Berber fishermen were the first to settle this site. In the 12th century the coastal Ksima Tribe moved in. From 1325 to 1540, Portuguese Traders controlled the area. In 1541, the founder of the Saadian Dynasty, Mohamed Echeikh el Mehdi, ejected them. Trade flourished under his rule and Agadir experienced a Golden Age. In the 17th century the Alaouite dynasty ousted the Saadians. The Berber Tazeroualt dynasty rebelled against the Alaouites and took control of the Souss region. Under the Berber’s rule, Agadir became a major port until the Alaouites reclaimed the area and closed the port.In 1911 Kaiser Willhelm II, King of Prussia attempted to set up a naval base which the French Premier, Joseph Callaux exchanged for a piece of the Congo. French troops entered the area in 1913. In the 1930s, Agadir played an important role as a staging post for French airmail and also gained status as the world’s leading sardine port. On February 29, 1960, a devastating earthquake destroyed the city. By 1962, a modern resort town had been built incorporating the latest seismically sound technology. Agadir has a warm and pleasant climate all year round and houses the most important fishing port in the Kingdom. Here, you can find superb seafood restaurants. Agadir is also the capital of for leisure, water sports and recreation. Main attractions include deep sea fishing, surfing, wind surfing, scuba diving, Valley Des Oiseaux, The Kasbah, Musee Municipale, Royal Palace, Agadir Royal Golf Club, The Dunes Golf Club, tennis and the nearby La Medina.
Marrakesh was first established as an Almoravide territory in 1070 and eventually became the capital of their empire. Its location at the crossroads of ancient caravan routes from Timbuktu made it a key destination for trade and reprieve.In 1147, the Almohad Sultan, Adel Monument captured the town. Marrakesh flourished under Almohad rule becoming the Arabic Center for philosophical studies and growing rich on leather, sugar and ceramic exports to Spain. This period of prosperity was followed by fifty years of dynastic struggles and general decline. In 1269, it lost its status as capital when the Marinades seized power and transferred the capital to Fes. By 1522, when the Saadians took control, the city was ruined and decimated by famine. They made Marrakesh the capital of southern Morocco and when the Moroccan empire was reunified, it became an imperial city. In the second half of the 16th century, Marrakesh was restored to its glory. Famine, rebellion, and wars struck during the first half of the 17th century. In 1699, the Alaouite Sultan, Moulay Richard captured the town and transferred the capital back to Fes. Through the mid 18th century, Mohammed III restored the city and its capital status. In 1912, General Lyautey, France’s first resident general in Morocco, made the decision to once again relieve Marrakesh of its capital status. While it is no longer the political capital, Marrakesh remains a captivating and wonderful destination hidden behind ochre ramparts.
Marrakesh is known as the Jewel of the South and displays a cultural collage of Berber, Arab and African influences. Marrakesh is famous for the rich diversity and quality of Berber carpets, as well as for leather work including slippers sewn in the ancient tradition. In 2006, Marrakesh has been named one of the top 20 destinations in the world by Conde Naste.
Attractions include Bab El Khemis, Bab Debbagh, Bab Aylen, Bab Aghmat, Bab Ahmar, Agdal Garden, Bab Er Rob, Mamounia Hotel, Koutoubia Mosque, Bab, Agnaou, El Mansour Mosque, Saadian tombs, Ali ben Youssef Medersa and Mosque, El Badii Palace, El Bahia Palace, the souks, Dar Si Said Museum of Arts, Majorelle Museum and Gardens, Menara Gardens, Bert Flint Museum and the Palmeraie.
Phoenicians used the inlets here as rest stops in the 7th century BC. The earliest known settlement was the 10th century Berber port of Anfa. In the 13th century Anfa began to flourish due to trade with the Portuguese and Spanish. This came to an abrupt halt in the 15th century when the Portuguese destroyed the city in retaliation for Berber piracy. In 1770, the Alaouite sultan Mohammed Ibn Abdellah rebuilt Anfa and renamed it Dar El Beida (House of the White Princess). In 1781, Dar El Beida was renamed Casa Blanca (white house) by Mohammed III in commemoration of a Spanish trade agreement. By the end of the 19th century, Casablanca had become a center for international trade. Casablanca´s growth spurts have been tremendous and the city has experienced surges in urban development (notably in1946, and1984). The eclectic influences of French, Algerian and Tunisian architects ornament the city.Famous for the Humphrey Bogart movie, Casablanca is Morocco largest city. It serves as an important economic center of Morocco and is home to the third largest mosque in the world (the Hassan II Mosque, one of the world’s most prestigious monuments). Besides the Hassan II Mosque, other monuments and buildings include the New and Old Medinas, The Corniche, Place Nations Unis, Boulevard Mohammed V, Rue Prince Moulay Abdallah and the Hyatt Regency Casablanca Theme Bar.
The first settlement on this territory dates back to 3rd century BC. Later the Phoenicians and the Carthaginians used it as a port of call. In the 10th century loyalist Muslim warriors built a ribat (fortified monastery) here. It was founded in the 12th century by Yacoub el-Mansour, the great Almohad conqueror who built over three miles of fortifications of which two gates still stand today. With the collapse of the Almohad dynasty came the decline of Rabat. In 1250 the Marinades abandoned Rabat and made Fes the new capitol. The Cosair Republic of the Bou Regreg was established in 1627 and came to an end in 1818. The Alaouite sultan, Moulay Rachid, and subsequently Moulay Ismail are recognized for squelching the flagrant piracy in the area and promoting prosperous foreign trade. In 1912 when Morocco became a French Protectorate, Rabat was made the capitol once again.Rabat’s main attractions include the Medina, Rue Souika, Rue Des Consuls, Kasbah of the Oudayas, Hassan Tower, Chellah, Archaeological Museum, Oudaias Museum, Natural Science Museum, Postal Museum, Royal Palace, Mohammed V Mausoleum, Dar Es Salim Royal Golf Club and the Andalous gardens.
The arrival of the first religious refugees from the Middle East has been traced back to AD 788. Fes el Bali was founded in 809 under Moulay Idriss II.Fes el Bali is divided into two distinctly different districts on either side of the Fez River. During the 8th century, 8,000 Arab families settled on the right bank of Wadi Fes, after having been expelled from Andalusia by the Christian armies. Their artistic influence is evident in the decorative stucco and mosaic that ornament the mosques and Koranic schools. One hundred years later, 2,000 Kairaouine families established their homes on the opposite bank. In the 10th century the Kairaouines built the imposing Kairaouine University, the western world´s first university, which still remains the main intellectual center of North Africa. Important for its location and commercialism, the Kairaouine Quarter continued to expand under the Marinade dynasty during the Fes´ Golden Age in the 14th century. The New Fes, or Fes el Jadid, was born. After the First World War, a European town with broad avenues was added to the fascinating labyrinth that is Fes.Fes symbolizes the heart of Arabic and Islamic development. It houses over 785 Mosque. Fes is the oldest of Morocco´s Imperial cities and serves as an important religious, intellectual, artistic and cultural center of the Kingdom of Morocco. Fes is famous for its Fes blue pottery, copper trays and leather work. Important attractions include the Andalusian Mosque, Attarin Medersa, Aux Merveilles du Tapis, Medinas, Bou Inania Medersa, Cherratin Merdersa, Fondouk Tserouanien, Kairaouine Mosque, Musee Nejjarine des Arts et Metiers du Bois, Place Seffarine, Sahrij Medersa, Souk el Henna, Terrasse des Tanneurs, Zaouia of Moulay Idrisss II, Bab Boujeloud, Dar Batha Museum, Borj-Nord Museum, Bab es Seba, Dar el Makhzen, Mellah and Moulay Abdellah Quarter.
Zenata Berbers from the Meknassa tribe founded Meknes in the 9th century. The Almoravids captured the town in 1069. Meknes became prosperous and was the target of a siege by the Lemonades who eventually succeeded in 1145. In the early 12th century the Marinades invaded and captured the Meknes. In the 15th century the Berbers were driven out by the Arabs and Meknes passed from the Watt asides to the Saadians.During the reign of Moulay Ismail in the 17th century, the city experienced a golden age of growth and prosperity. In 1672, Moulay Ismail was proclaimed sultan of the new Alaouite dynasty. He chose Meknes as his political and military capital and revisioned it to his imperial standards. Over a period of 50 years Moulay Ismail built palaces, mosques, fountains, terraces, gardens, stables and shops to fill his mighty 3 layer ramparts. Today, tourists and residents alike enjoy the timeless grandeur of this imperial city that is often compared to Versailles.Meknes is famous for its wood, metal and mosaic craftsmanship. Surrounded by enchanting countryside, Meknes is less touristy, more provincial with a slower pace than Fes. Attractions include Moulay Ismail Mausoleum, Bab al-Mansour, Jamai Palace Museum of Moroccan Arts, the Medina, Bab Jedid, Habs Kara, the souks, Bou Inania Medersa, Palais des Idrissides and the nearby ancient Roman city of Volubilis.
Tanger is a legendary city that was marked by the domination of the early Phoenicians, Berbers, Romans, Arabs and Europeans because of its strategic geographic position at the juncture of the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Tanger served as a strategic location for Arab invasion of North Africa during the 8th century. It was ruled by the Idrissids before it fell into the hands of the Ommayads of Cordoba and afterwards became part of the Moroccan kingdoms. In the 15th century, Tangier became the site of a very prosperous trade center with Venice, Marseilles and Genoa. Between the 15th and 16th centuries, Tanger was captured by the Portuguese and the Spanish and in 1684, the Moroccans regained full control of Tanger. In the next 200 years, Tangier came again under the influence of the Europeans. In 1912, under the French protectorate, the future of Tanger was still a matter of controversy. On December 18 1923, Tanger was declared an international zone controlled by eight countries. Finally, as the move to unite Morocco intensified under the leadership of King Mohammed V during World War II, Tanger was finally restored to Morocco after its independence in 1956.Tanger has been home to world famous artists such as Jacques Majorelle, Henri Matisse, Eugene Delacroix and Kees Van Dongen and well known authors such as Paul Bowles. It is also a popular tourist center that attracts millions of visitors each year and serves as an important crossing point for Moroccans returning from Europe. Important sightseeing include the Grand Socco (an open market place where merchants and peasant women sell goods) was renamed “Place du 9 Avril 1947” to commemorate the historic speech of King Mohammed V for Moroccan independence. The Petit Socco, the south gate of the old town bordered by cafes and old residences. The Great Mosque, built by Sultan Moulay Ismail to commemorate the withdrawal of English forces at the end of the 17th century. Rue de la Marine, the medina´s busiest alley. The American legation represents the US government´s first overseas acquisition and the only historical monument the US has owned abroad since the American declaration of independence. The American legation is also a site that features the history of US-Moroccan relations since 1777 and includes a correspondence between George Washington and Mohamed III. The Kasbah that serves as Tangier´s Museum of Moroccan Arts features jewelry, carpets, silks and ceramics. The Marshan or the Forbes Museum features a collection of 115,000 military miniatures that include the world´s greatest battles such as the Battle of the Three Kings, Waterlo (1815), the Somme (1916) and Dien Bien Phu (1954). Boulevard Pasteur, or Tangier´s new town overlooks the media, the port, and the Straits of Gibraltar and features luxury shops and European style residential blocks. St Andrew Church, a 19th century Anglican Church, represents vestiges of early days.
A dazzling city surrounded by dramatic landscapes! Strategically located at the crossroads of the main routes leading to the Draa, Dades and Ziz Valleys, Ouarzazate was settled and fortified by the French as a garrison in the late 1920s. Since then, it has become a center for craft, tourist and movie industries.
Ouarzazate is also known as Morocco´s Hollywood. Scenes from Bertulucci´s “The Sheltering Sky”, Spielberg´s “The Gladiators”, “The Last temptation of Christ”, and “Lawrence of Arabia” were shot in and around this area .
Ouarzazate is also renowned for its Berber ceramic work and fine carpet making. Main attractions include the Kasbah Taourirt, the souk and the nearby famous Ait- Benhaddou Kasbah.
Erfoud and Merzouga
Erfoud is the starting point to the famous Merzouga dunes of the Sahara region. Erfoud was built during the French protectorate and served as an administrative center and military outpost. The Erg Chebbi, the name of these sand dunes, is said to have some of the highest dunes of the Kingdom. This region is home to one of Morocco’s largest oasis valleys fed by the estuary of Oued Ziz and Oued Rheris.
Main attractions include the date festival held in October is a must see. The main gate leading to the medina portrays the Almohad architecture. The Military Fort of Boj Est offers a magnificent view of the date palms and the desert.
Zagoura and Mhamid
The town of a stunning sunset vantage point! During the 16th century, the descendants of the Prophet Mohammed from Arabia used Zagora to launch their conquest to the Souss Valley. Main attractions include the Tumbouctu sign found at the end of Boulevard Mohammed V. The neighboring town of Amazrou that includes the Jewish Kasbah situated across the river. Djebel Zagora (Mt. Zagora, 3,195-ft from hotel Kasbah Asmaa).
The Almoravide fortress is a splendid sunset vantage point. Further south on the way to Tamegroute and Tinfou, stop at the Draa River for a great panoramic view.