The core national identity of Morocco is based on its predominant twin cultures, indigenous Berber and Arab. Around 45% of Moroccans will claim direct Berber descent and about the same proportion Arab, although given the impact on the country’s history and culture since the arrival of civilisations from the Roman and Phoenician eras, and beyond, the origins of many Moroccans today are more complicated than that.
About the Berbers
The native Imazighen or Berber people of Morocco can be traced back as far as 4,000 years and some of their myths, legends and connections with other parts of Africa go back even further. The strength of the Berber identity is firmly rooted in its unique language and culture, both of which combine Mediterranean, European, Oriental and other international influences. During the seventh/eighth century steady migration from the Middle East and Maghreb introduced Islam and the Arabic language to the country, the two most dominant features of Moroccan culture today.
Trade and Agriculture
Many Berbers engaged in trade have for many hundreds of years employed long established routes between Western Africa and the Mediterranean to connect sub-Saharan Africa with southern Europe. Others farmed the valleys and mountains of northern Africa, the Atlas in particular, the ancestral home of the Berber people characterised by their strong bond to the land and sense of indigenous community.
Atlas Mountain Tours
You can experience the culture and hospitality of the Berbers by booking an Atlas Mountains tour which includes visits to Berber villages and large traditional markets. One can even spend a night under the stars in a Berber tent allowing the magic of traditional Berber life to take you back in time.