its Berber, Jewish and Arabic cultural heritage with external influences such as the French and the Spanish and, during the last decades, the Anglo-American lifestyles.
Moroccan cuisine has long been considered as one of the most diversified cuisines in the world. This is a result of the centuries-long interaction of Morocco with the outside world. The cuisine of Morocco is a mix of Berber, Spanish, Corsican, Portuguese, Moorish, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and African cuisines. The cuisine of Morocco has been influenced by the native Berber cuisine, the Arabic Andalusian cuisine brought by the Moriscos when they left Spain, the Turkish cuisine from the Turks and the Middle Eastern cuisines brought by the Arabs, as well as Jewish cuisine.
Spices are used extensively in Moroccan food. While spices have been imported to Morocco for thousands of years, many ingredients, like saffron from Tiliouine, mint and olives from Meknes, and oranges and lemons from Fez, are home-grown. Chicken is the most widely eaten meat in Morocco. The most commonly eaten red meat in Morocco is beef; lamb is preferred but is relatively expensive. Couscous is the most famous Moroccan dish along with pastilla, tajine, and harira. The most popular drink is green tea with mint.
Moroccan literature is written in Arabic, Berber and French. It also contains literature produced in Al-Andalus. Under the Almohad dynasty Morocco experienced a period of prosperity and brilliance of learning. The Almohad built the Marrakech Koutoubia Mosque, which accommodated no fewer than 25,000 people, but was also famed for its books, manuscripts, libraries and book shops, which gave it its name; the first book bazaar in history. The Almohad Caliph Abu Yakub had a great love for collecting books. He founded a great library, which was eventually carried to the Casbah and turned into a public library.
Modern Moroccan literature began in the 1930s. Two main factors gave Morocco a pulse toward witnessing the birth of a modern literature. Morocco, as a French and Spanish protectorate left Moroccan intellectuals the opportunity to exchange and to produce literary works freely enjoying the contact of other Arabic literature and Europe.
During the 1950s and 1960s, Morocco was a refuge and artistic centre and attracted writers as Paul Bowles, Tennessee Williams and William S. Burroughs. Moroccan literature flourished with novelists such as Mohamed Zafzaf and Mohamed Choukri, who wrote in Arabic, and Driss Chraïbi and Tahar Ben Jelloun who wrote in French. Other important Moroccan authors include, Abdellatif Laabi, Abdelkarim Ghellab, Fouad Laroui, Mohammed Berrada and Leila Abouzeid. It should be noted also, that orature (oral literature) is an integral part of Moroccan culture, be it in Moroccan Arabic or Amazigh.
Morocco is home to Andalusian classical music that is found throughout North Africa. It probably evolved 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 Morisco visual artist/composer/ oudist Tarik Banzi founder of the Al-Andalus Ensemble
Chaabi (popular) is a music consisting of numerous varieties which are descended from the multifarious forms of Moroccan folk music. Chaabi was originally performed in markets, but is now found at any celebration or meeting.
The railway network of Morocco consists of 1907 km 1,435 mm (4 ft 8+1⁄2 in) standard gauge and 1003 km electrified with 3 kV DC. There are connections to Algeria, and consecutively Tunisia, but since the 1990s the connections are closed. The Gibraltar Tunnel is a rail tunnel link proposed between Tangier, Morocco and Spain under the Strait of Gibraltar to be in operation in 2025.
There are plans for high-speed lines: Work by ONCF could begin in 2007 from Marrakech to Tangier in the north via Marrakesh to Agadir in the south, and from Casablanca on the Atlantic to Oujda on the Algerian border. If the plans are approved, the 1,500 kilometres of track may take until 2030 to complete at a cost of around 25 billion dirhams ($3.37 billion). Casablanca to Marrakesh could be cut to 1 hour and 20 minutes from over three hours, and from the capital Rabat to Tangier to 1 hour and 30 minutes from 4 hours and 30 minutes.
The Tangier-Casablanca high-speed rail link marks the first stage of the ONCF’s high-speed rail master plan, pursuant to which over 1,500 kilometres of new railway lines will be built by 2035 The high speed train -TGV- will carry 8 million passengers per year. It will have a capacity of 500 passengers. the work in the High Speed Train project will start in June 2010 and the infrastructure works and railway equipment will end in 2014, and the HST will be operational in December 2015.
Compulsory military service in Morocco has been suppressed since September 2006, and the country’s reserve obligation lasts until age 50. The country’s military consists of the Royal Armed Forces—this includes the army (the largest branch) and a small navy and air force—the National Police Force, the Royal Gendarmerie (mainly responsible for rural security), and the Auxiliary Forces. Internal security is generally effective, and acts of political violence are rare (with one exception, the 2003 Casablanca bombings which killed 45 people). The UN maintains a small observer force in Western Sahara, where a large number of Morocco’s troops are stationed. The Saharawi group Polisario maintains an active militia of an estimated 5,000 fighters in Western Sahara and has engaged in intermittent warfare with Moroccan forces since the 1980s.
The military of Morocco is composed of the following main divisions:
- Royal Armed Forces
Education in Morocco is free and compulsory through primary school (age 15). Nevertheless, many children – particularly girls in rural areas – still do not attend school. The country’s illiteracy rate has been stuck at around 50% for some years, but reaches as high as 90% among girls in rural regions. On September 2006, UNESCO awarded Morocco amongst other countries such as Cuba, Pakistan, Rajasthan (India) and Turkey the “UNESCO 2006 Literacy Prize”.
Morocco has about 230,000 students enrolled in fourteen public universities. The Mohammed V University in Rabat and Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane (a public university) are highly regarded. Al-Akhawayn, founded in 1993 by King Hassan II and King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, is an English-language American-style university comprising about 1,000 students. The University of Al Karaouine, in Fez, is considered the oldest continuously operating university in the world and has been a center of learning for more than 1,000 years.
Morocco allocates approximately one fifth of its budget to education. Much of this is spent on building schools to accommodate the rapidly growing population. Education is mandatory for children between the ages of 7 and 13 years. In urban areas the majority of children in this age group attend school, though on a national scale the level of participation drops significantly. About three fourths of school age males attend school, but only about half of school age girls; these proportions drop markedly in rural areas. Slightly more than half of the children go on to secondary education, including trade and technical schools. Of these, few seek higher education. Poor school attendance, particularly in rural areas, has meant a low rate of literacy, which is about two fifths of the population.
Morocco has more than four dozen universities, institutes of higher learning, and polytechnics dispersed at urban centres throughout the country. Its leading institutions include Muḥammad V University in Rabat, the country’s largest university, with branches in Casablanca and Fès; the Hassan II Agriculture and Veterinary Institute in Rabat, which conducts leading social science research in addition to its agricultural specialties; and Al-Akhawayn University in Ifrane, the first English-language university in North Africa, inaugurated in 1995 with contributions from Saudi Arabia and the United States. The University of Al-Karaouine or Al-Qarawiyyin is a university located in Fes. It is considered the oldest continuously operating academic degree-granting university in the world.
Morocco has also some of prestigious Postgraduate Schools like : L’École Mohammadia d’ingénieurs, l’Institut national de statistique et d’économie appliquée, l’École nationale d’industrie minérale, l’École Hassania des travaux publics, l’Institut supérieur de commerce et d’administration des entreprises, ENCG (écoles nationales de commerce et de gestion), EST (écoles supérieures de technologie).
Spectator sports in Morocco traditionally centred on the art of horsemanship until European sports—football (soccer), polo, swimming, and tennis—were introduced at the end of the 19th century. Football is the country’s premier sport, popular among the urban youth in particular, and in 1986 Morocco became the first Arab & African country to qualify to the second round in World Cup competition. At the 1984 Olympic Games, two Moroccans won gold medals in track and field events, one of whom—Nawal El Moutawakel in the 400 metre hurdles—was the first woman from an Arab or Islamic country to win an Olympic gold medal. Another was Hicham El Guerrouj. Tennis and golf have also become popular. Several Moroccan professional players have competed in international competition, and the country fielded its first Davis Cup team in 1999.
As of 2007, Moroccan society participated in many sports, including handball, football, golf, tennis, basketball, and athletics. Hicham El Guerrouj, a retired middle distance runner for Morocco, won 2 gold medals for Morocco at the Athletics at the 2004 Summer Olympics and holds the 1.609 km (1 mile) world record, along with other notable performances. Also kickboxing is a sport that is very popular in Morocco. Badr Hari, Heavyweight kickboxer and martial artist, is a former K-1 Heavyweight champion and K-1 World Grand Prix 2008 and 2009 finalist.
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the end @ copyright Dr Iwan suwandy 2011