Visiting Casablanca - A Review
The history of Casablanca started when the Berbers settled there in the 7th century BC. The city has gradually grown into the largest Moroccan center with around 3.3 million souls. It became the busiest financial hub of the whole continent and main Moroccan industrial and business zone with an important trading port.
Casablanca’s long history has seen many European settlers, mainly Portuguese, Spanish and French, who influenced its architecture (Moorish and French Art-deco style) and culture.
Morocco has other places that are more favored by tourists but if life brings you here, you won’t be disappointed. The most important landmark is the Hassan II Mosque. You’ll be impressed by the sheer scale of this place as it is the 3rd largest mosque in the world with the tallest minaret ever built (210 m). At night the laser beams point to Mecca and even if you don’t get a chance to go inside (only Muslims can), it is well-worth the visit. The architecture is beautiful on the outside and magnificent inside. Interesting is the position of the mosque on the Atlantic shore, partially over the water.
Casablanca Cathedral (L’Eglise du Sacre-Coeur) remains a witness of the Catholic part of past inhabitants. It is open to visitors but completely empty inside, sometimes used as an art gallery. Admire its size and splendid stained glass windows and do climb up for the view – a sea of white houses, as the city’s name suggests. Stroll around the Old Medina and the souks but more pleasant for buying souvenirs is the Quartier Habous which is cleaner, less busy and easier to explore. Haggle for prices, of course. Another great place for spending money, people-watching and chilling out in coffee shops is the biggest mall in the city - Morocco Mall – better to be avoided during weekends as it gets very packed. For the freshest and superb seafood and fish dishes go to the Marche Central market. Corniche will offer you lovely beach and promenade for scenic walks and many restaurants, cafés and shops, too. Ain Diab public beach is popular for local nightlife.
And guess which super-famous and excellent French actor was born here, to Spanish parents? Jean Reno!