Spanning from the Atlantic Ocean to the mountainous regions and on to the Sahara desert, the Kingdom of Morocco in North Africa is one of only three nations (along with Spain and France) to have both Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines.

Among the first people to inhabit Morocco were the Berbers. With hundreds of separate tribes, the Berbers, who call themselves Imazhiegen, or “free men”, were known to be both fierce warriors and skilled farmers. They established major trade routes across the Sahara to West Africa and traded with the first Phoenicians in the eleventh century BCE. From them, the Berbers learned new pottery, metalworking and weaving techniques. Even today, the weaving industry is still dominated by Berber artisans.

The Berbers inhabit the Atlas Mountains in the center and the south of the country, and the Rif Mountains to the north. It is these rural, mountainous zones where soil is susceptible to erosion and rainfall unreliable (producing either droughts or floods) that are among the poorest areas in Morocco. It is also here where craft and the art of the handmade make up a large percentage of the average family’s livelihood.

Since ancient times, people from all over the world have traveled to this culturally dynamic country -- arriving as conquerors, traders and refugees. Because of this, many different customs and traditions are found in the country’s heritage -- from music and food to the much sought after textiles and ceramics.


Tameslouht, Morocco




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