Morocco officially the Kingdom of Morocco, is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 36 million and an area of 710,850 km?, and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara. It is part of the Maghreb region, in addition to Tunisia, Algeria, Mauritania, and Libya, with which it shares cultural, historical and linguistic ties.
Morocco is a 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 but more importantly by the king himself. 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, Sale, Fes, Agadir, Meknes and Oujda.
Every Moroccan speaks at least one of the two languages Berber and Moroccan Arabic, as a mother tongue. Both languages have regional dialects and accents.
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 Chraibi, 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 Fes.
Moroccan music, influenced by Arab, Amazigh, African, and Andalusian traditions, makes use of a number of traditional instruments, such as the flute (nay), shawm (ghaita), zither (qanun), and various short necked lutes (including the ud and gimbri). These are often backed by explosive percussion on the darbukka (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 gn?wa trance music, a popular spiritual style that traces its roots to sub-Saharan Africa. Younger Moroccans enjoy ra?, 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 mainly Berber, Moorish, European, Mediterranean cuisines. The cuisine of Morocco is essentially Berber cuisine which also referred as the Moorish cuisine Influenced by the Moriscos when they left Spain, the European cuisine from the Europeans and the Mediteraneans brought by the Romans, 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.