Casablanca This port city standing by the Atlantic coastline is also Morocco’s largest and most populous. Set up by the French as a key commercial port in Morocco, Casablanca’s old French legacy is reflected in its handsome Mauresque buildings. Casablanca’s iconic architectural style, a fusion of traditional Moroccan and French-colonial design, is best seen in its downtown area. The bustling Central Market and the old Mahakma building, which was an old Muslim law court as well as the Pasha of Casablanca’s reception hall, are definitely worth a visit for a true flavor of the city. For a taste of Casablanca’s sophisticated nightlife, a stroll down the Quartier Habous and the beachside suburb of Ain Diab are always on a traveler’s list The Corniche d’Aïn Diab has been an upmarket part of Casablanca since the 1920s. Running from El-Hank Lighthouse in the east, to the Marabout of Sidi Abderrahman in the west, this coastal avenue is lined with a succession of tidal swimming pools, hotels, restaurants, fashionable nightclubs and an institute of thalassotherapy (a type of treatment involving seawater, mud, algae and seaweed).


In the 7th century, Casablanca was no more than a small Berber settlement clinging to the slopes of the Anfa hills. However, for strategic and commercial reasons, it was already attracting the attention of foreign powers. In 1468, the town was sacked by the Portuguese, who wrought wholesale destruction on the city’s privateer ships. Then, in the 18th century, with the sultanate of Sidi Mohammed ben Abdallah, Dar el-Beïda (meaning “White House” – “Casa Blanca” in Spanish) it acquired a new significance. This was thanks to its harbour, which played a pivotal role in the sugar, tea, wool and corn markets of the Western world. It was in the 20th century, under the French Protectorate , that Casablanca underwent the most profound change. Against expert advice, Marshal Lyautey, the first resident-governor, proceeded with plans to make Casablanca the country’s economic hub. To realize this vision, he hired the services of town planners and modernized the port. For almost 40 years, the most innovative architects worked on this huge building project. Casablanca continued to expand even after independence (1956). Futuristic high- rise buildings and a colossal mosque sending its laser beams towards Mecca once again expressed the city’s forward-looking spirit.