Many times you hear people say, “North Africa is not really Africa”. But it is, and can even be characterised as the gateway to Africa. The vast difference in the landscape in the Kingdom of Morocco can be dizzying. From the range of mountains, sweeping deserts, to the beautiful stretches of beach, there is something to cater to every taste. In the upcoming series of articles, I will explore the Imperial cities of Morocco. The imperial cities are the historical capital cities of Morocco, with Rabat being the current capital. But for this article, I take a look at what Casablanca has to offer.
One quickly realises that the best value can be found in markets when in Morocco. Standing as one of the oldest open markets in Casablanca, the Central Market is not to be missed. From spices, fruit, flowers, meat, body oils and soaps, there’s enough to spend on in the market. Agriculture is a key industry in Morocco (yes it’s not all desert), and you see this from the vast range of fresh produce you can pick up in the market. Also, one can’t help but notice the overwhelming number of cats! They keep the mice away from the produce I suppose. But if you have a cat allergy don’t worry, they’re too busy chilling in the shade to worry about you.
Standing in the most atmospheric district in Casablanca, the Habous district of the city’s New Medina, is the royal palace. It is a true masterpiece in Islamic architecture, and is a befitting home for royalty. This palace is the king’s main residence. The palace is also used for many important events and royal receptions. If the king is not there, they may allow you to walk onto the grounds, otherwise, you can only take pictures from the streets. It’s also worth mentioning that you shouldn’t take pictures of guards and police whilst in Morocco. They get very angry. The royal palace is one of the few places where this is an exception. The guards don’t seem to mind, so snap away!
MOHAMED V SQUARE
This square has some of the most striking architecture in Casablanca. It was named after the former Sultan, and standing in the middle is a fountain that lights up in the evening, and is buzzing with activity during the day. A lot of important administrative buildings can be found in the square, the design of which can be attributed to the great work of architect Henri Prost. Some of these building include the French Consulate, the Bank of Morocco, the Court of Justice, and the Post Office.
HASSAN II MOSQUE
Standing as the largest mosque in Morocco, this mosque is said to be the 13th largest in the world. Our guide however, advised us that it is the 3rd largest, so I’m not too sure which is which! Nevertheless, it’s pretty big mosque, and it’s the only one open to the general public. So be sure to pay it a visit. It looks out to the Atlantic Ocean, and can house worshippers both inside and outside the mosque. The mosque took 6 years to build, and has an enormous amount of detail, so spend some time inside admiring some of the great craftwork. Just remember that it is a mosque, so be sure to dress decently if you want to be allowed entry. You don’t need a head scarf, but you need to ensure your shoulders and knees are covered.
Casablanca is a beautiful and well developed city, so be sure to check out the amazing restaurants and night life as well!Remember to follow my page on Instagram @thingu.official,like my Facebook page Thingu and subscribe to my youtube channel Thingu Official for more updates!