Moroccan Facts about Money

* Borders
Algeria closed; Mauritania open but no public transport

* Time

* Telephone
Country code 212; international access code 00

* Money
Dirham (Dh); US$1 = Dh8.5

* Visas
90-day visas issued on entry for most nationalities

* Seasons
Hot (June to August), cold (November to February)

* Area
446, 550 sq km (710, 000 sq km if you include Western Sahara)

* Population
33.2 million

* ATMs
Throughout the country except in small villages

* Capital

* Budget
US$15 to US$25 per day

* Languages
Arabic, French, Berber

In 788, about a century after the Arab conquest of North Africa, successive Moorish dynasties began to rule in Morocco. In the 16th century, the Sa’adi monarchy, particularly under Ahmad AL-MANSUR (1578-1603), repelled foreign invaders and inaugurated a golden age. In 1860, Spain occupied northern Morocco and ushered in a half century of trade rivalry among European powers that saw Morocco’s sovereignty steadily erode; in 1912, the French imposed a protectorate over the country. A protracted independence struggle with France ended successfully in 1956. The internationalized city of Tangier and most Spanish possessions were turned over to the new country that same year. Morocco virtually annexed Western Sahara during the late 1970s, but final resolution on the status of the territory remains unresolved. Gradual political reforms in the 1990s resulted in the establishment of a bicameral legislature, which first met in 1997.

The country has made improvements in human rights under King MOHAMMED VI and its press is moderately free. Despite the continuing reforms, ultimate authority remains in the hands of the monarch.