Casablanca

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This article is about the city. For the 1942 film, see Casablanca (film). For other uses, see Casablanca (disambiguation).
Casablanca
ⴰⵏⴼⴰ
City
Flag of Casablanca
Flag
Casablanca is located in Morocco
Casablanca
Casablanca
Coordinates: 33°32′N 7°35′W / 33.533°N 7.583°W / 33.533; -7.583
Country Morocco
Administrative region Grand Casablanca
First settled 7th century BC
reconstructed 1756
Government
 • Mayor Mohammed Sajid
Area
 • City 387 km2 (149 sq mi)
 • Metro 1,615 km2 (624 sq mi)
Elevation 0–130 m (0-430 ft)
Population (2013)
 • City 4,150,000
 • Rank 1st in Morocco
 • Metro 5,000,000
Demonym Bedawa
Racial makeup
 • Arabs 62.1%
 • Berbers 24.7%
 • Moriscos 10.5%
 • Black African/Asian 1.7%
 • European/Jews 1.0%
Time zone WET (UTC+0)
 • Summer (DST) WEST (UTC+1)
Postal code 20000-20200
Website www.casablanca.ma

Casablanca (/ˌkæsəˈblæŋkə/;[1] Moroccan Arabic pronunciation: [kɑzɑblɑnkɑ], also الدار البيضاء ed-Dar el-Biḍa  lit: "White house"), the largest city of Morocco, is located in the western part of the country on the Atlantic Ocean. It is also the largest city in the Maghreb, as well as one of the largest and most important cities in Africa, both economically and demographically.

Casablanca is Morocco's chief port and industrial center. The 2012 census, adjusted with recent numbers, recorded a population of about 4 million in the prefecture of Casablanca and about 5 million in the region of Grand Casablanca. Casablanca is considered the economic and business center of Morocco, while the national political capital is Rabat.

The leading Moroccan companies and international corporations doing business there 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,[2] and the largest port of North Africa.[3] It is also the primary naval base for the Royal Moroccan Navy.

Etymology[edit]

The Latinized name of the city is a Portuguese word combination meaning "White house" (branca "white", casa "house"). The modern Spanish version of the name came later. The city is now nicknamed Casa by many locals.

Anfa is generally considered the "original city" or "old city" of Casablanca; it is legally a prefecture (district) with half a million city inhabitants, and thus is part of the Grand Casablanca region.

History[edit]

Early history[edit]

The area which is today Casablanca was founded and settled by Berbers by at least the 7th century BC.[4] It was used as a port by the Phoenicians and later the Romans.[5] In his book Wasf Afriquia, Al-Hassan al-Wazzan refers to ancient Casablanca as "Anfa", a great city founded in the Berber kingdom of Barghawata in 744 AD. He believed Casablanca was the most "prosperous city on the Atlantic coast because of its fertile land."[6] Barghawata rose as an independent state around this time, and continued until it was conquered by the Almoravids in 1068.

During the 14th century, under the Merinids, Anfa rose in importance as a port. The last of the Merinids was ousted by a popular revolt in 1465.[7]

Portugal conquest and Iberian influence[edit]

Casablanca in 1572, still called Anfa on this painting, by the time the Portuguese renamed it "Casa Branca" which would eventually became 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 destroyed the town in 1468.[8] 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 and the Crown of Spain were held by the same kings and therefore Casablanca and all other areas occupied by the Portuguese were under Spanish control, even though maintaining an autonomous Portuguese administration. As Portugal broke ties with the Spanish king in 1640, Casablanca came under fully Portuguese control once again.[9] The Europeans eventually abandoned the area completely in 1755 following an earthquake which destroyed most of the town.[10]

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

French conquest[edit]

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 Morocco's now famous national drink, gunpowder tea).[11] By the 1860s, there were around 5,000 residents, and the population grew to around 10,000 by the late 1880s.[12] 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 was to rise to 110,000,[13] largely through the development of shanty towns.

French rule and influence[edit]

Casablanca in 1930
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. Residents attacked the French, and riots ensued. French troops were landed in order to restore order, which was achieved only after severe damage to the town. The French then took control of Casablanca. This effectively began the process of colonization, although French control of Casablanca was not formalised until 1910. Under the French rule, there were Muslim Anti Jewish riots in 1908.[14]

The famous 1942 film Casablanca 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 cosmopolitan cast of characters (American, French, German, Italian, Czech, Norwegian, Austrian, Bulgarian, Russian and some other nationalities).

Europeans formed almost half the population.[15] During the 1940s and 1950s, Casablanca was a major centre of anti-French rioting. A bomb attack on Christmas Day of 1953 caused many casualties.[16]

World War II[edit]

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 different locations in French North Africa, one of the three being the landings at Casablanca because of its important ports and the major administrative centers.[17]

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[edit]

In October 1930, Casablanca hosted a Grand Prix, held at the new Anfa Racecourse.[18] In 1958, the race was held at Ain-Diab circuit (see Moroccan Grand Prix). Morocco gained independence from France on 2 March 1956.[19] In 1983, Casablanca hosted the Mediterranean Games.[20] 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.[21] Forty thousand 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.[22]

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. 12 suicide bombers struck five locations in the city.[23]

A string of suicide bombings struck the city in early 2007. A suspected militant blew himself up at a Casablanca internet cafe on 11 March 2007.[24] On 10 April, three suicide bombers blew themselves up during a police raid of their safe house.[25] Two days later, police set up barricades around the city and detained two more men who had escaped the raid.[26] 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 and climate[edit]

The Corniche of Casablanca
Sunset in Casablanca

Casablanca is located in the Chawiya plain which has historically been the breadbasket of Morocco.[27] Apart from the Atlantic coast, the Bouskoura forest is the only natural attraction in the city.[28] The forest was planted in the 20th century and consists mostly of Eucalyptus, Palm and Pine trees.[29] It is located halfway to the city's international airport.

The only watercourse in Casablanca is Oued Bouskoura,[30] 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 Er-Rbia River 70 km (43.50 mi) to the south-east.

Casablanca has a very mild Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csa). Casablanca's climate is strongly influenced by the cool currents of the Atlantic Ocean which tends to moderate temperature swings and produce a remarkably mild climate with little seasonal temperature variation and a lack of extreme heat and cold. According to the magazine American Weatherwise, the city ranks the 3rd best weather place in the world with best weather year round. Casablanca has an annual average of 74 days with significant precipitation, which amounts to 427 millimeters per year. The highest and lowest temperatures ever recorded in the city are 40.5 °C (105 °F) and −2.7 °C (27 °F), respectively. The highest amount of rainfall recorded in a single day is 178 millimeters ( November 30, 2010)

Climate data for Casablanca
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 17.1
(62.8)
17.9
(64.2)
19.2
(66.6)
20.5
(68.9)
22.2
(72)
24.0
(75.2)
25.9
(78.6)
26.3
(79.3)
25.5
(77.9)
23.7
(74.7)
20.6
(69.1)
18.3
(64.9)
21.77
(71.18)
Average low °C (°F) 8.4
(47.1)
9.1
(48.4)
10.0
(50)
11.8
(53.2)
14.2
(57.6)
17.4
(63.3)
19.5
(67.1)
20.1
(68.2)
18.2
(64.8)
15.2
(59.4)
12.0
(53.6)
9.5
(49.1)
13.78
(56.82)
Rainfall mm (inches) 62.2
(2.449)
59.0
(2.323)
50.7
(1.996)
40.2
(1.583)
18.8
(0.74)
5.8
(0.228)
0.7
(0.028)
0.4
(0.016)
4.9
(0.193)
31.1
(1.224)
75.1
(2.957)
77.7
(3.059)
426.6
(16.796)
Avg. rainy days 9.8 9.3 9.1 8.7 5.4 2.6 0.4 0.4 2.1 6.2 9.7 10.2 73.9
Mean monthly sunshine hours 189.1 189.2 241.8 261.0 294.5 285.0 303.8 294.5 258.0 235.6 192.0 182.9 2,927.4
Source: Hong Kong Observatory[31]

Economy[edit]

Boulevard des FAR (Forces Armées Royales)
Main article: Economy of Casablanca
Sofitel Tour Casablanca.jpg
Casablanca Port

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. 33% of national industrial exportations, MAD 27 billions come from the Grand Casablanca. 30% of Moroccan banking network is concentrated in Casablanca.[32]

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.[33]

The Casablanca and Mohammedia seaports activity represent 50% of the international commercial flows of Morocco.[34]

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.[35]

Royal Air Maroc has its head office at the Casablanca-Anfa Airport.[36] 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.[37] The agreement to build the head office in Nouaceur was signed in 2009.[38]

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[edit]

Casablanca is a commune, part of the Region of the Grand Casablanca. The commune is divided into 8 districts or prefectures, which are themselves divided into 16 subdivisions or arrondissements and 1 municipality. The 8 districts and their subdivisions are as follows:[39]

  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).
Boulevard El Massira
Boulevard du Lido

Neighborhoods[edit]

The list of neighborhoods is indicative and not complete:

Demographics[edit]

The population of Grand Casablanca was estimated in 2005 to be 3.85 million. 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. The number of inhabitants is however disputed by the locals, who point to a number between 5 and 6 million[citation needed], citing recent drought years as a reason for many people moving into the city to find work.

Judaism in Casablanca[edit]

There was a Sephardic Jewish community in Anfa up to its destruction 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.[4] Today the Jewish cemetery of Casablanca is one of the major cemeteries of the city.

Main sites[edit]

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-Mauresque 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. 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. The mosque is also the largest in North Africa, and the third largest in the world.[40]

Work on the mosque was 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 pre-dating the French protectorate) attracts fewer tourists than the medinas of cities like 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.[41] 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 and so his tomb still possesses these powers. People come and seek this magic in order to be cured. Non-Muslims may not enter the shrine.

Modern Architecture

The real Casablanca – as opposed to the Hollywood studio where the movie was actually filmed – merits being seen, even on a global stage, as one of the birthplaces of modern architecture. It belongs to the same avant-garde family as the Brasilia of Oscar Niemeyer, the Marseille of Le Corbusier, or the Chicago of Louis Sullivan. The real Casablanca is where people still come to find Morocco’s “American dream.” For over a century Casablanca has offered hope to people wanting a new, more prosperous life. In the late 1800s Spanish artisans and fishermen came, followed by French traders, land speculators, and industrialists. Fleeing drought in the hinterland or “bled,” Muslims and Jews pitched up to trade and to work in sugar and cement factories. All shared the dream of acquiring new kinds of freedom.

Open to the intense sunlight and mild sea air, the buildings express optimism. They flaunt the stylistic innovations of their eras: Beaux Arts, Neo-Mauresque, Art Deco, Cubist, Brutalist, Post-Modern. When you walk along the city’s streets and boulevards, you are strolling through an open-air museum of twentieth century architecture. The “ancienne médina” or oldest part of the city is remarkable, not for its antiquity (its oldest structures date only from the late 1700s), but because it foretells the modern future of the entire city. European traders and consuls who began flocking to the nineteenth century port were putting on display a new style of architecture. It appealed to wealthy Muslim and Jewish inhabitants of the quarter who set about building their own versions, albeit with “Moorish” touches like massive doorways and patios.

Walking away from the medina up Blvd. Hassan II, you arrive at a hub of action called “Place Mohamed V. It displays the shifting styles of public architecture erected by the French when they were building the protectorate they acquired in 1912. Start with the Neo-Mauresque post office built in 1918; note its indigo tiles around the mail slots and the bi-plane cameo to the left of the entrance. Then look across the Place at the 1920 courthouse also inspired by the colored tiles and arcades of Moroccan architecture; these arcades, though, are atypically open to the street. Across the street, the City Hall (1928) with its clock tower modeled on a minaret. Finally, look at the national bank (1937), bearing on its façade a sculpted rug, punctuated by five bold windows. In less than thirty years French architects had taken their admiration for Moroccan style in fresh directions that still please the eye. The Place is also full of the history of a Franco-Moroccan encounter marked by mutual stylistic inspiration.

A seductive harmony also characterizes the boulevard running from the edge of the medina to the main train station, Casa Voyageurs. Art Deco apartment buildings and stores are seamlessly linked to cubist ones. Rich Moroccans like Thami Glaoui and Omar Tazi seized the opportunity to join these architectural ventures and hired French architects like Marius Boyer (1885-1947) to design swank apartment buildings atop glass-roofed shopping malls. Boyer, one of the most prolific architects of his time, was also one of the most inventive. Within less than a decade, he would design such dissimilar buildings as a highly decorated neo-Mauresque newspaper office (1924) and a starkly avant-garde apartment block (1930), its three towers possessing the brand-new modern conveniences of garbage chutes, underground parking, and terraces galore.[42]

Casablanca Marina[edit]

Located on the seafront on 26 hectares, Casablanca Marina offers upscale residential products, office spaces which respect the international standards, shops and a convention Centre up to the national and international expectations for the organization and hosting congresses . Casablanca Marina also embodies an ideal urban and environmental context, it has local services, parks and a professional team to manage the site. it aims to become an essential destination for recreational boaters seeking long stays, or just an unforgettable stopover on their way to West Africa, the Caribbean or the shores of North America. It is noteworthy that the Works of the project has started at the beginning of 2012 and it is expected to be completed in the summer of 2014

Other Sites[edit]

The Casablanca Technopark is an information technology Business cluster complex located at Casablanca, and was inaugurated in October 2001.

Shopping[edit]

Morocco Mall is the largest of its type in Africa

There are several shopping centers in Casablanca, of which the largest is Morocco Mall. It is the largest shopping center in Africa with 250,000 m2 (2,690,978 sq ft) of floor space in Casablanca. The mall, which opened on December 1, 2011, was designed by architect Davide Padoa of Design International, a global architecture boutique with its headquarters in London.[43] The mall features a massive 1,000,000 litre aquarium that contains over 40 different species of fish. The aquarium is called "Aquadream" and was designed and built by International Concept Management (ICM). Visitors have the opportunity to take a ride through the center of the cylinder shaped aquarium with a 360-degree view of the sea life. Visitors can also go scuba diving with a professional instructor inside the aquarium. Anfaplace Shopping Center is a shopping center located on the Corniche of Casablanca.

The Casablanca Twin Center is the new landmark of the business district of Casablanca. At over 100 meters in height, the twin towers dominate the skyline and the work environment are better co-ordinated and more dynamic which is, as evidenced by their design particularly studied in terms of technology, efficiency and comfort.

Sports[edit]

Hosting[edit]

Casablanca staged the 1961 Pan Arab Games, the 1983 Mediterranean Games and the 1988 Africa Cup of Nations. Morocco was scheduled to host the 2015 African Nations Cup, but decided to decline the tournament, due to Ebola fears. Morocco was expelled from the tournament, and it will now be held in Equatorial Guinea.[44]

Venues[edit]

The Stade Mohamed V seats 52,000
  • Stade d'Agadir (under construction)
  • Stade Cheikh Laaghdef
  • Stade Complexe Sportif
  • Stade d'Honneur
  • Stade Larbi Zaouli
  • Stade Mohamed V
  • Complexe OCP
  • Saniat Rmel
  • Stade Al Inbiaâte
  • Stade El Abdi
  • Stade El Harti
  • Stade El Massira
  • Stade Marche Verte
  • Stade Sidi Bernoussi
  • Complexe Al Amal de Casablanca

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 80,000 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 2014, ready for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.

Association football[edit]

Casablanca is home to two popular football clubs, Raja Club Athletic[45] and Wydad Athletic Club.[46] 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. There are other football teams on top of these two major teams that are based in the city of Casablanca are Rachad Bernoussi, TAS de Casablanca, Majd Al Madina and Racing Casablanca.

Tennis[edit]

Casablanca hosts The Grand Prix Hassan II, a professional male tennis tournament of the ATP tour. It first began in 1986. It 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[edit]

Tram[edit]

The Casablanca tramway is the rapid transit tram system in Casablanca in Morocco. The route is 31 km (19 mi) long, with 49 stops, and Y-shaped; further lines are planned in the future.[47]

Air[edit]

Casablanca's main airport is Mohammed V International Airport, Morocco's busiest airport. Regular domestic flights serve Marrakech, Rabat, Agadir, Oujda, and Tangier, 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, Paris, London and Dubai are important primary destinations.

The older, smaller Casablanca-Anfa Airport to the west of the city, that served certain destinations including Damascus, and Tunis, was largely closed to international civilian traffic in 2006. It currently services domestic flights and freight. Casablanca Tit Mellil Airport is located in the nearby community of Tit Mellil.

Coaches[edit]

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[edit]

See also: Casablanca RER or Casablanca metro

An underground railway system is currently being planned, which when constructed will potentially offer some relief to the problems of traffic congestion and poor air quality. The metro will not be ready before 2017, having a length of 10 kilometres (6.21 miles) and costing 46.7 billion dirhams (approximately 5.8 billion USD).[48] However, it should be noted that none of the preparatory works for this project have started.

Taxis[edit]

Petit taxis in Casablanca

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 pre-defined routes, or shared inter-city service. Grands Taxis may also be hired for private service by the hour or day.

Trains[edit]

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

Casa-Voyageurs is the main inter-city 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

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 to 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 twenty-first century, and officially re-opened in 2005 as a primary city rail station. Owing to its new status, all southern inter-city 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 inter-city standards was intended to relieve passenger congestion at Casa-Voyageurs station.

Notable people[edit]

Gad Elmaleh a Moroccan stand-up comedian and actor
Merieme Chadid led an international scientific program to install a major astronomical observatory in Antarctica

In popular culture[edit]

Casablanca, an American romantic drama film directed by Michael Curtiz

International relations[edit]

See also List of twin towns and sister cities in Morocco

Twin towns – sister cities[edit]

Casablanca is twinned with:

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°32′N 7°35′W / 33.533°N 7.583°W / 33.533; -7.583