At a cultural cross between the rich history and heritage of its many settlers as well as embracing the contemporary influences of a chic seaside city, there’s so much more to Casablanca than meets the eye.
Famously dubbed the “White City” of Morocco, Casablanca is more than just the setting that many relate to the film of the same name. In fact, unlike Marrakech, Fez and even the capital Rabat, this coastal city mixes all the things you love about picturesque Europe, bustling Africa and traditional Arabia, in one. With its roots as a small port town, Casablanca has grown to become one of Africa’s largest cities, serving as Morocco’s economic and business centre, with a port that is now the largest in in the north of the continent.
You can get your local, cultural fix at the stunning Hassan II Mosque – one of the world’s largest – or pose for a cool insta pic in one of the many new neighbourhoods mixing art deco style with exotic flair – creating Casablanca’s rich architectural heritage. Shopping is a treat with Africa’s biggest mall located in Casablanca as well as colourful traditional markets and medinas to interact with the local community. Surprisingly cosmopolitan, Casablanca was once called home by the Berbers as well as being inhabited by the Phoenicians, Romans, Portuguese and French over time – it’s no wonder that the city embraces its cultural diversity through sites, food, and, of course, its people. Today, whitewashed houses, iconic art deco structures, old world souqs and urban galleries all come together and form a city that represents the face of modern Morocco.
TOP 4: THINGS TO DO IN CASABLANCA
HASSAN II MOSQUE
It’s best to go in the morning and join in the tour of your choice based on language. Well organised and informative, you’ll be taken on a journey through this stunning mosque and learn all about the architecture and other rituals of Islamic festivities and praying. This magnificent monument – one of the world’s largest mosques – was designed by French architect Michel Pinseau. At 210 metres (689 feet), the minaret is Morocco’s tallest structure and the highest minaret in the world.
Even if you’re there to shop, this place is worth visiting! And, if you love shopping, there’s a good chance that you won’t want to leave. Filled with floors of the most up-to-date fashion, homeware, footwear, accessories and everything in between, this is Africa’s largest shopping centre, featuring over 350 different stores. Discover luxury brands and high street favourites – and shop ‘til you drop.
Widely known as the New Medina, Habous is an area of the city that was built in the 1930s by the French. It features a wonderful mix of beautiful Moroccan and French inspired architecture but, best of all, is the traditional market where you can haggle for everything from ornate pots to wooden chess sets, Moroccan lamps, tagines, tasty olives, and charming satchels. Explore the alleyways on foot and pick up some yummy local treats from one of the many bakeries dotted around.
Perhaps the one place where all sides of Moroccan life are revealed. From locals to businessmen, street vendors, families friends, children, young teens and anyone who wants a feel of the fresh sea breeze, the promenade is where people gather. It’s perfect for a morning jog or an evening stroll, and for exploring the affluent Hollywood flair of the Anfa area. Plus, you’ll get tons of great shots and some good exercise!
GO: FLY TO CASABLANCA WITH QATAR AIRWAYS VIA DOHA. GO TO WWW.QATARAIRWAYS.COM MORE FOR MORE INFORMATION.