Casablanca Tourism: Sights and Attractions
Considering its sheer size, Casablanca is rather lacking in sights in the traditional sense of the word.
This has prompted the late King, Hassan II, to construct a building that is now regarded as the mother of all Moroccan sights – The Hassan II Mosque. The town is also home to the Jewish Museum, the only one of its kind in the Muslim World.
However, the true delight in Casablanca remains a quiet stroll in the city centre amongst its colonial buildings styled in the unique Mauresque and Art Deco architecture.
Hassan II Mosque
The epic Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca is one of the most striking landmarks of post-independence Morocco. It is the third largest mosque in the world and boasts the highest-minaret anywhere in the Muslim world.
The mosque is the legacy of the late King Hassan II to Casablanca and modern Morocco. A truly phenomenal undertaking the complex was designed by the French architect Michel Pinseau and employed close to 6000 artisans! The mosque provides space for 25,000 worshippers and a further 80,000 in the courtyard. The soaring minaret, standing at 200 metres high, is the tallest structure in the country and the tallest minaret in the world.
Despite the French-looking exterior of the mosque, the interior is all Moroccan: marble was brought in from Agadir, cedar from the Middle Atlas and granite from Tafraoute. Most of the work was undertaken by master craftsmen producing beautiful tile work, wood carving and stucco moulding.
The Mosque is one of the very few Muslim religious sites open to visitor. A guided tour is available daily with an admission fee of 100dh (50dh for students).
Casablanca’s Colonial Architecture
The city centre of Casablanca is formal and modern, yet seems to belong to a distant past. Most the buildings here have been built by the French from 1912 to the early 1930s and are characteristic of a new style of architecture that is unique to Casablanca.
This style is the combination of modern European styles and traditional Moroccan designs. Dubbed Mauresque, “Neo Moorish” or Mauresque and Art Deco, this style had a huge influence on later Mauresque architecture with trademarks such as wrought-iron windows and balconies and floral and geometric designs on stuccoed pediments.
The best way to take in Casablanca’s unique colonial architectural heritage is to simply take a stroll through the centre of town. Examples of fine colonial Mauresque architecture can be found in Boulevard Mohammed V and Place Mohammed V and around.
The Jewish Museum
The Jewish Museum in Casablanca is the only Jewish Museum not only in Morocco but the whole Muslim world.
It is an importance resource that demonstrates the importance of the Jewish heritage throughout Moroccan history.
The Museum is housed in a bright, modern building in the suburb of Oasis, five kilometers south of Casablanca. It exhibits ancient Moroccan Jewish books and scrolls, traditional costumes and sacramental items. You will also find photographs of ancient Jewish cemeteries, synagogues – such as Ibn Dannan in Fez and Ifrane in the Anti-Atlas – and Jewish holy sites throughout Morocco.
The Jewish Museum of Casablanca is located at 81, Rue Chasseur Jules Gros, just out of town. Open Monday to Fridays from 11:00 to 17:00, admission is 30dh.