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Casablanca, a Must-Visit City

on 17 December 2018

Casablanca is the cosmopolitan, industrial and economic heart of Morocco, it is the country's largest city and busiest port with a population of over 3.5 million.

The city of Casablanca was founded by Berber fishermen in the 10th Century BC and was subsequently used by the Phoenicians, Romans, and the Merenids as a strategic port called Anfa. The Portuguese destroyed it and rebuilt it under the name Casa Branca, only to abandon it after an earthquake in 1755. The Moroccan sultan rebuilt the city as Daru l-Badya and it was given its current name of Casablanca by Spanish traders who established trading bases there. The French occupied the city in 1907, establishing it as a protectorate in 1912, however it gained independence with the rest of the country in 1956.

Top attractions of the city

Hassan II Mosque

It took 6,000 traditional Moroccan artisans six years to build this magnificent mosque, which was commissioned by King Hassan II and completed in 1993. Its towering minaret is the city's most recognizable landmark, while the interior is a masterpiece of intricate mosaics, sculpted plaster moldings and carved and painted wooden ceilings.

The Old Medina

Casablanca's medina represents the oldest surviving part of the city, and dates back to the rebuilding carried out by Sultan Mohammed ben Abdallah. Although it isn't as old or as atmospheric as the medieval medinas of other Moroccan cities, it is still a great place to explore on foot. Wander down labyrinthine streets and into tiny storefronts selling spices, clothing and handmade crafts.

Quartier Habous

Nowhere is Casablanca's uniqueness better showcased than in the Quartier Habous, the postcard-perfect "new medina" built by the French in the 1930s. Intended to represent the marriage of Moroccan tradition with modern French culture, the quarter features shady Moorish arches and arcades, clean stone streets and a sophisticated souk full of excellent souvenir shops.

Last Updated: 17 December 2018

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