You might have heard about Casablanca in general but after this article, you’d know everything there is to know!
Casablanca which is the main gateway to Morocco for the international airport is also the commercial centre of the country. Compared with other Moroccan cities like Marrakech and Rabat, Casablanca is least visited by travellers. The historical blend of traditional Arab culture with French colonial legacy makes Casablanca a place with lots of things to do and see in every Moroccan trip.
There are many things in Casablanca that you shouldn’t miss out such as museums, palaces, medinas and mosques including the second largest in the world.
Did you know this city is known as Morocco’s business powerhouse and industrial capital and also holds some hidden gems that aren’t yet explored by many travellers.
Hassan II Mosque
The Hassan II Mosque located on Casablanca’s Medina (old city) is the largest functioning mosque in Africa and seventh-largest in the world. The mosque is also one of few in the world that is open to non-Muslims through designated guided tour packages lasting around an hour each.
The Hassan II mosque finished in 1993 sprawling across 2 hectares has the world’s second tallest minaret at 210 metres. The architecture of the mosque combines modernized ancestral art and innovations of new aesthetic possibilities with astonishingly intricate decoration.
The mosque which can accommodate 25000 worshipers in the prayer hall, and another 80,000 in the courtyard which boasts a retractable roof. The mosque located right on the tip of the shoreline of the Casablanca’s medina (old city) offers worshipers a chance to pray on a glass floor directly over the sea.
The Old Medina
When in Casablanca you are more likely to miss out its hidden old city, unlike in many other cities in Morocco. Most of the tourists mostly prefer to visit the Hassan II Mosque and the beach area, but the charming old city walls is a must-visit place on your Moroccan trip. The location dates back to the French colonial period or the following years with typical labyrinth style design that would easily get anyone lost, but the place hides much to discover.
The Old Medina takes you to experience the pulse of Casablanca and exotic atmosphere with narrow streets, cafes, authentic shopping, butchers, bakers and architectural marvels like Berber Mosque. In the southern section of Medina, you can see many koubas (shrines) of holy men.
Museum of Moroccan Judaism
Established in 1997, this unique museum in the Oasis neighbourhood of Casablanca is the only Jewish museum in the Arab world. The museum boasts a historical, religious and traditional insight of the Jewish community in Morocco.
This museum is a must-see place in Casablanca as it showcases the influence of Jewish culture and interfaith coexistence in Morocco. You can find artifacts of Moroccan Jewry including paintings, ornaments, clothing and the complete displays of Moroccan synagogues.
The Port of Safi situated about 237 kilometres south to Casablanca city is the oldest port in Morocco. Safi was a prominent port since the Roman times but was transformed into an intellectual and spiritual centre by the Almohade rulers. The port was renovated with the addition of the stately Dar el Bahar Fortress on the shoreline by the stately Portuguese who occupied the city in 1508.
The Fortress which is the most famous ceramic centre in Morocco is also the most recognizable monument in the Safi town. Safi’s old town medina is a great place to spend for its star attractions like Pottery Souk and the National Ceramic Museum.
The Morocco Mall located at the end of Casablanca’s La Corniche region is the largest shopping centre in Africa with 190 000m² of floor space. The mall serves as a modern hub with something for everyone including shopping, dining and entertainment.
Morocco mall boasts of a massive 1,000,000 L indoor aquarium, Aquadream that contains over 40 different species of fish including small sharks. Visitors can take a ride through the centre of the cylinder-shaped aquarium with a 360-degree view of the sea life and also go scuba diving with a professional instructor.
The mall also hosts an outdoor fountain display outside, indoor ice skating, indoor fairground and an indoor souk where you can experience the taste of traditional Morocco.
Azemmour is a village city lying 75 km southwest of Casablanca left bank of the Oum Er-Rbia River, at Morocco’s Atlantic coastline. Azemmour features various historical sites that date back to the long tenure of Punic times.
The city also boasts the Portuguese medina, which has three parts, a Mellah (Jewish quarters), a Kasbah (fortress), the Old Medina and a historic lighthouse called Sidi Boubekar located 8 km north. One of the key attractions of the place is the ramparts made of bricks encircling the medina area and connecting to the Kasbah built in the 16th century. The charm of the beach lies in the fact that it is not explored by many travellers but is one of the best along the Atlantic coastline.
The origin of this Moroccan city dates back to the medieval town of Anfa, which is currently one of the suburbs of the city. This modern city also boasts the Port of Casablanca which is the second largest port of North Africa and one of the largest artificial ports in the world. Apart from the Atlantic coast, Casablanca also boasts of the Bouskoura forest which consists mostly of eucalyptus, palm, and pine trees located halfway to the city’s international airport.
Casablanca is a wholesome experience in itself and missing out on an adventure here will not be the proudest decision. I guess we know our next vacation destination then!