Disappointing travel destinations Casablanca (Morocco) | There are quite a some movies, poems and songs out there that might leave you under the impression, Casablanca is worth the money. If you follow your manipulated inner voice and visit Casablanca, you will soon realize that it is by far the least-interesting place in an otherwise interesting country. Casablanca is nothing but a dumpy business district on the Atlantic coast of Morocco. Other than an obscenely expensive mosque that the previous king had built, there’s literally nothing to visit. And this is actually quite surprising because Casablanca is the largest city in Morocco (5 million people).
Only outstanding point of interest: the Hassan II Mosque. It was designed by French architect Michel Pinseau. Situated right on the coast this mosque can host up to 25,000 worshippers. A further 80,000 can be accommodated in the attached courtyard. Its minaret is the world’s tallest at 210 metres (690 feet). Hassan II Mosque is the largest in Africa, and the third-largest in the world. Work on the mosque started in 1980, and was intended to be completed in 1989 – for the 60th birthday of former Moroccan king, Hassan II. However, the building was not inaugurated until 1993. Authorities spent an estimated $800 million in the construction of this site.
What else: Casablanca owns the first skyscraper ever built in Africa – Immeuble Liberté – erected in 1949; a rather ugly building, not worth a picture.
The Moroccan Jewish Museum is the only museum devoted to Judaism in the entire Arab world. Not sure what exactly tranquilized the governing body in charge. Muslim authorities usually turn blue and throw stuff at you when it comes in other religions in general and Judaism in particular. It must have historic roots. Prior to World War II the Jewish population in Morocco was approximately 225,000. During World War II, King Mohammed V protected Moroccan Jews from being sent to concentration camps. Hitler demanded King Mohammed V to hand over the Jews of Morocco. But the King state: “In Morocco we don’t have Jews, we only have Moroccan citizens!”
After the war, a steady stream of immigration of Moroccan Jews to Israel turned into a flood after Morocco’s independence in 1956. Today’s population of Moroccan Jews is considered to number around 10,000 at the most. Since Moroccan independence in 1956, the ruling Alaouite dynasty has continued a tradition of tolerance and support toward the country’s Jewish minority. Hassan II was particularly active in the 1980s in trying to bring peace to the Israel/Palestine conflict. Prime Minister Shimon Peres was the first Israeli government minister to be invited to an Arab country: Morocco.