Although most people will probably know more about the movie Casablanca, very few people know much about the 'real' Casablanca - the largest city in Morocco.
Located on Morocco's Atlantic coast, Casablanca is where young Moroccans go to seek their fortunes, where business and creative industries prosper - it is the best representation of a modern nation.
Even though it might not be as atmospheric as the imperial cities of Marrakesh, Fez, Meknes, or Rabat, it thrives in many other areas. So here are our 10 interesting facts about Casablanca.
Dubbed as the "White City' of Morocco, Casablanca has grown to become one of Africa's largest cities, serving as Morocco's economic and business centre, and its port is the largest in the north of the continent.
The Hassan II Mosque is the largest mosque in Africa and the fifth largest in the world. The mosque is built predominantly over the Atlantic Ocean with the seabed visible from the glass floor in the great wall - this being one of the many tourist hotspots in Morocco.
Apart from the Atlantic coast, the Bouskoura forest is the only natural attraction in the city - the forest was planted in the 20th century and consists mainly of eucalyptus, palm, and pine trees.
The Arabian League Park is one of the most popular green areas of Casablanca. This large open space was redeveloped and due to open is 2017. The rehabilitated park features tall palm trees, water features, a stadium, a skate park, and an underground car park.
Just outside Nefta, you'll find a shrine to Sidi Merzoug - the Marabout of Sdi Merzouf, a popular site among locals. Although not the typical place of worship - it is a burial ground - many travellers flock here in search of physical healing, spiritual vision, or simply sightseeing. This being a venerated site, it must be treated with the utmost respect.
Casablanca's beach is reminiscent of Venice beach - a bit gritty and surf-crazed. Each September surf pros from around the globe descend here to compete in the Quicksilver Pro surf competition.
Strolling through the streets of the Old Medina you'll find a place that's brimming in history - old city walls, forts, and narrow alleyways have all remained the same as they were thousands of years ago - a popular route for those walking between downtown Casablanca and the Hassan II Mosque.
Recreating the set of the 1942 classic Casablanca, Rick's Café is everything avid film lovers can imagine - travelling back in time to the 1040s, complete with the décor and music from the film. The restaurant extends to several different floors, each with individualized table settings and designs.
The Casablanca Cathedral, built in the 1930s is an architectural masterpiece. The Cathedral was an important landmark in Casablanca during the French Catholic rule but after the independence of Morocco in 1956, the Cathedral ceased its religious functions and was abandoned. It has since been used as a school, culturalcentre, and now hostexhibitions and fairs.
The King's Palace in Casablanca is said to be an architectural beauty - surrounded by orange groves and elaborate water features is a popular tourist attraction despite restricted access.
Casablanca feels like a glamorous and sophisticated city with beautiful French Colonial architecture, grand hotels and European cafes all line on the sidewalks. Restorations taking place all over the city while the old walled Medina remains untouched and unchanged.
Dare to take your next adventure to this authentic big city vibe where you'll discover ancient heritage sites, and more - a rewarding experience for every traveller.
This classic Morocco tour starts in Casablanca and visits the imperial cities of Meknes and Fes. Then it's south across the Atlas Mountains to the Sahara Desert, before heading back to Marrakech via the Todra Gorge and Ait Benhaddou.
This exciting tour gives you a fantastic insight into the history and cultures of the Moroccan desert regions. The tour will take in Marrakech and travel through beautiful scenery in the Atlas Mountains and Sahara Desert.
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