Casablanca beyond the 1942 movie
While the name of the city always brings to mind the 1942 movie Casablanca, where the famous words, “Here’s looking at you, kid,” are heard, the movie wasn’t actually made there. The old black and white movie was made in the studio, but this doesn’t take away the city’s attractions.The location where the city stands today was originally settled by the Berber people in around the 7th century. However, after it was conquered by the Almoravids in 1068, it became a small and independent kingdom. Much history went by until France appeared on the scene in 1907. Moreover, the French modeled their city after Marseilles, making Casablanca a mostly European and cosmopolitan city.
The Moroccan city as it stands todaySince then, Casablanca has kept its traditions of the past and both ancient and modern co-exist right up until today. These days, travelers can visit the new town of Casablanca to enjoy its excellent restaurants, lively nightlife and a modern shopping experience. Meanwhile, others prefer to explore the fascinating and historic Medina in the city.
The city’s Medina remains less popular with tourists, making it the perfect place to visit and experience on a cultural vacation in Morocco. In recent times, the Medina has been renovated, including its western walls and its “skala” or bastion. Meanwhile, the clock tower, dating back to colonial days, has also been thoroughly renovated.
Marabout de Sidi Abderrahmane, CasablancaThe small island of Marabout de Sidi Abderrahmane is popular with locals and is an excellent location to experience the life of true Morocco. During low tide, it is possible to cross the sand to the small, rocky island. Once there, panoramic views of Casablanca can be enjoyed.
Besides beautiful beaches, the island hosts the tomb of Sidi Abderrhamane Thaalibi, a Sufi from Baghdad in Iraq and was the founder of Algiers. He is considered a saint to Moroccans, who regularly make the informal pilgrimage to the island to reflect on religion and life. However, tourists can only view the outside of the tomb, as non-Muslims are not allowed to enter.
Parc de la Ligue Arabe and the CathedralMeanwhile, in the city, the Parc de la Ligue Arabe is a pretty and worthwhile visit and Casablanca’s largest public park. While the park is ideal for a relaxing stroll or picnic, the Casablanca Cathedral is located on its edge. Known officially as “Cathédrale Sacré-Coeur,” the cathedral is no longer used for religious practices. However, this beautiful building is fascinating to visit, with its Mauresque (Moorish Revival or Neo-Moorish) architecture.
Moreover, Casablanca has many more attractions in Morocco – find more information about this beautiful city on its official tourism website here.