What is the terrain and geography like in Morocco?
The mild, semitropical northern and western coastal areas are separated by mountain ranges from the desert areas to the east and south. Most people live west of the mountain ranges, which protect them from the hot winds of the Sahara Desert. In the southern regions, the population is sparse and concentrated in scattered oases along the Draa and Souss Rivers.
Between Morocco's western coast and the mountains lies a wide plain, the Gharb, which produces most of the country's agricultural products. The High Atlas, the Middle Atlas, and the Anti-Atlas mountain ranges traverse the country from northeast to southwest. Summits of the High Atlas Mountains reach 13,664 feet at Mt. Toubkal, and 12,300 feet at Mt. Ayachi.
Morocco can be seen from the coast of Spain, some 20 kilometers across the Straits of Gibraltar. Twice, it was the stage for invasions of Europe - the Moorish assault on Spain in the eighth century and the Allied assault on the continent in World War II. Today, jet airliners fly over plodding camel trains and farmers tilling with implements unchanged since the time of the Romans. Moroccan cities typically are made up of a traditional medina that is a maze of narrow streets and small shops harkening back centuries, as well as modern shopping and residential districts with tree-lined boulevards that reflect early twentieth century French ideas of urban planning.