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Monday, April 9, 2007
Casablanca is an Oscar-winning 1942 romantic film set during World War II in the Vichy-controlled Moroccan city of Casablanca. The film was directed by Michael Curtiz, and stars Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine and Ingrid Bergman as Ilsa Lund. It focuses on Rick's conflict between, in the words of one character, love and virtue: he must choose between his love for Ilsa and his need to do the right thing by helping her husband, Resistance hero Victor Laszlo, escape from Casablanca and continue his fight against the Nazis.The film was an immediate hit, and it has remained consistently popular ever since ...Stop, we are not here to talk about the movie go and buy dvd.... we are talking about the City...
If the Hollywood image of 'Casablanca' is important to you, prepare for a shock from Casablanca. The city is further away from Oriental romanticism than any other in Morocco, and Casablanca is a modern city — and beautiful in its own respect.Among the most visible aspects of Casablanca downtown/center are the wide boulevards flanked by white, usually tall buildings. The streets run out in all directions from the Place des Nations Unies (United Nations Square, former Place Mohammed V; built at the turn of the century and redesigned in the 1950s). This place is the central point of downtown Casablanca, and also the point where the modern town meets the medina. The main streets of Casablanca start here: Av. des Forces Armees Royales (FAR), Av. Moulay Hassan I, Av. Hassan II and Blvd. Mohammed V.
Time OffCasablanca is rapidly developing into a modern industrial success story. The largest city in Morocco, its centre is impressive, with large boulevards and tall, white, well-kept buildings. The old city is more reminiscent of the Casablanca of Bergman and Bogart; a much smaller area with older houses and a good market. Certain landmarks are particularly beautiful, such as the Hassan II Mosque, which is well worth a visit. Casablanca AttractionsHassan II Mosque Boulevard Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdallah, Casablanca This immense mosque was commissioned as a gift to King Hassan II for his 60th birthday in 1989. Inaugurated in 1993, it contains a museum, steam baths, a library, a Koranic school and conference facilities. The largest mosque outside Saudi Arabia it houses up to 25,000 worshippers. With a 175-metre (575-foot) minaret, it is the tallest religious structure in the world. An eastern-facing laser, on top of the minaret, indicates the direction of Mecca. Special guided tours are available for non-Muslims throughout the day. Old Medina Central Casablanca This is the original Arab town, partly enclosed by the old wall. It is a maze of narrow streets and whitewashed brick or stone houses, full of shops with everything imaginable for sale. The Port Central Casablanca Morocco's biggest and busiest port and one of the largest on the African continent. With a number of deepwater quays, the port abounds with shipping from oil tankers to cruise liners. Fishing is plentiful as are pleasure boats. Centre 2000, a large shopping complex, is worth visiting. Place Mohamed V Central Casablanca The heart of the city; the square is flanked by truly splendid French colonial architecture, housing a number of government and public offices, set around a central fountain that spurts jets of multicoloured water. New Medina South Casablanca This area, also known as the Quartier des Habous or 'District of Holy Men', is south of the city and was built by the French in an attempt to solve the housing problems of the 1930s. The endeavour to blend traditional Moroccan architecture with modern urban planning has proved to be surprisingly successful. The Marabout Casablanca This is one of many religious sites in Morocco, thought to be the burial place of holy men. These picturesque, white-domed tombs are a few miles outside the city, on a little rocky island just off the beach that can only be reached at low tide. Many pilgrims make their way here, as it is believed the site possesses great spiritual healing powers. Ville Nouvelle Casablanca This area offers some of the best examples of Mauresque architecture anywhere in the city. Borj Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdallah Casablanca This imposing 18th-century fort at the lower end of Old Medina was built to resist raids from the Portuguese. The Grand Mosque Casablanca Sultan Mohammed Ibn built this pretty 19th-century mosque to celebrate the recapture of Anfa from the Portuguese.