Imperiale cities – Marocco

El Jadida

El Jadida is a port city on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, in the province of El Jadida. It has a population of 144,440 (2004 census).

From the sea, El Jadida’s old city; has a very “un-Moorish” appearance; it has massive Portuguese walls of hewn stone.

El Jadida, previously known as Mazagan (Portuguese: Mazagão), was seized in 1502 by the Portuguese, and they controlled this city until 1769, when they abandoned Mazagão. Its inhabitants were evacuated to Brazil, where they founded new settlement Nova Mazagão (now in Amapá).


Essaouira is a city in the western Moroccan economic region of Marrakech-Tensift-Al Haouz, on the Atlantic coast. Since the 16th century, the city has also been known by its Portuguese name of Mogador or Mogadore. The Berber name means the wall, a reference to the fortress walls that originally enclosed the city.


Tetouan is a city in northern Morocco. The Berber name means literally “the eyes” and figuratively “the water springs”. Tetouan is one of the two major ports of Morocco on the Mediterranean Sea. It lies a few miles south of the Strait of Gibraltar, and about 60 km of Tangier. In 2004 the city had 320,539 inhabitants. Tetouan’s civil airport Sania Ramel Airport is located 6 km to the east.

Arabic is the official language but it is not used for everyday dialogue. The city has its own dialect, a particular citadin variant of non-hilalian Arabic which is distinct from Jebli Arabic. However, Jebli arabic is predominant since people from the neighboring rural areas settled in the city during the 20th century rural flights. The use of Spanish and French is still widespread especially by the businessmen and intellectual elites


Tangier, also Tangiers is a city in northern Morocco with a population of about 700,000 (2008 census). It lies on the North African coast at the western entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar where the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Spartel. It is the capital of the Tangier-Tetouan Region and of the Tangier-Asilah prefecture of Morocco.

The history of Tangier is very rich due to the historical presence of many civilizations and cultures starting from the 5th century BC. Between the period of being a Phoenician town to the independence era around the 1950s, Tangier was a place—and, sometimes a refuge—for many cultures. However, it was not until 1923 that Tangier was attributed an international status by foreign colonial powers.


Meknes is a city in northern Morocco, located 130 kilometres (81 mi) from the capital Rabat and 60 kilometres (37 mi) from Fes. It is served by the A2 expressway between those two cities and by the corresponding railway. Meknes was the capital of Morocco under the reign of Moulay Ismail (1672–1727), before it was relocated to Marrakech. The population is 985,000 (2010 census). It is the capital of the Meknes-Tafilalet region. Meknes is named after a Berber tribe which was known as Miknasa (native Berber name: Imeknasen) in the medieval North African sources.


Rabat is the capital and third largest city of the Kingdom of Morocco with a population of approximately 650,000 (2010). It is also the capital of the Rabat-Salé-Zemmour-Zaer region.

The city is located on the Atlantic Ocean at the mouth of the river Bou Regreg. On the facing shore of the river lies Salé, the city’s main commuter town. Together with Temara the cities account for a combined metropolitan population of 1.8 million. Silting problems have diminished the Rabat’s role as a port; however, Rabat and Salé still maintain important textile, food processing and construction industries. In addition, tourism and the presence of all foreign embassies in Morocco serve to make Rabat one of the most important cities in the country. Controversy surrounds sweatshop labour by major multinational corporations in the area.


Chefchaouen or Chaouen is a city in northwest Morocco. It is the chief town of the province of the same name, and is noted for its buildings in shades of blue.

Chefchaouen is situated in the Rif Mountains, just inland from Tangier and Tetouan. The city was founded in 1471, as a small fortress which still exists to this day, by Moorish exiles from Spain led by Moulay Ali Ben Moussa Ben Rached El Alami to fight the Portuguese invasions of northern Morocco. It was known as one of the main concentrations of Moriscos and Jews who sought refuge in this mountainous city after the Spanish Reconquista in medieval times.


Fez or Fes is the fourth largest city of Morocco, with a population of approximately 1 million (2010). It is the capital of the Fès-Boulemane region.

Fez comprises three distinct parts, Fes el Bali (the old, walled city), Fes-Jdid (new Fes, home of the Mellah) and the Ville Nouvelle (the French-created, newest section of Fes).

“Fas el Bali” is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its medina, the larger of the two medinas of Fes, is believed to be the world’s largest contiguous car-free urban area. The University of Al-Karaouine, founded in AD 859, is the oldest continuously functioning university in the world. The city has been called the “Mecca of the West” and the “Athens of Africa”.

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