The kingdom of Morocco is a narrow country covering the western coast of North Africa. It has a wonderfully warm tropical climate and a coastline on the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. It has a long history and a rich culture rooted in the Arabic and Berber cultures, with African, Spanish and French influences. Its important cities are modern, bustling and industrial, even as their names—Marrakech, Tangier, Casablanca—still evoke the romance, mystery, and adventure of the many wartime spy novels and films set in them. The country’s capital and administrative centre is Rabat.
The southern half of the country includes the disputed but Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara Region. Very few people live in this dry, agriculturally unproductive area, preferring the northern side of the mountains.
Morocco is growing more modern and prosperous under its current king. New ports are being built, joined by a modern motorway system. An undersea tunnel that will link Spain with Morocco is also being planned. Currently it is only a 35-minute ferry ride from Tarifa, the southernmost tip of Spain, to Tangier. The country has a convenient security system, with the same emergency number to remember for the police, fire, and ambulance departments all over Morocco.
Morocco has a rich historic legacy. Its ornate old palaces, beautiful mosques, medieval fortresses and city walls are well-preserved, and much-visited by tourists. There are also residential neighbourhoods with vintage architecture that are slated for conservation.
Morocco has 16 regions subdivided into 62 prefectures and provinces.