Casablanca, Morocco

Most people associate Casablanca with the classic 1942 movie. Yet Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman never visited Morocco’s northernmost and largest city. Since 1993, it has been more famous as the location for the world’s tallest minaret.

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1 Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, Morocco

The Hassan II Mosque is the most revered and famous landmark in Casablanca since its completion in 1993 at a cost exceeding $600 million. The unique designed by Michel Pinseau extends over the Atlantic Ocean. Its name is a tribute to Hassan II. He was the King of Morocco from 1961 until 1999. The 690 foot minaret is the world’s tallest. About 25,000 faithful can pray inside of its foundation measuring 660 feet long and 300 feet wide. This size qualifies it as the third largest mosque in the world.

Hassan II Mosque, Boulevard de la Corniche, Casablanca 20000, Morocco
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2 Zellij Artwork at Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, Morocco

This ablution fountain along the exterior wall of the Hassan II Mosque is decorated with small, terra cotta tiles forming Islamic, geometric patterns. This type of architectural artwork is called zellij. This is just a hint at the elaborate décor inside the mosque that required the talents of over 10,000 artisans.

Hassan II Mosque, Boulevard de la Corniche, Casablanca 20000, Morocco
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3 Place des Nations Unies in Casablanca, Morocco

Casablanca’s primary square is Place des Nations Unies. Major roads intersect here like a hub with spokes. The Place of the United Nations is surrounded by major hotels, restaurants and office buildings. The centerpiece is the Zevaco Dome, named after its designer Jean-François Zevaco. The globe-shaped sculpture is colloquially called Kora ardia. In the background is the clock tower of the Old Medina and its western wall. Some of these enclosures date back to the 16th century.

Avenue des Far & Boulevard Hassan I, Casablanca 20250, Morocco
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4 Butcher in Raw Meat Stand at Old Medina in Casablanca, Morocco

This butcher at Casablanca’s Old Medina was extremely proud of his display of skinned cow and lamb legs, hanging octopi and other raw, unidentifiable animal parts. He gave me his business card and requested a copy of this photo. I have no idea if he ever received it. The Old Medina is near Place des Nations Unies.

Avenue des Far & Boulevard Hassan I, Casablanca 20250, Morocco
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5 Role of Minaret in Casablanca, Morocco

The minaret is the central and tallest feature of a mosque. Traditionally, a muezzin climbed the tower five times a day and chanted the adhan in order to signal the faithful to worship. If you look closely at the top of this photo, you will see loudspeakers. These are currently used to amplify the call to prayer.

Avenue des Far & Boulevard Hassan I, Casablanca 20250, Morocco
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6 Menu Chalk Board at Old Medina in Casablanca, Morocco

This chalk board menu at the Old Medina is in French and Arabic. This multilingual approach reflects the mixed heritage of Morocco’s largest city. Casablanca is an old, dirty city on the North Atlantic coast of Africa. It was first settled by the Berbers around the 7th century BC. During the early half of the 20th century, the country was under French rule.

Avenue des Far & Boulevard Hassan I, Casablanca 20250, Morocco
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7 Chickens in Coop for Sale at Old Medina in Casablanca, Morocco

These caged chickens squawked loudly as a threatening cat approached. The two Moroccan merchants were unfazed by the commotion. They knew this feline was not a paying customer. However, they would spring into action when someone approached with dirham (Moroccan currency) in their pocket. After selecting a rooster or hen, a customer waits while their dinner has their neck twisted.

Avenue des Far & Boulevard Hassan I Casablanca 20250, Morocco
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8 Merchant in Vegetable Stand at Old Medina in Casablanca, Morocco

This shopkeepers’ vegetable stall looked like a burnt-out bunker. Yet he was extremely proud of his display of potatoes, onions, carrots, bell and chili peppers plus lemons and squash. It deserved a thumb up. He is typical of the merchants you will find in the Old Medina: hard working, humble and eager to satisfy every customer.

Avenue des Far & Boulevard Hassan I, Casablanca 20250, Morocco
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9 Vegetable Stand at Old Medina in Casablanca, Morocco

The Old Medina is a walled-in, narrow maze of traditional shops. This close up of a vegetable stand is typical. It displays tomatoes and lemons plus bell and chili peppers. This colorful medley of produce looked appetizing and would also make a challenging jigsaw puzzle.

Avenue des Far & Boulevard Hassan I, Casablanca 20250, Morocco
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