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As Time Goes By

Casablanca with its population of about 3,8 millions is the biggest city in Morocco and the second biggest city in the whole Africa (after Cairo). It's one of Morocco "Royal capitals" along with Fez, Marrakech and Meknes. In VII-VIII centuries there was a small Berber settlement called Anfa. Its inhabitants traded with Italy, Spain and Portugal. Anfa port was a place where pirates robbed commercial ships. By XV century piracy became so widespread that Portuguese decided to destroy the city.

In 1515 they founded their own colony here and named it Casa Branca ? White House. In 1755 the city was again destroyed ? this time by the earthquake. Portuguese left this place and it was inhabited by the Arabs.

Spanish merchants who often visit Dar El Beida (white house in Arab) called the city in the Spanish manner ? Casa Blanca. This name has become the official name of the city. Now many Casablanca citizens call their city just Casa.

During World War due to the famous film "Casablanca" the city became worldknown.The most interesting places for tourists lie in the old part ? Medina. Here you can feel the atmosphere of the authentic oriental city ? narrow and crooked streets, donkeys with small carts.

This part of the city is also full of small shops with souvenirs and other goods.In 1923 it was decided to build new district ? New Medina according to the new realities.The main tourist attraction in Casablanca is Mosque Hassan II. It is 200 meters height and can accommodate up to 25 000 religious believers. Esplanada around the mosque can house another 800 000. 3300 masters from all over the country were gathered to build it.

Above its religious meaning the mosque is also a cultural center. It houses madrasah, library and the National Museum. The hall for prayers is decorated with 78 columns of pink granite; the floor is covered with golden marble and green onyx tile. The room is enlightened with 50 tons chandeliers of Venetian glass.

The roof is trimmed with emerald tiling. It was opened in 1993 and the brightest Muslim monument built in XX century.Other interesting places in Casablanca ? Notre Dame de Lourdes, Museum of the Islamic Art and Mahakma du Pacha.

Mahakma du Pacha once was a place where pasha dispensed justice. Now it house the prefecture of one of the seven Casablanca districts.Casablanca reminds a lot of many cities in southern Europe ? crowded streets, hastening people, womn in european clothes, luxury restaurants and boutiques. The city never falls asleep. Casablanca night life concentrates along Corniche embankment. Here bars,night clubs and discos are situated.

Special attantion should be paid to Casablanca markets. They occupy the whole district ? olive, confectionary and potter's market make the huge market surrounde by antique shops with a lot of rare and unique things.Modern Casablanca is a home of headquaters of more than a half of Moroccan companies. It' the city of new technologies. Here the largest Moroccan airport - Mohammed V Airport is situated.

Its ultra-modern landig strip is a brilliant example of the contemporary architecture. Casablancaport is the biggest port in the country and the forth in Africa.


For booking a hotel, please, go to Casablanca hotels page.

By: Constance Blair

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