Many people ask me about Morocco. This page contains books, movies, and links to Internet sites that I’ve found useful and interesting in my own search for information. I update it from time to time, and I welcome your suggestions if you know of a good resource not listed here.

[maps to come]


Morocco is a large country, about the size and shape of California, forming the shoulder of Africa, just across the Straits of Gibraltar from Spain. Along with parts of Algeria, it occupies an region referred to as the Maghreb. It used to be called French Morocco; it also administers (and claims) a disputed territory to the south called Western Sahara (formerly known as Spanish Morocco). Its coastline extends a couple hundred miles east of Gibraltar on the Mediterranean and, if you include Western Sahara, over a thousand miles on the Atlantic west and south of Gibraltar. The geography, with accompanying climate, is varied, with coastal plains in the west, high, snow-capped mountains in the north and middle, and, to the east and south, the Sahara desert.

It’s a polyglot country. Arabic (Modern Standard Arabic) is the official language used in government and the media, but French is still widely used in business. Road signs are bilingual. Moroccan Arabic, a dialect known as Darija and differing enough from Modern Standard Arabic to be considered by many a separate language, is the Arabic spoken on the street. A large percentage of the people speak one of several dialects of Berber as their primary language.

There is evidence of human population in the region as far back as 75,000 years ago. Following the great ice age, the precursors of the Berbers occupied the area. The Phoenicians occupied coastal cities centuries before the Common Era. Carthage governed it, then Rome colonized it, and Christianity Christianized it. Arabs conquered the region in 683, bringing Islam with them. Today there is only a small Jewish community and Christianity is represented mostly by foreign nationals. In 1904 the French and Spanish colonized the country and created protectorates in 1912. Morocco achieved its independence in 1956. It is a constitutional monarchy, with Mohammed VI the current king. Abbass El Fassi is prime minister. The legal system is based on French, Spanish, and Islamic law.

Al-Bab – The Moroccan Gateway
Maghreb Arts – (in French). Up-to-the-minute coverage of theatre, film, music, festivals, etc., in Morocco
Maroc Blogs – Blog aggregator
Office fo the National des Chemins de Fer –  (in French). Website of national rail services
The View from Fez – Stories of interest to travelers
Tourism in Morocco – Morroco’s official tourism site.
Travel – Offers city-specific info
Travel and business –
Countrywatch – General information on countries worldwide
State Department – The State Department provides capsule information and background notes
Atlas – Maps and links to comprehensive information
Statistical info – UN stats on member nations
Peace Corps Alumni – A site maintained by former Moroccan Peace Corps volunteers
Peace Corps Morocco Blogs - Blogs written by Peace Corps volunteers currently serving in Morocco

The Caliph’s House, Tahir Shah
In Arabian Nights, Tahir Shah
Morocco: In the Labyrinth of Dreams and Bazaars, Walter M. Weiss
The Spider’s House, Paul Bowles
Hideous Kinky, Esther Freud
A House in Fez, Susanna Clarke
Tangier: City of the Dream, Iain Finlayson
Valley of the Casbahs: A Journey Across the Moroccan Sahara, Jeffrey Taylers
The Mountains Look on Marrakech, Hamish Brown
Lords of the Atlas, Gavin Maxwell
Marrakech Through Writers’ Eyes, edited by Barnaby Rogerson
Larrabi’s Ox, Tony Ardizzone
The Sand Child, Tahar Ben Jelloun
The Berbers, Michael Brett
Morocco Since 1830: A History, CR Pennell

Morocco (1930), Josef von Sternberg
Casablanca (1942), Michael Curtiz
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), Alfred Hitchcock
A Thousand and One Hands (1972), Souheil Ben Barka
Alyam Alyam (1978), Ahmed el Maanouni
Le Coiffeur du Quartier des Pauvres (1982), Mohamed Reggab
Hideous Kinky (1998), Gilles MacKinnon
Ali Zaoua: Prince of the Streets (2000), Nabil Ayouch
The Wind Horse (2001), Daoud Aoulad-Syad