Living in MoroccoIyna Bort Caruso
Ancient Arabs referred to Morocco as the “Farthest Land of the Setting Sun,” owing to its location as the western-most spot of Islam. The religion has heavily influenced Moroccan culture, traditions and architecture. Later, the contribution of Spanish and French influences would make Morocco the destination of choice for those in search of the exotic.
Morocco has desert, mountains, one ocean, one sea and nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Its dramatic landscapes are rivaled only by its elaborate architecture. Exquisite gems jam the streets. Buildings are a riot of geometric patterns, ornamental Islamic calligraphy and decorative mosaic tiles.
Morocco is a kingdom with four imperial cities, all of which have served as capitals at some point: Fez, Meknes, Marrakech and the current capital of Rabat.
Marrakesh is a nearly thousand-year-old city located at the foot of the Atlas Mountains. It’s known as the Red City for the color of the thick walls surrounding the old town. It’s also known for golf. There are some 10 well-respected courses in the region. Like other major cities in Morocco, the cost of living is low compared to its European counterparts.
The country’s pockets of ex-pat communities tend to be clustered along the Atlantic coast. Casablanca, the largest city, is considered a financial and intellectual capital. A recent Africa Wealth report lists Casablanca among the top 10 riches cities on the continent. Tangier is the country’s gateway city, located on the Strait of Gibraltar just an hour’s ferry ride from Spain. It is Morocco’s most important port city--and a popular beach town. The areas of Marshan and Vieille Montagne (Old Mountain) attract high end buyers.
Morocco’s international buyers gravitate to riad homes, traditional multistory houses originally built for the wealthy and designed around an inner courtyard or garden for privacy. There are no restrictions on property purchases made by investors from abroad.