Moroccan music has been influenced by Arabic, Berber, African and Spanish traditions. Distinctive musical instruments include the ghalta (a wind instrument), the amzhad (a stringed instrument used by Berber musicians) and the bendir (a type of drum). Traditional Berber music is connected to storytelling and is an important part of moussems, weddings, and other celebrations. Chaabi, a type of popular music often heard in cafés, combines Arab, African and Western styles. Usually at the end of each song, there is an instrumental section with a faster tempo, which encourages the audience to dance and clap.
Morocco’s rich architectural heritage is evident in its mosques and madressahs. The mosques’ interiors are usually adorned with paved courtyards, fountains and elaborate mosaics. Delicate traceries surround doors and windows and embellish screens. The Al-Qarawiyin mosque in Fez is considered one of the most beautiful in the country. Moroccans are known for their handmade rugs (kilims). The rugs are made from wool or silk. Certain colours and designs are associated with particular regions. A good Moroccan carpet contains up to 480,000 knots per square metre and can take up to nine months to make. 

The sound of metalworkers’ hammers is often heard in the souks. Moroccan metalwork includes decorated trays, silver jewellery and kitchenware. Maroquinerie (leather working) is also a long-standing tradition. Moroccan leather workers produce beautiful bags and sandals as well as pointed slippers known as balgha, made from sheep or goat skin.

Many contemporary Moroccan writers write in French. One of the country’s best-known writers is Tahar ben Jelloun, who now lives in France. His books Solitaire and Silent Day in Tangier have been translated into English. Driss Chraïbi, author of Heirs to the Past, is another Moroccan writer who lives in France. Mohammed Khaïr-eddine, a poet, writes about the need to change Moroccan traditions. Ahmed Sefrioui is a writer of Berber descent who described the everyday life of Moroccans in La Boîte à Merveilles (The Box of Wonders).
  Did you know?
Many well-known movies, such as Lawrence of Arabia (1962), have been filmed in Morocco. The Sheltering Sky (1990) was based on a book by the American-born writer Paul Bowles, who has lived in Tangier since the 1940s. However, the famous film Casablanca (1942) was not made on location in Morocco, and the story depicts wartime life in Tangier, not Casablanca.