Casablanca is located in the central western part of Morocco, in front of the Atlantic Ocean. Considered the largest city in the Maghreb, the city is also one of the largest and most important metropolises in Africa, in terms of finances and demography. The city is the country's main port and one of Africa's most important economic centers. It has around 4 million inhabitants and is considered the financial and commercial district, while the capital is Rabat.
The origins of the city
Casablanca's first name was Anfa, in Berber dialect in the 7th century BC. Later, when Portugal conquered Anfa in the 15th century, it rebuilt it, changing its title to Casa Branca. It comes from the Portuguese meaning "White House". Its current Spanish name appeared when the Portuguese Empire was incorporated into the Spanish Empire. In the middle of the French colonial period in the country, the term became Casablanca. It is still called Casa by many locals and foreigners.
A tour of the Corniche
Boulevard de la Corniche runs along Casablanca's waterfront for several kilometers, with a promenade lined with palm trees which has experienced a major revival since the 2000s. On one side, there are sandy beaches, mostly with private beach clubs, which slope gently towards the water. On the other, there are hotels, restaurants, fast food chains, bars, exclusive nightclubs, hookah bars etc. Coming to the Corniche at the end of the afternoon to stroll along the Atlantic and watch the sunset from the terrace of a cafe is just a wonder.
Architecture, art and decoration
Casablanca experienced unprecedented growth during the time of the French protectorate. The economic development implemented by General Lyautey (1854-1934), as a kind of insurance against insurrection, is represented by large boulevards and a style of architecture that mixes the curved lines of the decoration with the characteristics traditional Moroccan zellige, interior courtyards and design adapted to the climate. Many of the best works of Moorish architecture in Casablanca can be found in the streets bounded by Mohammed V and Lalla Yacout Avenue to the north and south, and Ibn Batouta Street to the east.
Hassan II mosque
On a promontory above the ocean is Africa's largest mosque and the world's third largest mosque. The Hassan II Mosque was inaugurated in 1993 after less than eight years of construction. It can accommodate 105,000 faithful, including 25,000 indoors and 80,000 in the field. One of the many astonishing feats is the minaret, the second tallest in the world, with its 210 meters and its laser beam pointed at Mecca. If the dimensions of the Hassan II mosque are impressive, its marble columns, its horseshoe arches, its chandeliers, its woodcarvings and its zellig moldings, all produced by 6,000 master craftsmen from all over Morocco, testify to 'exquisite craftsmanship.