Casablanca, Morocco

Trip Start Sep 09, 2013
Trip End Sep 29, 2013

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Ah, the second or third or fourth most interesting place to visit!!  Casablanca is not as romantic as the movie but it is a very interesting city.  It is a big city, 3 million people.  So there is the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly, etc.  It is on the Atlantic Ocean so we felt the ship rock and roll last night as we traveled from Gibraltar.  Not bad though.  It is Morocco’s economic capital and most modern city, endowed with a scenic coastline on the Atlantic Ocean.The modern city of Casablanca was founded by Berber fishermen in the 10th century BC and was subsequently used by the Phoenicians, Romans and the Merenids as a strategic port called Anfa.  The Portuguese destroyed it and rebuilt it under the name Casa Branca, only to abandon it after an earthquake in 1755.  The Moroccan sultan rebuilt the city as Daru I-Badya and it was given its current name by Spanish traders who established trading bases here.  The French occupied the city in 1907, established it as a protectorate in 1912 and started construction of the new town; however the country gained independence in 1956.  It retains many French words, like the small taxis are called Petite Taxi.Casablanca is home to the Hassan II Mosque, designed by a French architect and situated on a promontory on the Atlantic Ocean.  The Mosque has room for 25,000 worshippers inside, and a further 80,000 can be accommodated in the Mosque’s courtyard.  The Mosque is the largest in North Africa and the third largest in the world.We began the tour of the city by visiting a central downtown market.  It was filled with fruit, vegetables, flowers and fish.  As you can see from the pictures it wasn’t very clean.We visited Mohamed V Square in the heart of the city.  We were surrounded by French colonial architecture.  We were taken to a Government store for shopping so that we could find authentic Moroccan goods and the best prices.  There were leather goods, brass, silver jewelry, beautiful wooden boxes, rugs, etc.  You could also buy olive oil and aragon oil.  These are used both for cooking and skin care!  Some of the Moroccan rugs we saw were hand woven.  The fibers were dyed with natural ingredients; green from mint, blue from indigo, yellow from saffron, etc.  She said the colors don’t fade when they’re natural like that.We stopped at a 3 star hotel for some refreshment.  The local drink is sweetened mint tea.  It was very good.We drove through the area where the rich live and the King’s Palace.  Very beautiful and clean, of course.  We passed several beautiful parks.Our guide was a Muslim woman who was great.  She had a great sense of humor and loves her city.  She was so excited to show us around.  She explained that Morocco is very tolerant of all religions.  We saw beautiful Christian churches and Jewish Synagogues, as well as Mosques.  She further explained that women can decide on their own how to dress, hair covered, face covered, full black robe, etc.  And we saw the whole gamut of choices.  The new King is only 50 years old and is the first King to ever introduce his wife to the public.  And she is very active in the community on women’s issues.
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Barbara S. on

I have so enjoyed seeing your magnificent photos, along with the running commentary. What a trip!!

Diane & Jack on

Great pictures. Looks to be like a very unusual place to visit!!

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