The Moroccan regional administration is divided into the 12 regions Tanger-Tétouan-Al Hoceïma, Oriental, Fès-Meknès, Rabat-Salé-Kénitra, Béni Mellal-Khénifra, Casablanca-Settat, Marrakech-Safi, Drâa-Tafilalet, Souss-Massa, Guelmim- Oued Noun, Laâyoune-Sakia El Hamra and Dakhla-Oued Ed-Dahab, which are divided into a total of 13 prefectures and 62 provinces, each ruled by a governor appointed by the king. A specialty of Morocco are the so-called royal cities of Marrakech, Meknes, Fès and Rabat, each of which was the capital of one of the great dynasties in the course of the eventful history of Morocco and was pompously expanded by the respective ruling families. The royal cities are therefore among the most important tourist attractions for cultural trips in Morocco.
According to franciscogardening, the six largest and most important cities in Morocco for travel are Casablanca with over 3.6 million residents, Rabat with around 1.7 million residents, Fez with over 1 million residents, Marrakech with almost one million residents, Tangier with approx. 800,000 residents and Agadir with approx. 780,000 residents.
The urban area of today’s Casablanca with the verifiable settlement of Anfa from the 8th century was the main town of the Berghouta Berbers for a long time and in the subsequent period of various conquests developed into an important transshipment point for grain and at the same time a dreaded base for pirates. The Hassan II Mosque, which was only completed in 1993, is now the main attraction of the city on cultural trips and is the fifth largest mosque in the Islamic world with a capacity for 25,000 people and a 210m high minaret. The luxurious bathing and entertainment district extends south-west of the port along the Boulevard de la Corniche on the coast. Today’s Anfa is a central residential area between the entertainment district and the city center.
Rabat, one of the four royal cities of Morocco, has only been the capital of Morocco since 1956 with the seat of government and the residence of the king. The city, located on the Atlantic coast north of Casablanca, has around 600,000 residents, which together with the surrounding agglomeration add up to around 1.7 million residents and some of them are descendants of those who immigrated from the Iberian Peninsula in the 17th century Andalusians exist. From the 12th century until the 19th century, the Islamic border fortress Rabat, built by Zanta Berbers in the 10th century, was an important trading town and flourished in the 17th century with the establishment of the independent pirate republic of Bou-Regregim. The medina of Rabat, which is worth mentioning as a tourist attraction when traveling through Morocco, is surrounded on three sides by the city wall, which was completed by the Almohads in 1197. The Great Mosque from the 14th century, which was rebuilt in 1882 and 1939, lies parallel to the wall. Also worth mentioning is the unadorned Bab el Had gate made of rammed earth in the Almohad wall. The white plastered houses in the winding pedestrian streets of the Kasbah des Oudaïas with the representative city gate Bab el Oudaïa have been carefully restored. Within this popular cultural travel destination is the city’s oldest mosque from the 12th century (Jama al Atiq). The Musée des Oudaïas, in which handicrafts are exhibited, is hidden beneath the entrance gate to the kasbah. The “Andalusian Garden” was created in the French colonial era. During the French occupation, a spacious colonial new town with magnificent apartment blocks was built in Rabat, which is separated from the old town by the Andalusian wall from the 17th century. The main shopping street of the French new town runs parallel to this wall with numerous hotels, banks, the main post office and in the south with the Rabat Ville train station. The oldest buildings were built in the lively Art Deco style in the 1920s. To the southeast of the Almohad wall, the high, crenellated rammed earth wall of the Chellah with a monumental stone portal from the 14th century surrounds the Merinid city of the dead. Next to it is the necropolis, which was established at the end of the 13th century,
The royal city of Marrakech in southeast Morocco, also known as the “Red City”, “Ocher City” or “Pearl of the South”, is about 450 m high on a plain north of the High Atlas and has a population of almost a million. After it was founded in 1070 by the Almoravids, the capital of the Almoravid Empire was expanded considerably in the following generation and surrounded by a city wall that has been preserved to this day, until Marrakech was conquered by the Almohads in the 12th century. Under the rule of the Almohads, the famous Koutoubia Mosque was built after the religious secular buildings of the Almoravids were first destroyed. In the course of the checkered history of Marrakech, the capital status of Morocco changed several times between Marrakech and Fez. Due to the large number of architecturally significant buildings, Among other things, next to the Koutoubia Mosque, the Kasbah from the 12th century and the Medersa Ben Youssef from the 14th century, the old town, together with the Agdal Gardens and the Menara Gardens, have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Therefore, Marrakech is a destination worth seeing, especially for cultural trips.
With around 1.1 million residents, Fés is the third largest city in Morocco. It is located in front of the foothills of the Middle Atlas and Rift Mountains in the fertile lowlands of Sais in the north of Morocco, on the main line connecting Quida in the east and Rabat on the Atlantic coast.
Fès is the oldest of the four royal cities of Morocco and goes back to the establishment of the settlements Al-Aliya and Medinat Fas on the banks of the Wadi Fez around the year 800 AD. back. With the immigration of Andalusian and Tunisian refugees, both great technical and manual skills as well as experience in urbanism come to the place and contribute significantly to the fact that the settlements united to the city of Fés develop into the cultural and religious center of Morocco. The construction of the university mosque Al-Qarawiyin around 860 made Fez one of the most important centers of clergy and culture in Islam. Under the rule of the Merinids, Fés, conveniently located at the crossroads of important trade routes, became the capital of Morocco in 1276 with the construction of a new town. Century experienced its real cultural boom. The University of Fez was world famous at that time.
In the following period of various conquests and changes of power, Fés initially lost its capital status to Marrakech, but then got it back until the beginning of the French protectorate in 1912 and then finally surrendered it to the royal city of Rabat. Nevertheless, Fés, as the country’s cultural center with international flight connections, is an important starting point for trips to Morocco. The king also continues to reside in Fez and still often stays in the palace there today.
Due to its early and eventful past, the cityscape of Fés has numerous cultural sights to offer to travelers. The old town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as a prime example of the oriental city, consists of the district around the Qarawiyīn mosque or university and is enclosed by the city wall. On the hills above the old town are the citadels Borj Nord and Borj Sud, which were built in Saadian times. In the center of the medieval New Town are the Royal Palace and the Jewish Quarter. The new city near the fortress Dar Debibagh, which was initially created as a residential area for the Europeans during the French protectorate, developed into a modern Arab city with newer residential areas and corresponding boulevards and promenades.