Region: Grand Casablanca
Population: approx. 5 mio.
Casablanca catches all its visitors with its special aura. The city became world-famous through the correspondent movie featuring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, and Sophia Loren brought additional stardom to the town by shooting the movie “Soleil” here in 1996. Casablanca (or simply “Casa”, or Arabic „Dar el Beïda“) is Morocco’s largest city and in many ways the secret capital of the kingdom, even though the country’s administration is located in Rabat. Nestled into a bay on the Atlantic coastline, Casablanca hosts a university, constitutes a major traffic hub and is also the business center of Morocco. More than half of all Moroccan employees work in one of the industrial firms in town.
But it also plays an important role as a commercial center due to the busy harbor which processes more than 40% of all Moroccan port activities. This economic significance made Casablanca a magnet for many young Moroccans searching for employment and coming here from all parts of the country. Therefore, Casablanca grew from a mere small town with an area of 4.65 m² and a population of 25,000 (1906) to a metropolitan region stretching from Mohammedia in the northeast to Dar-Bouâzza in the southwest. Casablanca awaits the traveler with noble quarters, classy boutiques, fine galleries and an animated café and club life of the rich and famous. The city’s main attraction – the Grand Mosquée Hassan II – was built in 1993, honoring King Hassan’s 60th birthday, and has been the town’s landmark ever since. With its huge dimensions (22x100 m), it is the second biggest sacral building worldwide next to the mosque in Mecca.
Situated right on the seaside and even protruding above the water, a concrete paving slab of 40,000m² had to be cast for the ground area. But an excursion to the Medina is also very much worthwhile, to experience the last bits of former Casablanca with its charming living quarters, small shops and hawkers. Exploring the town always stands for pure pleasure - no matter if done during the day, strolling along the district of Habbous to visit the vegetable and crafts markets for some shopping - or in the evening, when a catching night life is vibrating in the beach quarters like Ain Diab.