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MOROCCO DESCRIPTION:


Morocco has a coast by 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 southern boundary is with Mauritania.

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 446,550 km2 (172,414 sq mi), Morocco is the fifty-seventh largest country in the world (after Uzbekistan).

The country's Mediterranean climate is similar to that of southern California, with lush forests in the northern and central mountain ranges of the country, giving way to dryer conditions and inland deserts further south east. The Moroccan coastal plains experience remarkably moderate temperatures even in summer, owing to the effect of the cold Canary Current off its Atlantic coast.

South-East of the Atlas mountains, near the Algerian borders, the climate becomes very dry, with long and hot summers. Extreme heat and low moisture levels are especially pronounced in the lowland regions east of the Atlas range due to the rain shadow effect of the mountain system. The south-eastern most portions of Morocco are very hot, and include portions of the Sahara Desert, where vast swathes of sand dunes and rocky plains are dotted with lush oases.


MOROCCO CULTURE:


The Culture of Morocco has changed throughout Moroccan history, Morocco has hosted many peoples, in addition to the indigenous Berbers, Phoenicians, Arabs, South (Sub-Saharan African), and North (Romans, Vandals, Spanish-Andalusians both Muslims and Jewish). Morocco also has many dresses like the caftan which is worn worldwide today.

The majority of Morocco's population is Berber and Arab by identity. At least a third of the population speaks the Amazigh language. During the Islamic expansion, some Arabs came to Morocco and settled in the flat regions, such as Tadla and Doukkala. For example, there are groups called Charkawa and Arbawa who settled in Morocco from Arabia. The Charkawa claimed to be descended from Umar ibn Al-Khattab, the second caliph of Islam.

The traditional dress for men and women is called djellaba; a long, loose, hooded garment with full sleeves. The djellaba has a hood that comes to a point called a qob. The qob protects the wearer from the sun or in colder climates, like the mountains, the qob keeps in body heat and protects the face from falling snow. For special occasions, men also wear a red cap called a bernousse, more commonly referred to as a Fez. Women wear kaftans decorated with ornaments. Nearly all men, and most women, wear balgha - soft leather slippers with no heel, often dyed yellow. Women also wear high-heeled sandals, often with silver or gold tinsel.

The distinction between a djellaba and a kaftan is the hood on the djellaba, while a kaftan does not. Most women’s djellabas are brightly colored and have ornate patterns, stitching, or beading, while men's djellabas are usually plainer and colored neutrally.


MOROCCO CUISINE:


Moroccan cuisine is influenced by Morocco's interactions and exchanges with other cultures and nations over the centuries. Moroccan cuisine is typically a mix of Mediterranean, Arabic, Andalusian and Berber cuisine.

The main Moroccan dish most people are familiar with is couscous, the old national delicacy. Beef is the most commonly eaten red meat in Morocco, usually eaten in a tagine with a wide selection of vegetables. Chicken is also very commonly used in tagines, or roasted.

Lamb is also heavily consumed, and since Moroccan sheep breeds store most of their fat in their tails, Moroccan lamb does not have the pungent flavour that Western lamb and mutton have.

Since Morocco lies on two coasts, the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, Moroccan cuisine has ample seafood dishes. European pilchard is caught in large but declining quantities. Other fish species include mackerel, anchovy, sardinella, and horse mackerel.

Other famous Moroccan dishes are Pastilla (also spelled Basteeya or Bestilla), Tanjia and Harira, a typical heavy soup, eaten during winter to warm up and is usually served for dinner, it is typical eaten with plain bread or with dates during the month of Ramadan.

A big part of the daily meal is bread. Bread in Morocco is principally made from durum wheat semolina known as khobz. Bakeries are very common throughout Morocco and fresh bread is a staple in every city, town and village. The most common is whole grain coarse ground or white flour bread or baguettes. There are also a number of flat breads and pulled unleavened pan-fried breads.

In addition, there are dried salted meats and salted preserved meats such as kliia/khlia and g'did, which are used to flavor tagines or used in "el ghraif", a folded savory Moroccan pancake.

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