Casablanca Travel Guide
Casablanca © David Lisbona
Just looking at the city, there's no need to guess where the port-city of Casablanca, meaning 'white house' in Spanish, got its name. Made famous by the classic 1942 Humphrey Bogart movie of the same name, this cosmopolitan, white-walled city is Morocco's largest and probably its least endearing; although under the hustle and bustle and slight seediness lies a unique and charismatic history waiting to be discovered.
Founded by Berber fisherman in the 10th century BC, Casablanca was used by the Phoenicians, Romans and Merenids as a port. The Portuguese then took over but after destroying the city and rebuilding it, they abandoned it in 1755 after an earthquake. The city went on to be rebuilt as Daru l-Badya (the Arabic name) by a Moroccan sultan, and was given the name Casablanca by the Spanish traders who used the port.
Casablanca is unlike any other Moroccan city. Many women ditch the conservative clothing and dress themselves in the latest designer gear, while men flirt shamelessly with them. This trend toward modernity has worked out for some, it has also had some very negative effects on Casablanca - widespread urban poverty has led to crime, drugs and prostitution, and evidence of this can be seen in the slums on the outskirts of the city.
A trip to Casablanca - untraditional and plain as this city may be - is a must for anyone wanting to experience the 'full picture' of what contemporary Morocco has to offer.
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