While in Morocco , it’s worth to visit Casablanca, an only place in Muslim countries, where you can find a Jewish Museum, the world's tallest minaret and the landscapes from the most famous melodrama.
Usually, the most interesting and attractive place of a particular country is its heart – capital city. In Morocco it’s different, however there's no denying that Rabat, the capital, is stunning, beautiful and worth visiting. Nonetheless, there’s also a bigger city, and for many people a lot more interesting. It’s the famous Casablanca.
This name is well known for everybody, even if we don’t know specifically in which country is it located, or why is it so famous. Over 70 years ago, Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, movie icons and stars from the melodrama, considered today as a cult, wandered through the streets of the city. Is the movie created in the golden period of Hollywood really so brilliant? Everyone can judge themselves. Nevertheless, the city that served as the love story background is beautiful and worth visiting, even though it had changed completely since the filming of "Casablanca ".
Casablanca 70 years later
Casablanca is located in the western part of Morocco, on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. In the past it underwent several periods of lush growth and destruction that still surprises visitors with its size and modernity. You have to admit, that the modernity dominates over the architecture of the city. A tourist, who made the decision to visit the monuments and feel the atmosphere of the former Moroccan town has to do some effort.
Visiting the city, it’s worth to go to the Quartier Habous, a new medina, which was built in the 30s of the last century. Here you will learn both about the history and the present, which are woven together in a kind of combination of traditional architecture with the European glitz. It’s very loud here, and crowded, and noisy, and colorful, and at every corner you’ll meet numbers of vendors selling various trinkets and souvenirs. People who lack assertiveness, equally quickly run out of money.
More remote past, uninterrupted by modernity can be found in the old medina, surrounded by walls protecting against the bustle and haste. Visitors wanting to quiet down for a while and get away from the business of everyday life, can stroll alone through the alleys of the old town, sipping tea with mint.
According to experienced travelers, the Medina and its surroundings are safe both for tourists and their wallets. There are no faux guides ("false guides") always ready to “help”. The cheapest restaurants, cafes and diners, where you can eat exquisite Morrocan dishes, are located on the outskirts of the old city. Those, who don’t like to experiment and prefer to eat meals familiar to their European stomachs, will easily find a restaurant with menu fitted to their tastes. Of course, respectively more expensive.
Attractions of the city
The most famous monument in Casablanca is a magnificent Hassan II Mosque, a giant building which is surpassed only by one pearl of Islamic architecture, the mosque in Mecca. An interesting fact is that after dark, a laser beam is sent from the top of the temple to Mecca, visible from a distance of about 30 km .
The impressive design of the Hassan II Mosque beauty outshines other monuments of the city, and its minaret is the tallest in the world – it’s 200 meters high. Mosque stands proudly on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean, and you can spent hours wandering through its breathtaking interiors. It’s worth to look down from time to time, because through the glass floor you can see the ocean. The Mosque was built on the border of three elements - partly on the ground, partly above the water, while the third element extends over the heads of visitors, when the special mechanism opens the roof. You can get the impression that in these spacious interiors the echo would answer every word. The mosque is one of the few temples in Morocco, to which non-Muslims can enter. It can be visited only with a guide.
What else is worth seeing in Casablanca? If we have more time, we can take the opportunity and explore the palace Mahkama du Pacha. It can be visited only with a guide, but you have to make an arrangement in advance in tourist information. The Palace was built in the 50s of the twentieth century, but looks much older. It has a large central courtyard and two smaller, built with a great pomp, which is visible not only in its dimensions but also in ornaments. It’s an example of the former Moroccan architecture - abundant and full of decorations.
It’s worth to pay attention to the Jewish Museum located in the city. It’s the only place of this kind not only in Morocco, but also in other Muslim countries. Tourists have the opportunity to learn about the history of Jewish communities in the country since Roman times, until gaining the independence, which was the period of emigration of Jews for fear of persecution.
Where to stay in Casablanca?
Those, who’re enthused with the beauty of Moroccan architecture and culture so much, that they want to devote a little bit more time to explore it, have to find a place to sleep. Both in the area of Casablanca, as well as in the city we shouldn’t have any trouble in finding a suitable campsite. Averagely, the accommodation for two persons and a place for the vehicle costs about 50 MAD (something around 4,50 EUR). Not too far away from the city (about 7 km) is located Camp de Mediouna, where you can park your camper. Here, we’ll rest in a beautiful area, try the local food, and we’ll be close to the monuments and attractions of Casablanca.
After exploring the city, we can move further on a trip to Morocco. Simple but delicious cuisine imbued with aromatic spices, as well as magnificent landscapes full of delicious mosques and colors – all of this is waiting for us, promising an unforgettable experience and a lot of memories.