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Friday, September 22, 2017
 
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  Casablanca (year-round) (Morocco)

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Casablanca conceals many secrets

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The sun sets over Casablanca. To one side, the Atlantic gently sways strollers to the soft rhythm of the waves as the horizon turns to orange against a background of turquoise. To the other, the lights of "The White House" start to sparkle, illuminating the majestic monuments of the city. The evening begins and every street corner invites you to relive a piece of history.

Casablanca is mysterious and it still holds many secrets, especially with regard to its origins. Historians are very divided about this: some say it was Roman or Phoenician, while others say Berber. However, legend has it that around the eighteenth century the Spanish translation "Casa Blanca" began to be used to designate this port city.

 

What is certain is that Casablanca has come a long way since its origin as the little port of Anfa. And what better publicity than "Casablanca" the classic film by Michael Curtiz, made in 1942 and winner of the best film of 1944. At that time the city was still a place of urban experimentation, combining traditional, modern and even innovative architecture. This form of urban organization later served as a model for many European cities

 

Like a veritable outdoor museum, the grand avenues that cross Casablanca allow you to discover the immense architectural wealth that emerged from the protectorate, such as the Art Deco buildings (1920s) or the Neo-Moorish style of the Hotel Excelsior.

 

Casablanca is also a mythical city. To the north, the "old" Medina, characterized by its narrow streets, shops, and especially its lively atmosphere, leads to the historic heart of the city. From here you can see the iconic Hassan II Mosque, which is impressive, amazing and magical at the same time.  To the south, the "new" Medina in the Habous district hosts the famous Moroccan cake shop, BENNIS. This medina, built under the French protectorate, is nothing less than the neighbour of the Royal Palace. All the features of a traditional medina can be found here, but don’t forget to look up for a moment to admire the amazing architecture that makes Casablanca a city of so many contrasts.

 

The countryside behind Casablanca has plenty of scope for exploration, while just a few hours away, a thousand riches are available to those who enjoy discovery: from snow in the Atlas mountains to the deserts of the Great South, the empty beaches of the Atlantic to the architectural wonders of imperial cities like Rabat, Fes, and further afield, the colourful souks of Marrakech…

 

 

WHAT TO SEE IN CASABLANCA

 

Sites et Monuments

  • The Villa des Arts Museum.
  • Mohammed V Square.
  • Twin Center with its two 180 metre-high, 33-storey towers.
  • Sindibad children’s amusement park on the outskirts of the city, next to the beach.
  • Mohammed V Avenue, Boulevard 11 Janvier.
  • The central market.
  • The coast road and its beaches (Aïn Diab).
  • The Marabout de Sidi Abderrahman.
  • The Derb Ghallef (large, open-air flea market).

 

Parks

 

  • Arab League Park and Yasmina Park.

 

IN THE AREA

 

Parks

  • Bouskara Forest
  • Elouisia Forest

 

GASTRONOMY

 

Starters

  • Mechouia Salad: Salad made from tomatoes, cooked peppers, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice.
  • Salad with olives (meslalla), fennel, feggous (small, thin cucumbers), grated carrots sometimes flavoured with orange juice.

 

Soups

  • Bissara: broad bean soup.
  • Harira: soup made from tomatoes, flour, lentils or peas, served with pieces of meat.

 

Main Dishes

  • Couscous with vegetables, chicken, lamb or beef.
  • Pastilla: Meat pie made with crispy warqua pastry, minced pigeon or chicken, parsley, hard-boiled eggs, almonds and honey, sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.
  • Briouat: donut made from warqua pastry stuffed with ground meat, chicken, sausages, fish or almonds.
  • Tajine: stew of meat, poultry or fish with vegetables and fruit.
  • Kebabs and keftas (spicy meatballs), eaten with the famous flat round Moroccan bread, plain or flavoured with fennel seeds and caraway.
  • Mechoui, meat roasted on an open fire.

 

Desserts

  • Ka'b al ghzal or gazelle horns.
  • Briouat with honey and almonds.
  • Ghoriba with almonds or sesame seeds.
  • Bechkito: crispy butter cookies.
  • M’hanncha: coiled pastry sprinkled with cinnamon powder.
  • Shebbakia: fried strips of dough with warm honey and toasted sesame seeds.
  • Ktefa: milk pastilla, made from sheets of warqua pastry (flour paste and water) flavoured with orange blossom and almonds served with a little cold milk.
  • Orange salad flavoured with orange flower water and cinnamon.
  • Pancakes with honey and sesame seeds.

 

Drinks

  • Mint tea
  • Fresh fruit juices: orange, banana, avocado, almond milk...
  • Local Beer: Flag Special, Casablanca, Stork, Heineken.
  • Mahia: fig liquor.

 

UNMISSABLE EVENTS IN CASABLANCA

 

  • January 11: Anniversary of Independence.
  • May 31 to June 3: Boulevard of Young Musicians (live music).
  • July: Festival of Casablanca.
  • July 30: Enthronement Day.
  • August 20: Anniversary of the Revolution of the King and People.
  • Late October: Date harvest festival.
  • November 6: Anniversary of the Green March
  • November 18: Independence Day.


 

 

 

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  practical information

Today's weather

Currency
Dirham (MAD)

Dialling code
+00 212

Visa
Passport

Time zone
-1H in winter / -2H in summer

Flight time
2H30

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