Casablanca is located on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, it is the great metropolis of the country, the financial center and the most cosmopolitan city. Visiting the most emblematic places of the city will not take you more than a day.
You can visit this city in one day, the ideal would be 2 days / 1 night. If you are thinking of doing an itinerary around the country, an essential stop is Casablanca.
In this post I tell you everything you can see and do in Casablanca and some practical advice that you may find useful.
WHAT TO SEE AND DO IN CASABLANCA, MOROCCO
1. The French Center of Casablanca
France's presence in Casablanca has been long and did not end until the end of the Protectorate period, well into the 20th century. As a legacy of all that, today one of Casablanca's tourist attractions is its French center, which can practically be considered the center of the city. It is a neighborhood with a colonial appearance, especially around the Central Marché and Mohammed V Square.
2. Visit the Hasan II Mosque
The mosque that the former Moroccan king Hassan II had built in Casablanca is one of the largest and most beautiful.
It is a grandiose temple that overlooks the ocean, in which the monarch invested unthinkable amounts of money to build a temple that is a symbol of the city.
It is a building where the Muslim tradition has been fused with the comforts of the present. The floor where the faithful pray is heated and from the minaret of the mosque comes a laser beam indicating the direction to Mecca. By the way, the Minaret (The Tower), with its 210 meters, is the tallest building in Morocco.
Inside it can accommodate up to 25,000 people at a time. Imagine its magnitude.
Outside the mosque, on each side, you can see the sources used for the ablution rite. They are very pretty and are decorated with blue mosaics. Both outside and inside you can see that the mosque is covered in marble and in some places it is combined with decorations in titanium, bronze, onyx and granite.
The royal door is located in the west area of the mosque, its geometric decoration made of titanium and copper stands out.
Inside you can find the main area, a large space 200 meters long by 100 meters wide, made of marble and with large chandeliers. You can also visit the ablutions room, where there are huge water fountains made of marble in the shape of a flower.
The museum, also located inside and it is an Islamic museum. When you meet your guide, you will do so here.
Clothing: You must wear clothing that completely covers the shoulders, torso and neckline. Wear pants or skirts below the knee. And although it is not mandatory for women, but it is well seen by the locals, it is the covering of the head, leaving only the face exposed. (This last point is optional for foreigners). Inside you have to go barefoot. And take your shoes with you (backpack, bag...) if you don't have anything in the mosque they provide bags so you can put them inside. Unlike Buddhist culture where shoes are left at the entrance to the temple, I have not seen this done in mosques.
3. Rick's Cafe
Something curious to see in Casablanca is the famous Rick's Café, the place that appears in the movie Casablanca, starring Humphrey Boghart. However, this cafe never existed, as the entire movie was shot in Hollywood. Tourists visited Casablanca and couldn't find the coffee. Finally, after many disappointments and great expectations, the city decided to build the cafe, which is decorated just as it appears in the film. If you are looking for something curious to do in Casablanca, go to Rick's Café (even if you already know that it is the fake one, or the real one, depending on how you look at it).
4. The old Medina of Casablanca
Casablanca is the most modern city in Morocco, yes, but it also preserves its old medina, which contrasts sharply with the large avenues of the city. Compared to other medinas in other tourist destinations in Morocco, the Casablanca medina is quite small and less authentic. It must be taken into account that an earthquake in 1755 almost completely destroyed it and that in the last 100 years many urban changes have taken place in the city, which obviously have greatly affected the character of this historic place. Get lost in its labyrinthine streets and don't tire of haggling to get a product that catches your eye.
5. United Nations Square
Right next to the Clock Tower is one of the ugliest squares we've ever seen. Although it does not hurt to know it since it is one of the nerve centers of Casablanca. It is a real chaos: cut by the tram, full of people, tourists and without many attractions other than shops and restaurants. You have to be careful because it is full of pickpockets who are waiting for any carelessness to appropriate your things.
6. Mohammed V Square
In contrast to the United Nations, this is one of the most beautiful squares in the city. It is considered the heart of Casablanca and contains numerous architectural gems. Many of the buildings that surround it are in the Mudejar style (combining Moroccan and French influences). Among them are the Palace of Justice, the Consulate of France, the National Bank or the Prefecture. It is a quiet space where you can relax and enjoy the beautiful architecture.
7. The Central Market
This interesting market is surrounded by buildings from the French colonial era. It was created during that time to meet the most select requests of the Europeans who lived in Casablanca. Today it is still the most important market in Casablanca. There you can find everything: from fish and meat to a wide variety of spices. Without a doubt, even if you do not plan to buy anything, visiting it is something highly recommended to do in Casablanca.
8. The Cathedral of the Sacred Heart
Also known as Casablanca Cathedral, it is not really a cathedral at all. It is so named because of its monumental appearance, in neo-Gothic style. It was built in 1953 to serve the Catholic community that resided in Casablanca, but its stage as a church lasted a few years. In 1956, with the country's political independence from France and Spain, it lost its Catholic faithful and stopped working. Today it is used as a cultural center.
9. The Mahkama du Pacha Palace
This is one of the best treasures in the city, although visiting it is not easy. They don't always let you in and if you're lucky, you should visit it with a guide, as it is used as a court of law. It is located next to the neighborhood market and its interiors are spectacular. Do not miss it!
10. The Sanctuary of Sidi Abderrahman
This is one of the most curious things to do in Casablanca. The site hides a rather fascinating story. Sidi Abderrahman, considered a saint by some Muslims, came from Baghdad in the 19th century and settled on this islet. The marabout lived there until the end of his days and today it is a pilgrimage site.
Access to the temple where Sidi Abderrahman is buried is prohibited for non-Muslims. The rest can be visited.
11. The Royal Palace of Casablanca
The King of Morocco has Royal Palaces in all major Moroccan cities and Casablanca is no exception. The city's Royal Palace is located in the Quartier Habous. The entrance to the building is prohibited, as in all the Royal Palaces of the country, although it is possible to see its doors (prior permission from the guards).
GUIDED TOURS IN CASABLANCA
A good idea to get to know the city is to hire a private tour, a guided tour in Spanish that will take you through its streets, tell you about its history, traditions, legends, and anecdotes.
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PLAN YOUR TRIP STEP BY STEP
I hope you enjoy Casablanca very much. If you are thinking of doing an itinerary or visiting more cities, do not miss all the destinations in Morocco that I have published on the blog, as well as a complete 15-day itinerary.
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A hug and see you soon!