Casablanca: Beyond Hollywood

Posted on: 26 March 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

Visit the inspirational destination for one of the most romantic films of all time.

Although Casablanca has been romanticised by Hollywood, thee place itself is now a far cry from how it was portrayed; it is actually a modern city, but nevertheless beautiful in its own right.

The Portuguese founded Casablanca, but it was never a very important town. The French came into Morocco in the beginning of the 20th century, and Casablanca's status improved drastically.

The old cities of Fes and Marrakech started to loose their importance in the commerce industries and many of the merchant families moved to Casablanca, knowing that the real money was to be made on the coast.

The centre of Casablanca is fairly impressive. It has big, lively boulevards and high, well-kept buildings, and it's clean and efficient.

The city is modern in a Moroccan way, and an excellent example of Moroccans' capacity of taking charge of the future of their country.

However, the one area that depicts the Casablanca of Bergman and Bogart is the old city. It's small, consisting mainly of smaller houses, which all seem to be from this century, and the alleyways dominating in other old cities are rarely found.

The Beaches
Bouznika beach is located between the major cities of Casablanca and Rabat. This beach has become on of the trendiest beaches and golf resorts in Casablanca. It attracts the local weekend and summer tourists. Bouzinika is the ideal destination for people who wish to combine great golfing and a fabulous beach in a unique Moroccan experience.

Agadir beach offers long, wide beautiful beaches with gorgeous white sand. There are various sea sports on offer and you could even rent a camel and go for a ride along the beautiful beach.

Ain Diab beach has many clubs, which line the oceanfront, but the beach itself is really quite enjoyable, and perfect to sit and enjoy the day.

Shopping
The city has a laidback feeling to shopping, however it is one of the better places in all of Morocco to pick up something unique.

The Houbous offers a great variety of crafts and typical Moroccan shops where you can buy all you need and even find that special gift for the important person back home.

The Old Medina is a market zone with excellent shopping opportunities where the narrow streets lead to various souks and bazaars, which sell almost anythin you can imgin.

Attractions
Rialto Cinema - This beautiful Art Deco cinema palace was constructed in 1930. Catch a movie and enjoy the architecture too.

Cathedral of Sacre Cœur - This cathedral has a refreshing design that features many traditional Moroccan styles. In the past it was used as a school and then a culture centre. Now however, whilst the exterior holds its visual appeal, the interior has succumbed to entropy.

Villa des Arts - This Art Deco exhibition center houses many lovely contemporary art pieces.

Place Mohammed V - Also known as 'Place des Nations Unies', it is located in the centre of Casablanca. It is one of the best examples of French Colonial Architecture in Casablanca, and is strongly influenced by art deco.

The Hassan II Mosque is one of the biggest mosques in the world and also one of the most expensive. Nearly £500 million went into the project and the Moroccans have contributed to the construction of the Mosque in terms of a tax that was imposed to help in the construction of the buildings. An entrance fee is charged to enter the Mosque.

For more information visit www.morocco.com

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