Casablanca

Last updated
Casablanca
City / State
Casablanca - Pelemele (03).jpg
Nickname(s): 
Casa
Morocco relief location map.jpg
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Casablanca
Location of Casablanca within Morocco
Africa relief location map.jpg
Red pog.svg
Casablanca
Casablanca (Africa)
Coordinates: 33°32′N7°35′W / 33.533°N 7.583°W / 33.533; -7.583
Country Flag of Morocco.svg  Morocco
Region Casablanca-Settat
First settled7th century BC
reconstructed1756
Government
  MayorAbdelaziz El Omari
Area
  City / State220 km2 (80 sq mi)
  Metro
20,166 km2 (7,786 sq mi)
Elevation
0 to 150 m (0 to 492 ft)
Population
(2014) [1]
  City / State3,359,818
  Rank 1st in Morocco
   Metro
6,861,739 [2]
Demonyms Casablancais
Casawis, bidawi
Time zone UTC+1 (CET)
Postal code
20000-20200
Website www.casablancacity.ma

Casablanca (Arabic : الدار البيضاء, translit.  ad-dār al-bayḍāʾ; Berber languages : ⴰⵏⴼⴰ, translit. anfa; local informal name: Kaẓa), located in the central-western part of Morocco and bordering the Atlantic Ocean, is the largest city in Morocco. It is also the largest city in the Maghreb region, as well as one of the largest and most important cities in Africa, both economically and demographically.

The romanization of Arabic writes written and spoken Arabic in the Latin script in one of various systematic ways. Romanized Arabic is used for a number of different purposes, among them transcription of names and titles, cataloging Arabic language works, language education when used in lieu of or alongside the Arabic script, and representation of the language in scientific publications by linguists. These formal systems, which often make use of diacritics and non-standard Latin characters and are used in academic settings or for the benefit of non-speakers, contrast with informal means of written communication used by speakers such as the Latin-based Arabic chat alphabet.

Berber languages Family of similar or closely related languages and dialects indigenous to North Africa

The Berber languages, also known as Berber or the Amazigh languages, are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family. They comprise a group of closely related languages spoken by the Berbers, who are indigenous to North Africa. The languages were traditionally written with the ancient Libyco-Berber script, which now exists in the form of Tifinagh.

Morocco Country in North Africa

Morocco, officially the Kingdom of Morocco, is a country located in the Maghreb region of North West Africa with an area of 710,850 km2 (274,460 sq mi). Its capital is Rabat, the largest city Casablanca. It overlooks the Mediterranean Sea to the north and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Morocco claims the areas of Ceuta, Melilla and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera, all of them under Spanish jurisdiction.

Contents

Casablanca is Morocco's chief port and one of the largest financial centers on the continent. According to the 2014 population estimate, the city has a population of about 3.35 million in the urban area and over 6.8 million in the Casablanca-Settat region. Casablanca is considered the economic and business center of Morocco, although the national political capital is Rabat.

Port maritime commercial facility

A port is a maritime commercial facility which may comprise one or more wharves where ships may dock to load and discharge passengers and cargo. Although usually situated on a sea coast or estuary, some ports, such as Hamburg, Manchester and Duluth, are many miles inland, with access from the sea via river or canal.

Urban area Human settlement with high population density and infrastructure of built environment

An urban area or urban agglomeration is a human settlement with high population density and infrastructure of built environment. Urban areas are created through urbanization and are categorized by urban morphology as cities, towns, conurbations or suburbs. In urbanism, the term contrasts to rural areas such as villages and hamlets and in urban sociology or urban anthropology it contrasts with natural environment. The creation of early predecessors of urban areas during the urban revolution led to the creation of human civilization with modern urban planning, which along with other human activities such as exploitation of natural resources leads to human impact on the environment.

Casablanca-Settat Region in Morocco

Casablanca-Settat is one of the twelve administrative regions of Morocco. It covers an area of 20,166 km² and recorded a population of 6,861,739 in the 2014 Moroccan census, 69% of which lived in urban areas. The capital of the region is Casablanca.

The leading Moroccan companies and many international corporations doing business in the country have their headquarters and main industrial facilities in Casablanca. Recent industrial statistics show Casablanca retains its historical position as the main industrial zone of the country. The Port of Casablanca is one of the largest artificial ports in the world, [3] and the second largest port of North Africa, after Tanger-Med 40 km (25 mi) east of Tangier. [4] Casablanca also hosts the primary naval base for the Royal Moroccan Navy.

Port of Casablanca port in Morocco

The Port of Casablanca refers to the collective facilities and terminals that conduct maritime trade handling functions in Casablanca's harbours and which handle Casablanca's shipping. The port is located at 33°36′N7°37′W near Hassan II Mosque.

North Africa Northernmost region of Africa

North Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Morocco in the west, to Egypt's Suez Canal and the Red Sea in the east. Others have limited it to top North-Western countries like Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia, a region that was known by the French during colonial times as "Afrique du Nord" and is known by all Arabs as the Maghreb. The most commonly accepted definition includes Algeria, Sudan, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, the 6 countries that shape the top North of the African continent. Meanwhile, "North Africa", particularly when used in the term North Africa and the Middle East, often refers only to the countries of the Maghreb and Libya. Egypt, being also part of the Middle East, is often considered separately, due to being both North African and Middle Eastern at the same time.

Tanger-Med

Tanger Med is a global logistics gateway located on the Strait of Gibraltar and connected to 174 ports worldwide with handling capacities of : 9 million containers, exports of 1 million new vehicles, transit of 7 million passengers and 700,000 trucks on an annual basis. Tanger Med constitutes an industrial hub for more than 800 companies representing a yearly export turnover in excess of 6 400 MEUR in various sectors such as automotive, aeronautics, logistics, textile and trade. shipping containers.

Etymology

The original name of Casablanca was Anfa, in Berber language, by at least the seventh century BC.[ citation needed ] After the Portuguese took control of the city in the 15th century AD, they rebuilt it, changing the name to Casa Branca ( [kazɐ'bɾɐ̃kɐ]). It derives from the Portuguese word combination meaning "White House" (branca "white", casa "house"). The present name, which is the Spanish version (pronounced  [kasaˈβlaŋka] ), came when the Portuguese kingdom was integrated in personal union to the Spanish kingdom. During the French protectorate in Morocco, the name remained Casablanca (pronounced  [kazablɑ̃ka] ). In 1755 an earthquake destroyed most of the town. It was rebuilt by Sultan Mohammed ben Abdallah who changed the name into the local Arabic which is Ad-dar Al Baidaa', although Arabic also has its own version of Casablanca (كازابلانكا, Kāzāblānkā). The city is still nicknamed Casa by many locals and outsiders to the city. In many other cities with a different dialect, it is called Ad-dar Al-Bida, instead.

Portuguese language Romance language that originated in Portugal

Portuguese is a Western Romance language originating in the Iberian Peninsula. It is the sole official language of Portugal, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Angola, and São Tomé and Príncipe. It also has co-official language status in East Timor, Equatorial Guinea and Macau in China. As the result of expansion during colonial times, a cultural presence of Portuguese and Portuguese creole speakers are also found in Goa, Daman and Diu in India; in Batticaloa on the east coast of Sri Lanka; in the Indonesian island of Flores; in the Malacca state of Malaysia; and the ABC islands in the Caribbean where Papiamento is spoken, while Cape Verdean Creole is the most widely spoken Portuguese-based Creole. Reintegrationists maintain that Galician is not a separate language, but a dialect of Portuguese. A Portuguese-speaking person or nation is referred to as "Lusophone" (Lusófono).

Spanish language Romance language

Spanish or Castilian is a Romance language that originated in the Castile region of Spain and today has hundreds of millions of native speakers in the Americas and Spain. It is a global language and the world's second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese.

History

Early history

The area which is today Casablanca was founded and settled by Berbers by at least the seventh century BC. [5] It was used as a port by the Phoenicians and later the Romans. [6] In his book Description of Africa, Leo Africanus refers to ancient Casablanca as "Anfa", a great city founded in the Berber kingdom of Barghawata in 744 AD. He believed Anfa was the most "prosperous city on the Atlantic Coast because of its fertile land." [7] Barghawata rose as an independent state around this time, and continued until it was conquered by the Almoravids in 1068. Following the defeat of the Barghawata in the 12th century, Arab tribes of Hilal and Sulaym descent settled in the region, mixing with the local Berbers, which led to widespread Arabization. [8] During the 14th century, under the Merinids, Anfa rose in importance as a port. The last of the Merinids were ousted by a popular revolt in 1465. [9]

<i>Description of Africa</i> (1550 book) 1550 book by Giovanni Battista Ramusio and Leo Africanus

Description of Africa, a largely firsthand geographical book, which was published under the title Della descrittione dell’Africa et delle cose notabili che ivi sono by Giovanni Battista Ramusio in his collection of travellers' accounts Delle navigationi e viaggi in Venice in 1550, contained the first detailed descriptions published in Europe of the Barbary Coast and the gold-trading kingdoms of west-central Africa. The book was dictated in Italian by Leo Africanus, the famed Moorish traveler and merchant who had been captured by pirates and sold as a slave. Presented, along with his book, to Pope Leo X, he was baptized and freed. Leo, whose name he took in baptism, suggested that he recast his Arabic work in Italian; it was completed in 1526. It was republished repeatedly by Ramusio in his Delle navigationi e viaggi, translated into French and into Latin for the erudite, both in 1556.

Leo Africanus Moroccan author

Joannes Leo Africanus was a Berber Andalusi diplomat and author who is best known for his book Descrittione dell’Africa centered on the geography of the Maghreb and Nile Valley. The book was regarded among his scholarly peers in Europe as the most authoritative treatise on the subject until the modern exploration of Africa. For this work, Leo became a household name among European geographers.

Barghawata ethnic group

The Barghawatas were a group of Berber tribes on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, belonging to the Masmuda confederacy. After allying with the Sufri Kharijite rebellion in Morocco against the Umayyad Caliphate, they established an independent state in the area of Tamesna on the Atlantic coast between Safi and Salé under the leadership of Tarif al-Matghari.

Portuguese conquest and Spanish influence

Casablanca in 1572, still called "Anfa" in this coloured engraving, although the Portuguese had already renamed it "Casa Branca" -- "White House" -- later Hispanicised to "Casablanca". Braun Anfa UBHD.jpg
Casablanca in 1572, still called "Anfa" in this coloured engraving, although the Portuguese had already renamed it "Casa Branca" -- "White House" -- later Hispanicised to "Casablanca".

In the early 15th century, the town became an independent state once again, and emerged as a safe harbour for pirates and privateers, leading to it being targeted by the Portuguese, who bombarded the town which led to its destruction in 1468. [10] The Portuguese used the ruins of Anfa to build a military fortress in 1515. The town that grew up around it was called Casa Branca, meaning "white house" in Portuguese.

Between 1580 and 1640, the Crown of Portugal was integrated to the Crown of Spain, so Casablanca and all other areas occupied by the Portuguese were under Spanish control, though maintaining an autonomous Portuguese administration. As Portugal broke ties with Spain in 1640, Casablanca came under fully Portuguese control once again. [11] The Europeans eventually abandoned the area completely in 1755 following an earthquake which destroyed most of the town. [12]

The town was finally reconstructed by Sultan Mohammed ben Abdallah (1756–1790), the grandson of Moulay Ismail and an ally of George Washington, with the help of Spaniards from the nearby emporium. The town was called الدار البيضاءad-Dār al-Bayḍāʼ, the Arabic translation of the Spanish Casa Blanca.

French conquest

In the 19th century, the area's population began to grow as it became a major supplier of wool to the booming textile industry in Britain and shipping traffic increased (the British, in return, began importing gunpowder tea, used in Morocco's national drink, mint tea). [13] By the 1860s, around 5,000 residents were there, and the population grew to around 10,000 by the late 1880s. [14] Casablanca remained a modestly sized port, with a population reaching around 12,000 within a few years of the French conquest and arrival of French colonialists in the town, at first administrators within a sovereign sultanate, in 1906. By 1921, this rose to 110,000, [15] largely through the development of shanty towns.

French rule and influence

Casablanca in 1930--seen from Boulevard de la Gare, now Muhammad El-Khamis Street Casa old.jpg
Casablanca in 1930—seen from Boulevard de la Gare, now Muhammad El-Khamis Street
Architecture of Casablanca, influenced by French styles Casa didier55 019.jpg
Architecture of Casablanca, influenced by French styles

In June 1907, the French attempted to build a light railway near the port and passing through a graveyard. As an act of resistance and protestation, the locals attacked the French, riots ensued, causing a few soldiers to be wounded and one general to be killed. In response, the French attacked by ship, bombarding the city from the coast, and landing troops inside the town, which caused severe damage to the town and 15,000 dead and wounded bodies. The French claimed that it was to restore order there. This effectively began the process of colonization, although French control of Casablanca was not formalised until 1910. Under the French rule, Muslim anti-Jewish riots occurred in 1908. [16]

The famous 1942 film Casablanca (starring Humphrey Bogart), although filmed entirely in Los Angeles, is supposed to have been set in Casablanca. The film underlined the city's colonial status at the time—depicting it as the scene of a power struggle between competing European powers. The film has a cast of characters from a variety of Western countries (US, France, Germany, Spain, Czechoslovakia, Norway, Austria, Bulgaria, Russia, and some others), though it does not feature a single Arab or North African character with a speaking role.

Europeans formed almost half the population of Casablanca. [17] During the 1940s and 1950s, Casablanca was a major centre of anti-French rioting. A bomb attack on 25 December 1953 (Christmas Day) caused 16 deaths. [18]

World War II

Immeuble Liberte, the first skyscraper in Africa, built in 1949 Immeuble Liberte a Casablanca.jpg
Immeuble Liberté, the first skyscraper in Africa, built in 1949

Operation Torch (initially called Operation Gymnast) was the British-American invasion of French North Africa during the North African campaign of World War II, which started on 8 November 1942.

The Americans attacked at three locations in French North Africa, one of the three being the landings at Casablanca because of its important port and the major administrative centres. [19]

Casablanca was an important strategic port during World War II and hosted the Casablanca Conference in 1943, in which Churchill and Roosevelt discussed the progress of the war. Casablanca was the site of a large American air base, which was the staging area for all American aircraft for the European Theater of Operations during World War II.

Since independence

Morocco gained independence from France in 1956. [20] In 1930, Casablanca hosted a Grand Prix, held at the new Anfa Racecourse. [21] In 1957 and 1958, the race was held at Ain-Diab circuit (see Moroccan Grand Prix). In 1983, Casablanca hosted the Mediterranean Games. [22] The city is now developing a tourism industry. Casablanca has become the economic and business capital of Morocco, while Rabat is the political capital.

In March 2000, more than 60 women's groups organized demonstrations in Casablanca proposing reforms to the legal status of women in the country. [23] About 40,000 women attended, calling for a ban on polygamy and the introduction of divorce law (divorce being a purely religious procedure at that time). Although the counter-demonstration attracted half a million participants, the movement for change started in 2000 was influential on King Mohammed VI, and he enacted a new mudawana , or family law, in early 2004, meeting some of the demands of women's rights activists. [24]

On 16 May 2003, 33 civilians were killed and more than 100 people were injured when Casablanca was hit by a multiple suicide bomb attack carried out by Moroccans and claimed by some to have been linked to al-Qaeda. Twelve suicide bombers struck five locations in the city. [25]

A string of suicide bombings struck the city in early 2007. A suspected militant blew himself up at a Casablanca internet café on 11 March 2007. [26] On 10 April, three suicide bombers blew themselves up during a police raid of their safe house. [27] Two days later, police set up barricades around the city and detained two more men who had escaped the raid. [28] On 14 April, two brothers blew themselves up in downtown Casablanca, one near the American Consulate, and one a few blocks away near the American Language Center. Only one person was injured aside from the bombers, but the Consulate was closed for more than a month.

As calls for reform spread through the Arab world in 2011, Moroccans joined in, but concessions by the ruler led to acceptance. However, in December, thousands of people demonstrated in several parts of the city, especially the city center near la Fontaine, desiring more significant political reforms.

Geography

Casablanca is located in the Chawiya Plain which has historically been the breadbasket of Morocco. [29] Apart from the Atlantic coast, the Bouskoura forest is the only natural attraction in the city. [30] The forest was planted in the 20th century and consists mostly of eucalyptus, palm, and pine trees. [31] It is located halfway to the city's international airport.

The only watercourse in Casablanca is oued Bouskoura, [32] a small seasonal creek that until 1912 reached the Atlantic Ocean near the actual port. Most of oued Bouskoura's bed has been covered due to urbanization and only the part south of El Jadida road can now be seen. The closest permanent river to Casablanca is Oum Rabia, 70 km (43.50 mi) to the south-east.

Climate

Casablanca has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csa). The cool Canary Current off the Atlantic coast moderates temperature variation, which results in a climate remarkably similar to that of coastal Los Angeles, with similar temperature ranges. The city has an annual average of 72 days with significant precipitation, which amounts to 412 mm (16.2 in) per year. The highest and lowest temperatures ever recorded in the city are 40.5 °C (104.9 °F) and −2.7 °C (27.1 °F), respectively. The highest amount of rainfall recorded in a single day is 178 mm (7.0 in) on 30 November 2010.

Climate data for Casablanca (1981–2010)
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Record high °C (°F)31.1
(88.0)
29.4
(84.9)
32.2
(90.0)
32.8
(91.0)
36.6
(97.9)
37.5
(99.5)
40.1
(104.2)
39.5
(103.1)
40.5
(104.9)
37.8
(100.0)
34.7
(94.5)
30.3
(86.5)
40.5
(104.9)
Average high °C (°F)17.3
(63.1)
18.0
(64.4)
19.6
(67.3)
20.2
(68.4)
21.9
(71.4)
24.1
(75.4)
25.8
(78.4)
26.3
(79.3)
25.7
(78.3)
23.8
(74.8)
20.9
(69.6)
18.7
(65.7)
21.9
(71.4)
Daily mean °C (°F)12.6
(54.7)
13.7
(56.7)
15.3
(59.5)
16.5
(61.7)
18.5
(65.3)
20.9
(69.6)
22.7
(72.9)
23.2
(73.8)
22.3
(72.1)
19.8
(67.6)
16.5
(61.7)
14.2
(57.6)
18.0
(64.4)
Average low °C (°F)9.2
(48.6)
10.4
(50.7)
11.8
(53.2)
13.2
(55.8)
15.6
(60.1)
18.7
(65.7)
20.5
(68.9)
20.9
(69.6)
19.7
(67.5)
16.8
(62.2)
13.3
(55.9)
11.1
(52.0)
15.1
(59.2)
Record low °C (°F)−1.5
(29.3)
−0.7
(30.7)
2.3
(36.1)
5.0
(41.0)
7.4
(45.3)
10.0
(50.0)
13.0
(55.4)
13.0
(55.4)
10.0
(50.0)
7.0
(44.6)
4.6
(40.3)
−2.7
(27.1)
−2.7
(27.1)
Average rainfall mm (inches)68
(2.7)
45
(1.8)
38
(1.5)
40
(1.6)
15
(0.6)
3
(0.1)
1
(0.0)
1
(0.0)
9
(0.4)
37
(1.5)
86
(3.4)
74
(2.9)
415
(16.3)
Average rainy days997862113791172
Average relative humidity (%)83838280798182838382828482
Mean monthly sunshine hours 189.6188.5240.7261.5293.6285.0303.4294.1258.1234.3190.6183.12,922.5
Source #1: Pogoda.ru.net [33]
Source #2: NOAA (sun, 1961–1990) [34]
Casablanca mean sea temperature [35]
JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
17.5 °C (63.5 °F)17.0 °C (62.6 °F)17.1 °C (62.8 °F)18.4 °C (65.1 °F)19.5 °C (67.1 °F)21.8 °C (71.2 °F)22.7 °C (72.9 °F)23.3 °C (73.9 °F)23.1 °C (73.6 °F)22.5 °C (72.5 °F)20.4 °C (68.7 °F)18.5 °C (65.3 °F)

Economy

Boulevard des FAR (Forces Armees Royales) CasablancaFAR.jpg
Boulevard des FAR (Forces Armées Royales)
Port of Casablanca Port of Casablanca.jpg
Port of Casablanca

The Grand Casablanca region is considered the locomotive of the development of the Moroccan economy. It attracts 32% of the country's production units and 56% of industrial labor. The region uses 30% of the national electricity production. With MAD 93 billion, the region contributes to 44% of the industrial production of the kingdom. About 33% of national industrial exportations, MAD 27 billion, comes from the Grand Casablanca; 30% of the Moroccan banking network is concentrated in Casablanca. [36]

One of the most important Casablancan exports is phosphate. Other industries include fishing, fish canning, sawmills, furniture production, building materials, glass, textiles, electronics, leather work, processed food, spirits, soft drinks, and cigarettes. [37]

The Casablanca and Mohammedia seaports activity represent 50% of the international commercial flows of Morocco. [38] Almost the entire Casablanca waterfront is under development, mainly the construction of huge entertainment centres between the port and Hassan II Mosque, the Anfa Resort project near the business, entertainment and living centre of Megarama, the shopping and entertainment complex of Morocco Mall, as well as a complete renovation of the coastal walkway. The Sindbad park is planned to be totally renewed with rides, games and entertainment services. [39]

Royal Air Maroc has its head office at the Casablanca-Anfa Airport. [40] In 2004, it announced that it was moving its head office from Casablanca to a location in Province of Nouaceur, close to Mohammed V International Airport. [41] The agreement to build the head office in Nouaceur was signed in 2009. [42]

The biggest CBD of Casablanca and Maghreb is in the North of the town in Sidi Maarouf near the mosque of Hassan II and the biggest project of skycrapers of Maghreb and Africa Casablanca Marina.

Administrative divisions

Casablanca is a commune, part of the region of Casablanca-Settat. The commune is divided into eight districts or prefectures, which are themselves divided into 16 subdivisions or arrondissements and one municipality. The districts and their subdivisions are: [43]

  1. Aïn Chock (عين الشق) – Aïn Chock (عين الشق)
  2. Aïn Sebaâ - Hay Mohammadi (عين السبع الحي المحمدي) – Aïn Sebaâ (عين السبع), Hay Mohammadi (الحي المحمدي), Roches Noires (روش نوار).
  3. Anfa (أنفا) – Anfa (أنفا), Maârif (المعاريف), Sidi Belyout (سيدي بليوط).
  4. Ben M'Sick (بن مسيك) – Ben M'Sick (بن مسيك), Sbata (سباته).
  5. Sidi Bernoussi (سيدي برنوصي) – Sidi Bernoussi (سيدي برنوصي), Sidi Moumen (سيدي مومن).
  6. Al Fida - Mers Sultan (الفداء – مرس السلطان) – Al Fida (الفداء); Mechouar (المشور) (municipality), Mers Sultan (مرس السلطان).
  7. Hay Hassani (الحي الحسني) – Hay Hassani (الحي الحسني).
  8. Moulay Rachid (مولاي رشيد) – Moulay Rachid (مولاي رشيد), Sidi Othmane (سيدي عثمان).

Neighborhoods

The list of neighborhoods is indicative and not complete:

Demographics

The commune of Casablanca recorded a population of 3,359,818 in the 2014 Moroccan census. [1] About 98% live in urban areas. Around 25% of them are under 15 and 9% are over 60 years old. The population of the city is about 11% of the total population of Morocco. Grand Casablanca is also the largest urban area in the Maghreb. 99.9% of the population of Morocco are Arab and Berber Muslims. [44] During the French protectorate in Morocco, European Christians formed almost half the population. [17] Since independence in 1956, the European population has decreased substantially.

Judaism in Casablanca

A Sephardic Jewish community was in Anfa up to the destruction of the city, by the Portuguese in 1468. Jews were slow to return to the town, but by 1750, the Rabbi Elijah Synagogue was built as the first Jewish synagogue in Casablanca. It was destroyed along with much of the town in the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. [5] Today, the Jewish cemetery of Casablanca is one of the major cemeteries of the city. The Moroccan Jewish Museum is a museum established in the city in 1997. It is the only museum devoted to Judaism in the Arab world (see also History of the Jews in Morocco).

Tourism

Casablanca is an average 3 hours flight from Europe and is home to a multitude of airlines, travel agencies and car rental companies. With its port and its marina, Casablanca is the first cruise port of the Kingdom.

Casablanca is the third largest touristic city in Morocco and people come mainly for business. Although the economic capital does not have the same attracting sites as Marrakech or Agadir, the city attracts its visitors by its attracting nightlife and the large variety of restaurants and bars.

Main sites

The French period Ville Nouvelle (New Town) of Casablanca was designed by the French architect Henri Prost, and was a model of a new town at that time. The main streets radiate south and east from Place des Nations Unies, previously the main market of Anfa. Former administrative buildings and modern hotels populate the area. Their style is a combination of Hispano-Moorish and Art Deco.

Casablanca is home to the Hassan II Mosque, designed by the French architect Michel Pinseau. It is situated on a promontory on the Atlantic Ocean. The mosque has room for 25,000 worshippers inside, and a further 80,000 can be accommodated in the mosque's courtyard. Its minaret is the world's tallest at 210 metres (690 feet). The mosque is also the largest in North Africa, and the third-largest in the world. [45]

Work on the mosque started in 1980, and was intended to be completed for the 60th birthday of the former Moroccan king, Hassan II, in 1989. However, the building was not inaugurated until 1993. Authorities spent an estimated $800 million in the construction of the building.

The Parc de la Ligue Arabe (formally called Lyautey) is the city's largest public park. On its edge is the Casablanca Cathedral (Cathédrale Sacré-Coeur). It is no longer in use for religious purposes, but it is open to visitors and a splendid example of Mauresque architecture. The Old Medina (the part of town antedating the French protectorate) attracts fewer tourists than the medinas of cities such as Fes and Marrakech. However, it has undergone some restoration in recent years. Included in this project have been the western walls of the medina, its skala, or bastion, and its colonial-period clock tower.

A popular site among locals is the small island Marabout de Sidi Abderrahmane. It is possible to walk across to the rocky island at low tide. This outcrop contains the tomb of Sidi Abderrhamane Thaalibi, a Sufi from Baghdad and the founder of Algiers. He is considered a saint in Morocco. [46] Because of this, many Moroccans make informal pilgrimages to this site "to reflect on life and to seek religious enlightenment". Some believe that the saint possessed magical powers, so his tomb still possesses these powers. People come and seek this magic to be cured. Non-Muslims may not enter the shrine.

Education

Colleges and universities

Public: University of Hassan II Casablanca

Private:

Primary and secondary schools

International schools:

Sports

Hosting

Casablanca staged the 1961 Pan Arab Games, the 1983 Mediterranean Games, and games during the 1988 Africa Cup of Nations. Morocco was scheduled to host the 2015 African Nations Cup, but decided to decline due to Ebola fears. Morocco was expelled and the tournament was held in Equatorial Guinea. [47]

Venues

The Grand Stade de Casablanca is the proposed title of the planned football stadium to be built in the city. Once completed in 2014, it will be used mostly for football matches and will serve as the home of Raja Casablanca, Wydad Casablanca, and the Morocco national football team. The stadium was designed with a capacity of 93,000 spectators, making it one of the highest-capacity stadiums in Africa. Once completed, it will replace the Stade Mohamed V. The initial idea of the stadium was for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, for which Morocco lost their bid to South Africa. Nevertheless, the Moroccan government supported the decision to go ahead with the plans. It will be completed in 2025. The idea of the stadium was also for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, for which Morocco lost their bid to Canada, Mexico and United States. It is now hoping for the 2030 FIFA World Cup which Morocco is co-bidding with either African neighbors Tunisia and Algeria or two European nations Spain and Portugal

Association football

Casablanca is home to two popular football clubs, Wydad Casablanca [48] and Raja Casablanca. [49] Raja's symbol is an eagle and Wydad's symbol is a goose. These two popular clubs have produced some of Morocco's best players, such as: Salaheddine Bassir, Abdelmajid Dolmy, Baddou Zaki, Aziz Bouderbala, and Noureddine Naybet. Other football teams on top of these two major teams based in the city of Casablanca include Rachad Bernoussi, TAS de Casablanca, Majd Al Madina, and Racing Casablanca.

Tennis

Casablanca hosts The Grand Prix Hassan II, a professional men's tennis tournament of the ATP tour. It first began in 1986, and is played on clay courts type at Complexe Al Amal.

Notable winners of the Hassan II Grand-Prix are Thomas Muster in 1990, Hicham Arazi in 1997, Younes El Aynaoui in 2002, and Stanislas Wawrinka in 2010.

Transport

Casablanca tramway Casablanca Tramway.jpg
Casablanca tramway

Tram

The Casablanca tramway is the rapid transit tram system in Casablanca. The route is 31 km (19 mi) long, with 49 stops, and Y-shaped; further lines are planned. [50]

Air

Casablanca's main airport is Mohammed V International Airport, Morocco's busiest airport. Regular domestic flights serve Marrakech, Rabat, Agadir, Oujda, Tangier, Al Hoceima, and Laayoune, as well as other cities.

Casablanca is well-served by international flights to Europe, especially French and Spanish airports, and has regular connections to North American, Middle Eastern and sub-Saharan African destinations. New York City, Montreal, Paris, Washington D.C., London and Dubai are important primary destinations.

The older, smaller Casablanca-Anfa Airport to the west of the city, served certain destinations including Damascus, and Tunis, and was largely closed to international civilian traffic in 2006. It has been closed and destroyed to build the "Casablanca Finance City", the new heart of the city of Casablanca. Casablanca Tit Mellil Airport is located in the nearby community of Tit Mellil.

Coaches

CTM coaches (intercity buses) and various private lines run services to most notable Moroccan towns, as well as a number of European cities. These run from the Gare Routière on Rue Léon l'Africain in downtown Casablanca.

Metro

See also: Casablanca RER or Casablanca metro

Since the 1970s, Casablanca had planned to build a metro system to offer some relief to the problems of traffic congestion and poor air quality. [51] [52] However, the city council voted to abandon the metro project in 2014 due to high costs, and decided to continue expanding the already operating tram system instead. [53]

Taxis

Registered taxis in Casablanca are coloured red and known as petit taxis (small taxis), or coloured white and known as grands taxis (big taxis). As is standard Moroccan practice, petits taxis, typically small-four door Dacia Logan, Peugeot 207, or similar cars, provide metered cab service in the central metropolitan areas. Grands taxis, generally older Mercedes-Benz sedans, provide shared mini-bus like service within the city on predefined routes, or shared intercity service. Grands taxis may also be hired for private service by the hour or day.

Trains

Casablanca is served by three principal railway stations run by the national rail service, the ONCF.

Casa-Voyageurs is the main intercity station, from which trains run south to Marrakech or El Jadida and north to Mohammedia and Rabat, and then on either to Tangier or Meknes, Fes, Taza and Oujda/Nador. A dedicated airport shuttle service to Mohammed V International Airport also has its primary in-city stop at this station, for connections on to further destinations.

Casa-Port railway station CasablancaTrainStation.jpg
Casa-Port railway station

Casa-Port serves primarily commuter trains such as the Train Navette Rapide (TNR or Aouita) operating on the Casablanca – Kenitra rail corridor, with some connecting trains running on to Gare de Casa-Voyageurs. The station provides a direct interchange between train and shipping services, and is located near several port-area hotels. It is the nearest station to the old town of Casablanca, and to the modern city centre, around the landmark Casablanca Twin Center. Casa-Port station is being rebuilt in a modern and enlarged configuration. During the construction, the station is still operational. From 2013, it will provide a close connection from the rail network to the city's new tram network.

Casa-Oasis was originally a suburban commuter station which was fully redesigned and rebuilt in the early 21st century, and officially reopened in 2005 as a primary city rail station. Owing to its new status, all southern intercity train services to and from Casa-Voyageurs now call at Casa-Oasis. ONCF stated in 2005 that the refurbishment and upgrading of Casa-Oasis to intercity standards was intended to relieve passenger congestion at Casa-Voyageurs station.

Notable people

Merieme Chadid led an international scientific program to install a major astronomical observatory in Antarctica. Merieme Chadid.jpg
Merieme Chadid led an international scientific program to install a major astronomical observatory in Antarctica.
Casablanca, an American romantic drama film directed by Michael Curtiz Casablanca, title.JPG
Casablanca, an American romantic drama film directed by Michael Curtiz

International relations

See also List of twin towns and sister cities in Morocco

Twin towns – sister cities

Casablanca is twinned with:

See also

Related Research Articles

Marrakesh Prefecture-level city in Marrakesh-Safi, Morocco

Marrakesh is a major city of the Kingdom of Morocco. It is the fourth largest city in the country, after Casablanca, Fez and Tangier. It is the capital city of the mid-southwestern region of Marrakesh-Safi. Located to the north of the foothills of the snow-capped Atlas Mountains, Marrakesh is situated 580 km (360 mi) southwest of Tangier, 327 km (203 mi) southwest of the Moroccan capital of Rabat, 239 km (149 mi) south of Casablanca, and 246 km (153 mi) northeast of Agadir.

Mohammed V International Airport airport in Morocco

Mohammed V International Airport is an international airport serving Casablanca, Morocco. Located in Nouaceur Province, it is operated by ONDA. With just under 8 million passengers passing through the airport in 2014, it was the busiest airport in Morocco and the fourth busiest in Africa. In August 2014, ONDA reported a year-on-year increase of 7.28% passenger traffic, to 918,238. The airport serves as hub for Royal Air Maroc, Jetairfly, Air Arabia Maroc and RAM Express. It is named after King Mohammed V of Morocco.

Mohammedia Place in Casablanca-Settat, Morocco

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Anfa District of Casablanca in Casablanca-Settat, Morocco

Anfa was the ancient toponym for Casablanca during the classical period. The city was founded by Berbers around the 10th century BC, with the Romans under Augustus later establishing the commercial port of "Anfus" in 15 BC. Anfus is now the name of a district in the oldest part of Casablanca, located in the Casablanca-Settat region of Morocco. The district covers an area of 37.5 square kilometres, and as of 2004 had 492,787 inhabitants.

Sidi Moumen Arrondissement of Casablanca in Casablanca-Settat, Morocco

Sidi Moumen is an arrondissement and northeastern suburb of Casablanca, in the Sidi Bernoussi district of the Casablanca-Settat region of Morocco. As of 2004 it had 289,253 inhabitants. It contains shanty towns from where the terrorists of the 2003 and 2007 Casablanca bombings came, mainly from Karian Thoma.

History of Casablanca

The history of the city of Casablanca in Morocco has been one of many political and cultural changes. At different times it has been governed by Berber, Roman, Arab, Portuguese, Spanish, French, British, and Moroccan regimes. It has had an important position in the region as a port city, making it valuable to a series of conquerors during its early history.

Sports in Morocco refers to the sports played in the Kingdom of Morocco. As of 2007, Moroccan society participated in many sports, including handball, football, golf, tennis, basketball, and athletics. Hicham El Guerrouj, a retired middle distance runner for Morocco, won two gold medals for Morocco at the Athletics at the 2004 Summer Olympics.

Casa Air Service is a Moroccan airline. In 1995 it began to offer private air transport services. For 40 years prior to that, it was involved in agricultural air services.

Sidi Belyout Arrondissement of Casablanca in Casablanca-Settat, Morocco

Sidi Belyout is an arrondissement of Casablanca, in the Anfa district of the Casablanca-Settat region of Morocco. As of 2004 it had 218,918 inhabitants.

Casablanca–Anfa Airport airport in Morocco

Casablanca–Anfa Airport was an airport in Morocco (IATA: CAS, ICAO: GMMC), located about 6 kilometres (4 mi) southwest of Casablanca. Anfa Airport was one of three airports serving the Casablanca area, the others being the newer and larger Mohammed V International Airport and the Casablanca Tit Mellil Airport.

Nouaceur is a province in the Moroccan region of Casablanca-Settat. Its population in 2004 was 236,119. Its major town is Bouskoura, although the administrative centre is Nouaceur.

Casablanca Tramway tram system

The Casablanca Tramway is a low-floor tram system in Casablanca, Morocco. It is the second tram system in Morocco, after the Rabat-Salé tramway, but is longer and has more stations. As of 2017, it consists of one 31 kilometre Y-shaped line with 48 stops, connecting Sidi Moumen in the east with Ain Diab and the Facultés district in the west. A 22 kilometre extension is scheduled to open in 2018 with more lines planned.

The Casablanca Metro was a public transport project dating from the 1970s in Casablanca, Morocco. It was designed to address the need for public transport in Casablanca, which suffers from traffic congestion caused by the city's growth. The project was abandoned and then reopened several times, most recently in 2013, when the city announced that it will build a 15-kilometer long metro line above ground, connecting the city's Sidi Moumen neighbourhood with the Boulevard de la Corniche near the Hassan II Mosque. However, on June 30, 2014, the Casablanca city council decided to abandon the metro project due to high costs; instead, the city will focus on expanding its existing tram lines.

Sidi Bernoussi District of Casablanca in Casablanca-Settat, Morocco

Sidi Bernoussi is a district and suburb of northeastern Casablanca, in the Casablanca-Settat region of Morocco. The district covers an area of 38.59 square kilometres and as of 2010 had 503,522 inhabitants. It contains the football club Rachad Bernoussi, established in 1961.

Sidi Bernoussi (arrondissement) Arrondissement of Casablanca in Casablanca-Settat, Morocco

Sidi Bernoussi is an arrondissement and northeastern suburb of Casablanca, in the Sidi Bernoussi district of the Casablanca-Settat region of Morocco. As of 2004 it had 165,324 inhabitants.

Sidi Boulaalam Rural commune and town in Marrakesh-Safi, Morocco

Sidi Boulaalam is a small town and rural commune in Essaouira Province, Marrakesh-Safi, Morocco. It is about 145 kilometres (90 mi) southwest of Casablanca, north of Route 207, along Route 2202 between Sidi Aissa Regragui to the northwest and Route 2200 to Tafetachte.

The following is a timeline of the history of the city of Casablanca, Morocco.

The following is a timeline of the history of the city of Rabat, Morocco.

Moroccan license plates match in size and appearance to a large extent the European license plates and usually show black text on a white background.

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Coordinates: 33°32′N7°35′W / 33.533°N 7.583°W / 33.533; -7.583