Casablanca, in western Morocco enjoys a stunning Atlantic coastline. It is the capital of the Grand Casablanca region and has a population of over 3.8 million people. The world famous city of Casablanca is also Morocco’s largest city and its main sea port.
The exciting city of Casablanca has the ultimate fusion of old and new and is one of the few cities to get the balance of old world and modern vibe just right. That said, it is not hard to see why the city is so popular because there is something to suit everyone and of all ages. The city has a great amount of culture that spans back centuries, while still being able to offer all of the comfort and mod cons of the 21st century.
Contrary to popular belief the well-known 1942 motion picture, Casablanca, which was a romantic drama directed by Michael Curtiz, was not filmed in the city. It was actually shot in a studio in Hollywood, Los Angeles and the only real evidence of a link to the film is Rick’s Café, a restaurant, bar and café which is located in the city centre. Rick’s Café opened in 2004 and was designed to recreate the famous bar that features in the film. Those looking to get a feel of what it must have been like to be in the film can head down to Rick’s Café to soak up the atmosphere. You will soon be feeling like Humphrey Bogart or his leading lady Ingrid Bergman, when you appreciate the details that are based on the film such as the sculpted bar and the curved arches. The balconies and balustrades have been designed to emulate the film set, and other finishing touches include beaded and stencilled brass lighting and the melody of ‘As Time Goes By’ played by the in-house pianist in the background.
Not only is this restaurant a great place to relax, after walking around the city, it is also one of the best places to sample some of Morocco’s finest cuisine. Rick’s Café is not only popular for its seafood dishes it is also famous for the great steaks, foie gras and goat’s cheese salads which is served with fresh figs. Traditional tagines and mixed grilled meats, including roasted game hen and swordfish steaks, off the BBQ are also available.
Some of the outstanding buildings and architecture that can be appreciated within the city includes the majestic Hassan ll Mosque, which was the design of the French architect Michel Pinseau. Situated on the headland overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, this impressive religious building can accommodate 25,000 worshippers at one time and 80,000 more can be housed within the mosques courtyard.
This mosque has certainly left its mark on the world when it comes to religious establishments, as it has the tallest minaret in the world. At 210 metres tall, this impressive piece of architecture stands majestically like a giant finger pointing to the sky. The Hassan ll Mosque is the largest mosque in all of North Africa and is the third largest mosque in the world.
Casablanca has what is known as a Mediterranean climate with average daily highs reaching around 25°C. Low temperatures can drop to around 19°C during the summer months and in winter the average daily temperatures are around 17°C dropping down to around 9°C. Much of the rainfall over the year falls during the winter months and there is hardly any rain at all during summer, adding to the heat in the city centre. The annual hours of sunshine amount to an impressive 2,927, making Casablanca the ideal holiday destination for sun seekers.
One of the most authentic and traditional experiences to engage in while in Casablanca is visiting a traditional hamam (bath house). It is worth every penny and you will leave the hamam houses feeling like a new person, after some time in the traditional steam rooms you will enjoy an intensive full body massage and seaweed scrub, then on to the sun loungers to relax with a traditional cup of tea. This is a fantastic experience if you are looking for the real Casablanca, as the hamams are not touristy at all and they give a very clear view of what everyday life in the city is like.