The westernmost country in the Arab World, Morocco is known as al-Maghrib (the west, or the place of sunset) in Arabic. Centuries before the arrival of Arab culture and Islam to Morocco, the Amazigh peoples of North Africa populated the region and continue today to express their distinct cultural identity. In the 6th century BC, the land that is now Morocco came under the control of the expansive Roman empire. Similarly, since antiquity and especially after the Spanish Inquisition, Mizrahi and Sephardic Jewish culture has co-existed in Morocco. Coupled with this diversity, the infusion of French and Spanish cultures in the early twentieth century makes Morocco a multi-cultural, Mediterranean mosaic.
Morocco's incredible diversity extends to its unique geography as well. From the majestic mountains of the Atlas and Rif ranges, to the sun-drenched sands of the Sahara, Atlantic, and Mediterranean, Morocco's natural beauty and cultural richness make it the ideal location to study abroad.
At the most northwestern point in Africa, Morocco lies south of Spain across the Strait of Gibraltar. Morocco is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Algeria to the east, and Mauritania to the south.
Morocco's climate is quite varied due to its geographic diversity.
Northern coastal regions are generally mild, and often cool and wet, with average temperatures ranging from the 50s between December and March, to the upper 70s during summer months.
The mid-Atlantic coast maintains a comfortable temperature year-round, cooled by sea breezes. The southern Atlantic coast is more arid. Inland temperatures are higher, easily exceeding 100° in the summer. Despite hot daytime temperatures, nights can get quite cold.
During winter months, mountain temperatures reach extreme lows of below zero, often dumping impenetrable amounts of snow on mountain passes.