The city of Casablanca is far from being the most interesting Moroccan city to stay in. Unlike many Moroccan cities, it does not have a long and rich history and its architectural heritage is, all in all, relatively recent. Exactly ! People do not come to Casablanca especially to visit the traditional medina but rather to admire a modern city which delighted lovers of early 20th century architecture, like the place Mohammed V. Although relatively “young”, the city ​​is far from devoid of cultural interest. The Hassan II Mosque is definitely worth a look.

The medina: Completely destroyed during the Lisbon earthquake in 1755, the Casablanca medina was rebuilt in 1770 by Sultan Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdallah, the charm of a Casablanca medina lies in the life that takes place there only in the beauty of the decor. In this regard, you will surely enjoy strolling through this labyrinth of alleys bordered by traders’ stalls and artisan workshops. Surrounded by a very simple wall, the old medina of Casablanca contrasts sharply with the modern architecture of the new city. From the United Nations Square where the medina opens its doors. About 400m northeast of the square, you will come to the Great Mosque. A stone’s throw away, you will find the Kouba Sidi Bou Smara and its very pleasant little square, from there the wall over 500m to discover the small square of Sqala where stands the sanctuary of the 1st patron saint of the city, Sidi el Kairouani. Now that you have seen most of the medina.

Place Mohamed V: Built in 1920 under the French protectorate, Place Mohammed V is the true heart of the modern city. It’s hard to miss because it is located 300m south of the United Nations Square, right next to the large Arab League park. Like the city, this square is an architectural model harmoniously blending modern and traditional influences. Consulate of France, Palace of Justice, Prefecture, Post Office and Bank of Morocco nicely border the Place Mohammed V, recalling the work of Marshal Lyautey. The latter is in the spotlight with his famous equestrian statue located behind the gates of the French Consulate. First Resident General of the French Republic, he decided to make Casablanca the economic center of the country by developing the port and developing the modern city. The city owes him a lot since its spectacular development still continues. To the west of the square, a monumental fountain was built in 1976. At certain times, especially in the evening, you can admire the superb sound and light show where jets of water in the colors of the rainbow dance. against a background of Arab and foreign music. Finally, the Arab League Park is located right next to the square. Largest park in Casablanca, it offers calm and rest in a most pleasant green setting. The inhabitants of Casablanca like to pass there to forget for a moment the noise of the city.

Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes Church: Built in the 1950s in Casablanca, Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes Church is one of the few places of Catholic worship in a predominantly Muslim country. Seen from the outside, the church doesn’t look very impressive, but once inside, more than 800 square meters of stained-glass windows open to the eyes of stunned visitors. Made by Gabriel Loire, one of the greatest French master glassmakers, they are distinguished by finely crafted details and a host of colors.

Place de la ligue Arabe: The Parc de la Ligue Arabe has a privileged location as it stretches from the old Medina to the Maârif district, and from Boulevard Brahim Roudani to Boulevard Hassan II. For almost a century, the population has gathered there to enjoy a family picnic, a stroll with friends or simply to breathe a little, far from the hustle and bustle of the nearby Medina. Formerly known as Jardin Lyautey, the Arab League Park was founded in 1919, based on designs by architect Albert Laprade. During the protectorate, European quarters developed around this park, filled with plants brought back from the French colonies in Asia, Africa and Latin America. It is said that it was made by a contingent of German prisoners who dug the two large trenches where, until today, the famous date palms are planted, which represent the main interest and all the splendor of this green space. Another rumor goes that the place originally housed a military camp, then evacuated to make way for this French garden where mixed in harmony, a multitude of plantations, but also many arcade games and terraces. of coffees. At the time, the garden was the meeting place for local residents, who took advantage of the sunlight and the shade of the palm trees to play cards or discuss the latest news. Currently it is closed for development with the program of urban development whose agreement has been signed: the elimination of Yasmina park in favor of the expansion of the Arab League park. The space will eventually be equipped with two large pools and several dry fountains. It will also have an underground car park with a capacity of 700 spaces. Finally, it is also planned to install new street furniture (benches, bins), several playgrounds and sports fields. Thus, before long, the park should be able to relive its golden age peacefully and regain a deserved prestige. This more than engaging initiative shows the willingness of the city and the people of Casablanca to conserve these key spaces, symbols of both their present and their future, and their past.

United Nations Square: This is the city center of Casablanca, United Nations Square was also called “Place Mohammed V” or “Place de France”. It was fitted out by Henri Prost in 1915 and served as a link between the old medina and the city center which symbolized the economic business district. It has undergone several developments, the most important of which took place in the 1970s by the French architect Jean François Zevaco who designed the underground passage and the dome. A rapidly changing market, the objective is to make this square a real multimodal hub (tourist bus-bus-tram).

Hassan II Mosque of Casablanca: The Hassan II Mosque is the largest religious building in the world, just after the Mosque of Mecca. Completed in 1993, this monument is the result of a skilful blend of traditional craftsmanship and high technology. Located to the north of the city, the mosque was built 2/3 over the ocean, a sort of mosque on stilts, a feat worthy of a monument of this importance. Please note: this mosque is one of the few Moroccan mosques open to non-Muslims. The minaret of the mosque is the highest in the world and culminates at 200m, twice the height of Notre Dame de Paris. Never will a muezzin have been closer to Allah during his lifetime! At the top of the minaret, two lasers with a range of 30 km are constantly aimed at Mecca. The building is truly titanic! More than 100,000 faithful can come to pray, including 25,000 inside the mosque and 80,000 on the huge outdoor plaza. Besides gigantic proportions, the Hassan II Mosque is a showcase for Moroccan craftsmanship. Although the architect and the master builder are French, respectively Michel Pinseau and Bouygues, the mosque was designed with the concern of harmoniously blending modernism and Moroccan architecture. During the 5 years of work, tens of thousands of artisans from the country collaborated actively. The best expressed their talent in the superb interior decoration of the mosque. The frescoes, zelliges, Venetian stucco and carved cedar wood contribute to the prestige of the monument. Another surprise, the roof of the mosque rests on a slide. We can therefore open the roof of the mosque in hot weather in just 3 minutes. In addition, the mosque includes a library, a Koranic school, a museum and several conference rooms. Finally, this splendid mosque was desired by the late King Hassan II himself, who wanted to show the whole world the face of modern Morocco. Perhaps he also wanted to make history and ensure that his name would not be forgotten, like his Alawite ancestors, recognized as great builders, this superb mosque gives Casablanca a spiritual dimension. and artistic that she didn’t have before.