Morocco has been the home of the Berbers since the second millennium B.C. In A.D. 46, Morocco was annexed by Rome as part of the province of Mauritania until the Vandals overran this portion of the declining empire in the 5th century. The Arabs invaded circa 685, bringing Islam. The Berbers joined them in invading Spain in 711, but then they revolted against the Arabs, resenting their secondary status. In 1086, Berbers took control of large areas of Moorish Spain until they were expelled in the 13th century.
The land was rarely unified and was usually ruled by small tribal states. Conflicts between Berbers and Arabs were chronic. Portugal and Spain began invading Morocco, which helped to unify the land in defense. In 1660, Morocco came under the control of the Alawite dynasty. It is a sherif dynasty—descended from the prophet Mohammad—and rules Morocco to this day.
The best time to visit Morocco is probably between March and June or September to November. The weather is normally very good in Morocco. You might want to avoid the high season where's everything is pretty expensive than the usual rates and the hot temperatures during July and August.
concerning the best place to visit that will depend of what kind of activities and hobbies you are into. the only thing i recommend is visiting Marrakesh is a MUST.
Here's a list of major places and cities of interest
"Marrakech, Djemma el Fna, Morocco"
Situated at the foot of the Atlas mountains, the imperial city of Marrakech is large, noisy, full of history, and beautiful. There's a lot to see and do in Marrakech. Highlights include the central square of Djemma el Fna; the Saadian Tombs, Marjorelle Gardens, and the souqs (bazaars). Staying in a traditional Riad will really enhance your visit to this fascinating city.
2. Fes (Fez)
The most complete medieval city of the Arab world, Fes is a strange and appealing mix of middle ages meets the modern world. The extraordinary medina city of Fes El Bali is worth a few days walking in itself. Other highlights include the Merenid tombs, the Royal Palace and the Mellah (Jewish quarter). Fes was Morocco's capital for more than 400 years and is still considered the religious and cultural center of the country.
"Essaouira, Morocco, view of fishing boats in the harbour"Getty Images/Martin Child
A favorite with independent travellers, Essaouira is a great place to get away from the heat and bustle of the bigger cities. Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley enjoyed the beach scene here in the 1960's. Highlights include strolling through the town's beautiful narrow streets filled with red and blue painted houses, the ramparts, the beach and listening to traditional music of the Gnawas.
Situated in the Rif mountains Chefchaouen is a small town in a big landscape. Popular with independent travellers (perhaps because it is the cannabis capital of morocco) but not yet spoilt by them. Highlights include hiking, swimming in streams, sipping a drink on the main square (Outa el Hammam) and enjoying the beauty of the white houses and their brightly painted doors.
Merzouga is a desert town that lies a stone throw away from the impressive Erg Chebbi sand dunes, Morocco's largest dunes. From here you can organize camel treks into the desert and get a little taste of Bedouin life. The landscape around Merzouga evokes the classic images of the Sahara desert and won't disappoint. There are plenty of places to stay to suit all budgets.
6. Jebel Toubkal
Jebel Toubkal, situated in the High Atlas Mountains, is North Africa's highest peak at 4,167m (13,667 ft). It's a challenging trek to the summit, but worth it for the spectacular views. While you can make it to the summit and back to the town of Imlil in a day, it's recommended you take at least 3 days to get the most out of it.
Meknes is smaller and a little more laid back than Marrakech and Fez yet this imperial city has similar charms. Highlights include a wonderfully preserved medina filled with souqs which is easy to navigate without a guide. The Imperial City, built by the powerful Moulay Ismail in the 17th Century, is a showcase of Moroccan architecture complete with huge gates and impressive carvings. The nearby Roman ruins of Volubilis are also well worth a trip.
8. Dades ValleyThe Dades Valley runs in between the Jebel Sarhro and the High Atlas Mountains and offers some of Morocco's most spectacular scenery. The deep red cliffs on each side are lined with impressive Kasbahs, traditional Moroccan built forts. The best way to appreciate the valley and its Berber villages is to get out of your car and walk especially when you reach the Todra and Dades Gorges. Several Kasbahs in this region have been turned into hotels.
Tangier is the gateway to Africa for many travelers. While the city doesn't have quite the charm it did in the 1940's and 1950's when you could rub shoulders with the likes of Truman Capote, Paul Bowles and Tennessee Williams there's still a lot to see. Highlights include the medina, the Kasbah and the Ville Nouvelle. Tangier is well known for its aggressive touts, but persevere and this unique city will grow on you.
Asilah is a wonderful beach town on Morocco's North Atlantic coast. Asilah is very popular with Moroccan vacationers who flock to its sandy beaches in the summer months. The city walls are covered in colorful murals and the houses are white-washed making this town look like it could be at home in Greece. A popular cultural festival is held here every summer. Other highlights include the beaches, small shops, the ramparts and medina.
For further usefull information you can browse the different sections of Go Morocco travel forums.
Tagines were traditionally used by moroccan nomads as portable ovens over charcoal braziers, a tagine is made from glazed earthenware (clay) with a conical lid. The base is both a cooking and serving dish. The cone shaped cover acts like an oven and the entire lid is totally sealed to retain heat and moisture, which not only prevents it from drying out during the long cooking process, but also allows the slow infusion of flavors throughout the dish. The lid has an extended knob at the top which is designed to remain cooler and thereby act as a handle.
Couscous is the national dish of Morocco. It is made with water and flour that is hand rolled, so it is actually rolled pasta. Traditionally it is steamed over a pan of stewing vegetables, spices, garbanzo beans, and your choice of meat. The word couscous refers to the wheat pasta as well as to the prepared dish with sauce and vegetables. There are numerous ways to make couscous that vary from region to region
How to Cook Couscous
Place couscous in a bowl and sprinkle with a cup and a half of water to thoroughly wet the couscous. Stir with your fingers to keep clumps from forming as it absorbs the water. Place couscous in a couscoussier, a two-part steamer with a steamer pan on top. The large bottom pot traditionally holds a stew that steams the couscous as it simmers. I suggest that you boil water in the steamer and cook the sauce separately, since this makes the process less difficult.
After the couscous steams for 30 minutes, take it out of the steamer pan and sprinkle olive oil on it while stirring to separate the grains and get the oil to coat each grain. Put water in the pot of the couscoussier. There should be ample liquid in bottom of pot but it should not come too close to bottom of steaming basket. Then steam the couscous for another 30 minutes. If the liquid in the bottom pot seems low, you should add more. When the couscous has finished cooking, separate the clumps. The texture of the grain should be fluffy. Couscous is placed on a plate and then topped with stew.
Moroccan Chicken With Couscous
4 chicken legs & thighs
1 salt & pepper,to taste
1 T olive oil
1 lg onion
1 lb carrots in 1/2,Slices
2 t paprika
1 t ginger,Ground
1/4 t tumeric
1/8 t cinnamon
1 lemon,cut in 8 wedges, seed
1 c chicken broth
2 c chicken broth
1/2 c currants,Dried
1 t salt,to taste (opt)
1/8 t allspice
1 c quick-cooking couscous
1. Skin and disjoint the chicken, season with the salt (if desired) and the pepper. Heat the oil in a large skillet, preferably one with a nonstick surface, and brown the chicken on both sides over medium-high heat. Remove chicken to a platter.
2. Reduce heat to medium-low, add onions to skillet and sauce for about 3 minutes.
3. Add the carrots and saute for 2 minutes.
4. Add the paprika, ginger, tumeric and cinnamon and cook the mixture for 1 minutes, stirring it.
5. Return chicken and their juices to skillet, add lemon wedges and broth. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer, turning chicken occasionally,for 30 minutes or until it is cooked through.
6. In a medium-size saucepan, combine the broth, currants, salt (if desired), and all spice, and bring to a boil. 7. Stir in the couscous, boil for 2 minutes, remove pan from heat, cover and let stand for 5 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. 8. Serve the chicken and carrots over the couscous, surrounded by the lemon wedges.
Moroccan Chicken With Olives
1/4 c cilantro
1 T paprika
2 t cumin
1/2 t salt
1/2 t turmeric
1/2 t ginger
2 cloves garlic
3 1/2 lb chicken,cut up
1/3 c flour
1/2 c water
1/4 c lemon juice
1 t chicken bouillon
1/2 c kalamata (or greek olives)
Mix cilantro, paprika, cumin, salt, turmeric, ginger and garlic. Rub mixture on all sides of chicken. Coat with flour. Place chicken in ungreased 13x9x2 inch baking dish. Mix water, lemon juice and bouillon. Pour over chicken. Add olives and lemon slices. Cookuncovered at 350 degrees spooning juices over chicken occasionally, until thickest pieces of chicken are done, about 1 hour. Serve with couscous or rice if desired.
Moroccan Lamb Sausage
3 lb lamb,Ground
1 t salt
1 1/2 t curry powder
1 1/2 t black pepper,Coarsely Ground
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t thyme,Dried
1/2 t currants
1/2 c pomegranate juice
1 t garlic,Minced
mix together all ingredients, stuff into casings, and twist into 5-inch lengths.
Moroccan Harost Balls With Dates, Raisins And Nuts
2 c dates,Pitted
1/2 c golden raisins
1/2 c dark raisins
1/2 c walnuts
1 T sweet red passover wine --
1 (up to 2)
Process the dates, raisins, and walnuts in a food processor until the mixture is finely chopped and begins to stick together. Add enough wine to make a sticky mass. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Drop slightly rounded measuring teaspoonfuls of the mixture onto a lined sheet. Roll each mound with moistened palms into hazelnut-size balls. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or until firm.
Moroccan Tea, lovingly refered to as Moroccan whiskey
Mastering the art of making Moroccan tea is well worth the effort it involves. To make about a litre of tea, first heat the teapot. Add about 1 1/2 Tablespoons of green tea, a handful of fresh whole mint leaves with their sprigs intact, and between 150 - 180 grams of lump sugar. Swirl the liquids around and then quickly pour out the water, taking care not to lose any of the leaves or undisolved sugar. (Moroccans swear this takes the bitterness out of the tea). Add the mint and and more sugar to taste and pour in about 1 litre of boiling water. Let the mixture brew for about 6 - 8 minutes.
The technique of pouring the tea is almost as crucial to the success of hosts as the quality of the tea they use. This becomes easier to understand when one realizes that all Moroccan tea pots have long, curved pouring spouts and this allow the tea to be poured into even the tiniest of glasses from a height of half a metre or more. Practice is definitely advised before trying this with your guests. Moroccans like their tea lightly flavored by herbs, only rarely is it served "neat". The most popular herb added to tea is mint
The origin of tea in Morocco is much debated. Several theories attribute it to various sources. One claims that Morocco's taste for green tea evolved from the first Phoenicians who visited the area. Another asserts it originates from Andalusia at the time of the Spanish reconquest. Yet another hypothesis extends further back in time to the Berbers, the first inhabitants of North Africa, who originally came from Central Asia.
Moroccan Artisan Carpets
Morocco’s appeal to travelers is Artisan normally available for a decent price. And, for those gifted with the art of bartering a even better price can be achieved. One of the most sought after items in Morocco are carpets. For those armed with the knowledge of what makes a quality carpet and a basic price range to begin the wheeling and dealing, buying a carpet in Morocco can be a rewarding experience (and make your living room look astounding).
Local Moroccan women who make the carpets often are not the ones who end up selling them. In some small villages, where women’s cooperatives exist, the women are involved in pricing and selling process. They might even have set prices, which are what many travelers prefer, especially if they aren’t into bargaining while sipping tea for two or more hours in a crowded medina alleyway.
Therefore, if possible, attempt to visit a local artisanal shop or women’s cooperative to have an idea of what prices are fair for different types of carpets. One type of carpet is the heavy woolen type that is available throughout the country. In Rabat, which is one epicenter for these types of carpets, travelers can search the medina – which happens to be one of the most laid-back souk areas in the entire country. These types of carpets are different than others you’ll find elsewhere in Morocco because of their design that holds true to basic Islamic Art patterns. Usually, these carpets have one central motif that works its way to a highly detailed border. Before looking at a carpets central theme, look over its border. If it is detailed, solid, and thick, then the carpet will cost more money than another without the same outer-edge workmanship.
Knowing the different prices for carpets is quite difficult. The rule goes: If a buyer is happy with the price, then it is a fair price to pay. While this thought process is a little different for western travelers who would rather have something fixed, you’ll begin to understand the mentality better after a few days’ experience in various marketplaces. An old antique carpet that is more than 50 years old, for example, will be worth quite a bit of money, especially if it has been taken care of and withstood the tests of time. Other, more modern carpets may appear bright and illustrious, but their colors will fade over time – something that actually adds to the original look and feel of the piece. Knowing the difference between what chemical and natural (or vegetable) dyes will help.
Overall, a carpet can be judged by how many knots it has per square meter (or yard). Excellent carpets that fetch the highest prices might have nearly 350,000 knots in it per square meter (or about 300,000 per square yard). This type of workmanship is hard to find, but can be had if one looks hard enough. If a carpet vendor claims that their carpets have more knots than this, then you know that it is a far-fetched tale. Additionally, outside of the Rabat region, carpets vary in length, design, and craftsmanship. With hundreds (if not thousands) of types available, it will be dependent upon your taste and ability to spot a well-made piece that determines what sort of carpet you’ll bring home. These patterns will include geometrical patterning and not have outlandish repetitions of the same design. These carpets are often called hanbels or kilims. Other carpets, which are thicker and well made, are called zaneefi designs, while a shoedwi is a type of carpet that is usually made up of mostly black and white designs.
At Shop Morocco we have a wide range of Moroccan Carpets