logo chic morocco

Morocco, in an overall picture

When you arrive in Morocco, you will surely find a country very different from yours, in all kinds of aspects: the language, the currency, the society… Therefore, to understand everything you will see around you and, above all, to manage well on your own, you will need to know some basic information about Morocco. This is what we offer you below.

Table of Contents

Morocco, on the map

Before organizing your trip in Morocco, you will have to familiarize yourself with its geography. These are some of the brushstrokes that will help you understand its map: its extension, its borders, its administrative division, etc.

  • Total area (excluding Western Sahara): 446,550 km². That ranks it as the 58th largest country in the world. Comparatively, it is slightly larger than California (423,971 km²) and almost twice as large as the United Kingdom (243,610 km²).
  • Total area (including Western Sahara): 711,000 km². If we add this territory, on which there is no international consensus, the surface area increases considerably, surpassing, for example, that of Texas (696,241 km²).
  • Morocco’s borders: it is bordered by three countries, divided according to their cardinal points:
    • To the north, with Spain: by land with Ceuta and Melilla, and by sea through the Strait of Gibraltar.
    • South: with Mauritania, which borders Western Sahara.
    • East (and southeast): with Algeria, which is the longest border.
    • West: with the Atlantic Ocean
  • Capital: Rabat. It has been so since the country’s independence in 1956, although it had already been considered the main administrative center of the French Protectorate of Morocco since 1912.
  • Administrative division of Morocco: the country is divided into 12 regions, although their level of autonomy is quite limited. They are the following (from north to south), with their corresponding capitals:
    • Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima: Tangier
    • Eastern: Oujda
    • Fez-Meknes: Fez
    • Rabat-Salé-Kenitra: Rabat
    • Beni Melal-Jenifra: Beni Melal
    • Casablanca-Settat: Casablanca
    • Marrakech-Safi: Marrakech
    • Draa-Tafilalet: Errachidia
    • Sus-Masa: Agadir
    • Guelmim-Rio Noun: Guelmim
    • El Aaiún-Saguía el-Hamra: El Aaiún. It is one of the two regions in the territory of Western Sahara.
    • Dahla-Golden River: Dakhla. It is the other region in the territory of Western Sahara.
  • Morocco’s coasts: it has two coastal strips, totaling some 1,800 km. They are distributed as follows:
    • Atlantic coast, west: about 1,350 km (about 2,200 km including Western Sahara)
    • Mediterranean coast, north: 450 km approx.

Morocco's population in figures

Morocco is a geographically very large country, with a population density in line with many western countries, but with great contrasts between one region and another. This is a summary table:

  • Population: about 37 million inhabitants. And rising, since its population growth rate is more than 1% per year. In 2000, for example, its population was about 28 million.
  • Population density: 82.7 inhabitants/km2. This is a figure similar to that of states such as California (92 inhabitants/km).2), but well below other territories such as New York State (142 inhab/km2) or the United Kingdom (275 inhab/km2). However, there are major imbalances in this respect, with large cities and large demographic deserts.
  • Most populated cities, all of them above one million inhabitants, calculated with approximate data from 2021 (these figures increase every year):
    • Casablanca: 3.7 million inhabitants (about 5 million with its metropolitan area)
    • Rabat-Salé: 1.7 million inhabitants
    • Fez: 1.2 million inhabitants
    • Tangier: 1.2 million inhabitants
    • Marrakech: 1 million inhabitants
  • Structure of the population in the form of a pyramid. This means that in Moroccan society there is a strong predominance of young people (26.7%) compared to those over 64 years of age (7.61%).
  • Life expectancy: 76.68, a significant increase over the last decades (68.68 in 2000 and 74.38 in 2010), which reflects the improvement in the living conditions of Moroccans.
Information on Morocco

Morocco: the keys as a State

Morocco has a highly centralized form of state, in which the king continues to hold significant political powers, either by law or by his own influence. In any case, the modernization process of recent years has also reached politics.

  • State model: constitutional monarchy, with Mohammed VI as King and Head of State. The country’s current Constitution is from 2011 and introduced important reforms in terms of civil rights and separation of powers
  • Legislative power: it is vested in two chambers, both located in Rabat.
    • Lower House or House of Representatives. It is mainly responsible for the legislative, budgetary and training projects of the Executive.
    • Upper House or House of Councilors. It has a strong regional character and control of the Executive.
  • An independent state since 1956, when it completed its process of emancipation from France and Spain, which controlled the territory through Protectorates.
  • Official religion: Islam. According to the Constitution, “Islam is the religion of the State” and is strongly protected by law, as this fact cannot be questioned by parliamentarians. However, the free exercise of other religions is guaranteed.
  • Official languages: Arabic (used in the Administration) and Amazigh or Berber (recognized since the 2011 Constitution). French no longer has official status, but its use is widespread, especially in educated and academic circles.
  • Official currency: dirham (Dh). It has been since 1960, when it replaced the Moroccan franc, which fixed its value in relation to the French franc. Their exchange values are (as of February 2023):
    • 1 Dh = US$ 0.098
    • 1 Dh = 0.081 pounds sterling
    • 1 Dh = 0.091 euros

The main symbols of Morocco

As you move through the streets of Morocco or travel between its cities, there will be some symbols that will recur on a recurring basis. They are the symbols of the State:

  • Flag: red background with green star with five intertwined peaks, one for each pillar of Islam. Green is also the color associated with the Alawite dynasty, to which the current monarch belongs.
  • Hymn:
    The Hierophanic Hymn.
    The song, official since the country’s independence in 1956, with music by Léo Morgan and lyrics by Ali Squalli Houssaini. Their motto, God, country and king! is a commonly used proclamation in the country.
  • Royal Family: formed by the king is Mohammed VI and the queen, Salma Bennani. The crown prince is Moulay Hassan and his younger sister, Princess Lalla Khadija. Their image and public presence are commonplace, as they enjoy great popularity.

You may also be interested in

× Whatsapp