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Morocco’s strategic proximity to Europe has made it a prize destination for invading groups since the 8th century BC, including the Phoenicians, the Romans, the Visigoths, the Vandals, and the Byzantine Empire. However, it was with the arrival of the Arabs in the 7th century AD, who brought with them the Islamic religion, that Morocco’s present-day identity truly began to be shaped. Unlike other countries along the North African coast, Morocco was not as heavily occupied by Arab settlers, and although they were able to convert many of the indigenous Berber tribes to Islam, they were not able to withstand the Berber Revolt of 740AD, from which point the expanding Moorish empire was ruled by various Berber dynasties. Great cities rose from the mountainous landscape, filled with palaces and mosques of dazzling beauty, and market squares thrumming with the sound of traders pedalling spices, cloth and silver. Modern Morocco has lost none of its alluring mystique, its cities remaining some of the most enchanting on the African continent, overflowing with an abundance of artistic, architectural and horticultural delights. From the Atlas Mountains to the northern reaches of the Sahara Desert in the far south, this is a landscape as diverse as its people and history, and utterly ripe for exploration.
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