The melting snows and rains that fall in the mountains feed numerous springs and oasises that bring life to the arid deserts. To the south of the High Atlas: the deserts stretch west to the Atlantic Ocean and east to Algeria, Libya, Egypt and finally the Red Sea. North of the Atlas a much less arid climate helps farming on the fertile plains and rolling hills that stretch north to the Mediterranean.
Over the centuries numerous powers have been involved in creating present day Morocco. The Romans only really tried to keep control of several trading ports, the Arabs on the other hand tried to take over the whole country during the great Islamic crusades. Their presence and efforts were a constant cause of conflict with the indigenous Berber peoples.
In the last centuries Morocco came increasingly under European influence and most of the present country became a French colony in 1912. In 1956 it finally gained its independence. In the 12 Century Marrakech was the capital of a rich empire roughly equivalent of the present day Morocco and to this day it remains one of the most magnificent North African cities including both impressive monuments and a very fascinating old Medina, a world famous central square and endless alleys in the souk areas.