Casablanca is the economic capital of Morocco, and it is also the country's largest city. Almost 4 million people call this modern Moroccan metropolis home, and many are second or first generation residents who came looking for a better life. Unfortunately, many residents who don't manage to succeed end up in the shantytowns, which surround the main city. The thriving cosmopolitan core is where most travelers confine themselves on Casablanca vacations, and while this downtown area is relatively hectic, it is also quite invigorating. In this largest city in the country, women mix more freely with men, and the veil has all but become a thing of the past. Casablanca exhibits a decidedly European vibe, and while some travelers might dismiss it in favor of more ancient cities, it can be a refreshing place to spend some time, not to mention gain some insight into the Morocco of today.
It wasn't until the mid-1800s that the Casablanca that travelers see today really started to take shape. During this time, the fertile valleys surrounding the city attracted European nations such as Spain and France, who were looking to add to their wool and grain supplies. Casablanca started to transform itself from a town into a verifiable city once this period of increased trade began. In 1912, Morocco became a protectorate of France, and Casa, as the country's largest city is known, got a facelift. The French, who were determined to make Casablanca an economic hub, built wide boulevards, and their modern approach to the overall design helps to set the city apart from the country's other urban destinations. Strolling along the wide avenues and taking in the city's attractive architecture is one of the top things to do in Casablanca, and the French influence has also left an imprint on the local dining scene.
Casablanca offers a healthy collection of fine restaurants, and thanks to the city's international appeal, the range of cuisines is quite impressive. Seafood lovers are bound to enjoy Casablanca vacations, as the city enjoys a prime coastal location. In addition to visiting the restaurants at the city's large port, visitors who want to enjoy some of the best seafood available will also want to pay Ain Diab a visit. This affluent suburb, which can be found on the coast to the west of the city center, is Casablanca's entertainment hub, and it is also an ideal place to dine on fresh seafood. There are lots of great restaurants in Ain Diab, and when visitors aren't dining, they can enjoy some beach time. Bars line the beach, making Ain Diab a nightlife hot spot as well.
Casablanca travel can be full of rewarding pursuits, and when visitors aren't having some fun in Ain Diab, exploring the downtown area can be an excellent way to spend some time. Casablanca lacks considerable landmarks, though it did receive a massive mosque in 1993. Perched on a rocky outcrop overlooking the sea, the immense Hassan II Mosque tops the list of attractions in Casablanca, and it is hard to miss when exploring the downtown area. This mosque, which is the third-largest mosque in the world, is nothing if it isn't impressive. Save for Venetian glass, the materials that were used to build the Hassan II Mosque came from Morocco. They include granite from Tafraoute and marble from Agadir. Guided tours of this dazzling religious monument are available in a range of languages, including English, and only travelers who book one of these one-hour tours will get to see the mosque's interior.
Hanging out in the hip and trendy suburb of Ain Diab and visiting the Hassan II Mosque are usually what Casablanca vacations are all about. Many visitors also look to take in some of the city's Art Deco architecture. A stop at the Museum of Moroccan Judaism is also worth considering when making Casablanca travel plans. The Art Deco buildings in Casablanca are actually of the Mauresque style, which blends French and Moroccan designs. Many of the best examples can be found in and around the area of Mohammed V Boulevard, which is a pedestrian-only section of rue Prince Moulay Abdellah. Much like Casablanca's Art Deco buildings, the Museum of Moroccan Judaism can help visitors get in touch with the city's history. Found just three miles from downtown Casablanca in the suburb of Oasis, this unique museum highlights the longstanding relationship between Morocco's Islamic and Jewish faiths.
The tourist attractions in Casablanca might be limited, but this city is not to be missed on Morocco vacations. Casablanca travel gives Morocco visitors a better idea about where the country is headed, and its modern appeal truly helps to set it apart from the country's other cities. After visiting some of Morocco's more ancient destinations, enjoying some modern exposure in Casablanca can be especially delightful. There are lots of good Casablanca hotels to choose from, some of the best of which can be found in Ain Diab and in the downtown core, so travelers shouldn't have trouble finding somewhere to stay when in town.