This is the second largest mosque in the world, after Mecca.
This mosque is about 30.000 square kilometers. Its construction, without any interruptions, lasted 8 years and 2500 people worked on it in 24 hour shifts.
It's a magnificent building situated in the Casablanca region, with some spectacular views of the sea.
Visiting this mosque is mandatory if you go to Casablanca!
Habous, in Arabic, means a common law neighborhood, that is to say, that it's joined with little shops, and each shop keeper is part owner of the buildings, and they're free to do business there. The Habous neighborhood is similar in nature to Casablanca, a little touristy, and you can find good artisan crafts there. Also, there are several souks, spices and snacks like olives, and things like slippers. It's a neighborhood that was constructed during the colonial French period, and now it's a fun place during the day, with a lot of buying and selling. To go toward the center you'll have to take a taxi, which shouldn't cost more than 25 dirhams, or around 2,50 euros.
Behind the commercial areas there are some riads, the typical two or three floor residences with interior patios.
The corniche is the pier that is in the neighborhood of Ain Diab. It's a bit far from downtown, you have to walk for an hour to get there, but by the side of the sea, it can be a nice trip. A taxi will cost about 2 euros and the number 9 bus takes you for more or less 40 cents from the square of the United Nations. The Corniche of Ain Diab is a place that is full of restaurants, bars and nightclubs. At night luxury cars will be around, with the country's richest young, looking for fun. By day, you have several private clubs and also seawater pools because the beach is rocky, if you pay 6 euros you can spend all day there, it is also nice if you're a girl and do not want to be disturbed on the beach. The Corniche is a favorite place for families to stroll during sunset, lovers. It is quiet up until 9pm and it is a place that is always safe for you to walk and enjoy.
If you live in Morocco can not miss the Casablanca market and numerous shops. Of course, there is a supermarket that opened recently, but do not miss the "real products" the Grand Central Market which is in Station Avenue, refuged behind a row of white arches in which lots is available to you flowers, waterfalls of nuts and spices carefully mounted in their wicker baskets; you will enjoy the smells of roasted coffee.
Mohammed V Airport in Casablanca is together with Marrakech airport, the busiest airport in the country. This airport is modern, it has a train station in it as well, like Madrid or Barcelona. In a half hour you can be in the center of Casablanca. It's very convenient and costs 4 euros. The airport doesn't have a lot of amenities, but it has the basics; car rental, some bars and restaurants. Inside, once you pass through security (and a few more checks than in Europe!), there are duty-free stores, but the prices make them not worth the trouble. In Morocco there isn't a fixed-price culture, in general you can haggle with the shop keeper to knock off around 30% of the price. In the airport this is not the case. A good tip if you need to send postcards is to do it from the airport. It'll take a lot less time to get to its destination! From Spain, there are flights to Casablanca with easyjet, that start around 30 euros.
The Tropicana Terrasse is a coffee and ice cream shop on the roof of the Tropicana hotel. It is a very nice open terrace, overlooking the sea and pool. The Ain Diab neighborhood is the most expensive place to go out, but at the Tropicana the prices are reasonable. They make very good lemon or chocolate crepes, for 2 euros. The pizza costs about 6 euros, and the drinks don't come out to be more than 1.50 euro each. They do not serve alcohol. They also serve sundaes and a great breakfast with biscuits and eggs any style. You're in a prime location to watch the sunset. Below are the five pools of the Beach Club.
Casablanca has its twin towers, which you'll find on the corner between Zerktoni Blvd. and Massira el Khadra. Being more than 100 meters tall, the Twin Center dominates Casablanca, and around them there's a modern neighborhood, with luxury shops and well-known brands. The left tower is a hotel, while the right tower is rented out as office spaces. It's a little strange, because the towers are reminiscent of the ones that were in New York. I don't know the year they were made, but its looks like it was after 9/11.
It's easy to find this place, everyone knows where it is, and it's perfect for meeting someone who's just arrived. It's a safe area, you can go out at night alone without any problems. Behind the Twin Center is a place called el Maarif, a neighborhood with more more popular stores. At the foot of the towers there are several shops and a little shopping center inside.
Oasis Station is an urban station in Casablanca. L'Oasis is a very posh neighbourhood, but aside from its very interesting Jewish Museum (the only one in the Maghreb), there's not much to see around here other than luxury homes. The station is modern, and the staff all speak French, and some speak a little bit of English, too. You have to pass through here to get to the Mohammed V airport, which will take 20 minutes, and cost you 40 DH. You can also get to Marrakesh for 8 euros in two hours, or go in the opposite direction, towards the capital and the north. I like traveling by train in Morocco, as it's clean, fast, and secure. It also has an air conditioning system that's better than the old buses. The station has some amenities including a tobacconist's in front, and a post office inside.
The olives souk is located in the Habbous commercial district, you can find it easily from the main square, asking people for the "souq zitoun" or "marché des olives" in French. It is a courtyard can be accessed from the street, and which joins a dozen stores that sell only small olives and soaked vegetables. Green olives, black, small, with or without seeds, there is so much choice, and a variety of honeys from each region. The residents of Casablanca usually come to the Habbous neighborhood about once a month, in order to fill the fridge and buy other daily products. Behind the souk is Derb Sultan, where costumes are made to measure and it´s the souk of witchcraft. The olives usually cost less than 2 euros per kilo, and you can ask to have them wrapped in order to take away.
When you visit Casablanca Cathedral, you're sure to be disappointed by the neglect on display. At one time, it must have been a tremendous place and you can still is what it once was in the beautiful construction and stained glass windows. But now, the condition is nothing short of depressing. The guard will allow you to go up one of the towers after paying a small amount, but the stairs are full of pigeon droppings and look like they haven't been cleaned in centuries. What a difference from the spotless Catholic Church in Tangier!
The Mahkama Pacha building is situated in the Habbous neighborhood in Casablanca, in the new medina. It's located in the street of the great mosque, where a taxi will stop if you ask him to take you to habous (it takes half an hour and costs 3 euros from the historic center). The pacha Mahkama is a building that serves as an official court and a banquet hall. The Royal Palace is just next to it, where the king stays when he visits Casablanca. There are about 60 apartments arranged around beautiful courtyards, which you can visit, and the architecture is reminiscent of Andalusia. The court is usually used for divorces, some Moroccans call this place the palace of divorces.
The neighbourhood of Derb Sultan is behind the new Casablanca medina. It is a second heart of the city, part of the old medina. People come from all over town to visit a tailor for a custom-made suit, buy fruit and vegetables cheaper than in the centre ... there's a market where they make traditional remedies, including homemade creams which claim to cure any disease. If you want a souvenir - tea cups, teapots, slippers - it's a good place to go, because prices are a bit lower than elsewhere, and there aren't so many tourists. Beware - it's not the best place to be by night, and it will cost about 20 dirhams to go back to the centre in a taxi.
La Cigale is a bar and restaurant in the center of Casablanca, which is at the corner of the Boulevard Moulay Youssef and Hassan II Avenue. It is a well-known night in the city, it has been open for years and it is known by all taxis. In the first room seems a somewhat seedy bar with antique décor and a fish tank. Fundamentally, the great room has a stage and hosts concerts - this is what gives the place its reputation. This, and the fact that they have kept their prices cheap despite their success. The beer is 20 dirhams (2 euros), while in the trendy bars a beer could cost as much as 5 euros. Many Moroccan groups have become famous thanks to their concerts at La Cigale. An old man organises the programme, and he also is a waiter at times... he is quite a character.
Palm trees, luxury cars, manicured gardens, white houses ... Welcome to the wealthiest neighbourhood in Casablanca! Many expats live here, and the signs are all in French - there are almost no details to remind you that you're in Morocco. Anfa is on a hill top overlooking the sea, and is very exclusive. The houses start at 2000 euros per month, but for this price, you'll usually have a palace of more than 200 square metres. There are several schools for children, where they can be taught in French and English, and the sports club is great. If you're a tourist, it's worth a visit for the views and interesting architecture.
The Paradise is a private club and leisure center with a pool and various activities. There is a huge parking lot where there is generally always space though less on warm weekends during the summer. Admission is about €7 and it gives you access to several sports facilities including tennis, basketball and more and many activities for children. Inside everything is available for you to easily spend a day. There are small restaurants and cafes and the pool. The sea in Casablanca is not very clean and so richest people go tothese private clubs and the poor are left on the beach. At night, it's nice to enjoy the sunset with an ice-cream. There are organised activities for children in summer and occasionally festivals.
The Velodrome is near Casablanca Anfa Boulevard, in a district of the city called Racine. During the French period, it was used for racing bikes, but now dog races take place here. It's a funny place, with races on Tuesdays, and where you can go to bet on one dog or another. Don't go alone if you're a woman - this is a man's place. They serve drinks and snacks, nothing special, and no alcohol. The races last a couple of hours, usually starting around 7 pm. It is unusual to see that and if you have a few days in Casablanca, I recommend that you go to see something a bit different.
Xanadu is located in the suburb of Ain Diab, the liveliest quarter of Casablanca during the night. It is a bit far from the center of the city. It's a 5-euro taxi ride on the way back (because after 8 pm they charge 50% more) and be careful to only take an official red taxi ... Xanadu is next to several bars and nightclubs, is a place for the young, where they play Eastern music, danse, Egyptian, Lebanese, Moroccan and Algerian ... Also international hits. The place is decorated in an oriental style too. The drinks are very expensive. There are girls there who want foreigners to pay for their drinks. It's a unique environment, one you'll find in many bars in the neighborhood. Xanadu is open until 3 am, then there are some afters but the ambience changes a lot.
Jdid Souq means the new market. It is a shopping street in the Habous area in Casablanca. I like to go for a walk in this neighborhood because it is very authentic, while the old medina is more touristy and only sell bad products and designer ripoffs. Here Moroccans come to buy household objects, like tagines dishes, serving dishes, to boil couscous semolina ... And to decorate their home simply. The prices are lower and therefore do not need to barter, most foreigners coming are workers living in Casablanca so traders do not try to inflate prices. Ask a taxi to take you to Habus and then ask for Souq Jdid.