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Morocco has been mythologised for good reason. Travellers extol the country's unique living history, its shimmering light and its extraordinary art. Morocco is the ideal African starting point for the traveller. An easy hop from Europe, it is hectic but friendly and stimulating as well. Open-air markets throughout the country are piled high with rugs, woodwork, jewellery and leather - said to be the softest in the world. Morocco's image is slowly shifting. The old romantic notions of a conservative nation steeped in Islamic and feudal history now clangs with a contemporary reality. The medieval labyrinthine medinas of Marrakesh are what Morocco is all about for many, but don't be surprised to hear the shrill ring of a mobile phone or see a sign pointing down some darkened alley to the nearest internet cafe.