A Travellerspoint blog

Casablanca, Morocco....

A walk in sunny Casablanca.....

sunny 30 °C

Casablanca Rialto Cinema and Casablanca movie implanted

Casablanca Rialto Cinema and Casablanca movie implanted

Casablanca best pubs Rue Allal ben Abdallah

Casablanca best pubs Rue Allal ben Abdallah

Casablanca Rue Hommens el Fetouaki art deco architecture

Casablanca Rue Hommens el Fetouaki art deco architecture

Casablanca Rue Chaouia by night

Casablanca Rue Chaouia by night

Casablanca Rue Allal ben Abdellah

Casablanca Rue Allal ben Abdellah

Casablanca Rue Abderrahman Sahraoui

Casablanca Rue Abderrahman Sahraoui

Casablanca Place Aknoul

Casablanca Place Aknoul

Casablanca Central Market tram stop

Casablanca Central Market tram stop

Casablanca Cafe Restaurant Aknoul

Casablanca Cafe Restaurant Aknoul

Casablanca Bvd Mohammed V post office

Casablanca Bvd Mohammed V post office

Casablanca Bvd Mohammed V

Casablanca Bvd Mohammed V

Casablanca Bvd Mhammed V

Casablanca Bvd Mhammed V

Casablanca Bvd Felix Houphout Boigny

Casablanca Bvd Felix Houphout Boigny

Casablanca BMCI bank Rue Chaouia

Casablanca BMCI bank Rue Chaouia

Casablanca Ave Houman el Fetouaki

Casablanca Ave Houman el Fetouaki

Casablanca Ave Felix H Boigny, Taverne du Dauphin

Casablanca Ave Felix H Boigny, Taverne du Dauphin

Casablanca Ave Felix Houphouet Boigny

Casablanca Ave Felix Houphouet Boigny

F66F1C14BE6838E088664F91C4D67BF6.jpgA walk in Casablanca begins at United Nations Square, the busy city centre focal point, not far from the port gates along Avenue Felix Houphouet Boigny, and the entrance to the Old Medina, beside the famous landmark Clock TowerCasablanca the clock tower by night

Casablanca the clock tower by night


Casablanca Bvd Felix Houphouet Boigny

Casablanca Bvd Felix Houphouet Boigny


On this same street can be found the Koubba of Marabout Sidi Belyout, a saint who lost faith in humanity and went off to live with wild animals who took care of him. entrance to the courtyard and fountain is in a side street, but non-muslims should avoid straying into the tomb chamber which contains a small mosque.Casablanca Koubba of Marabout Sidi Belyout

Casablanca Koubba of Marabout Sidi Belyout

Casablanca, interior of the Koubba Marabout Sidi Belyou, Casablanca's patron saint.

Casablanca, interior of the Koubba Marabout Sidi Belyou, Casablanca's patron saint.

large_EDD915DFEB6B1261C0ABACE76946C3EF.jpgCasablanca Koubba of Marabout Sidi Belyout, the city's patron saint

Casablanca Koubba of Marabout Sidi Belyout, the city's patron saint

The nearby Old Medina can accessed beside the clock tower, there is always a busy Souk ( street market) and permanent shops just inside the gate, on Fridays, the day of prayer, the Medina streets can be very congested with worshippers spilling over from the mosques due to shortage of accommodation, instead laying down prayer mats in the narrow streets.Casablanca city centre, a busy street market at the medina emtrance

Casablanca city centre, a busy street market at the medina emtrance


Another colourful gate is at Bab Marrakech....large_Casablanca..Marrakech_1.jpg
and inside the Medina walls there is lots of commercial activity...Casablanca medina entrance gate off Rue Tarik Aloui

Casablanca medina entrance gate off Rue Tarik Aloui

Casablanca Medina Boulevard du 2 Tirraleurs

Casablanca Medina Boulevard du 2 Tirraleurs

Casablanca Medina Boulevard Tahar el Aloui 3

Casablanca Medina Boulevard Tahar el Aloui 3

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Now it's time to go to the beach at Ain Diab on the tram, sometimes Casawi citizens are a little careless crossing the tramlines!large_2CE8C472E82DCE98A5DB32A57DB0CB11.jpg

The tram takes 40 minutes to Ain Diab beach terminus, on a fare of only 8 dirhams per journey, any distance, but there is an interesting flea market to be explored beside the Ghallef tram station, before continuing to the beach....
Casablanca Derb Ghallef flea market

Casablanca Derb Ghallef flea market

Casablanca, Derb Ghallef flea market parking

Casablanca, Derb Ghallef flea market parking


The market is partly open air, but mostly covered by canvas canopies, there are many bargains to be negotiated, fixed price is rare, accessories and parts for mobile phones seem to predominate, there are fixed toilets on site and gardien-supervised car parking available if arriving by car.

Back on the beach-bound tram the line terminates at Ain Diab beach and a walk south along the promenade finds the Mausoleum of Sidi Abderrahman, a curious shrine perched on a rocky outcrop, formerly insulated at low tide from the main road, but now connected by a new pedestrian bridge, the magician elevated to sainthood, was reputed to have powers to cure nervous disorders and banish evil spells, at weekends the site is busy with pilgrims arriving and devotees anxious to access the tomb chamber to beseech the long-departed saint to help them with their psychological disorders, sometimes there is loud shrieking and groaning emanating from the tomb chamber which is supervised by female devotees who live in the small village surrounding the shrine......
Casablanca beach Sidi Abderrahman shrine and new access bridge

Casablanca beach Sidi Abderrahman shrine and new access bridge

Casablanca mausoleum Abderrahman tomb chamber

Casablanca mausoleum Abderrahman tomb chamber

Casablanca, Mausoleum of Marabout Sidi Abderrahman

Casablanca, Mausoleum of Marabout Sidi Abderrahman

Casablanca, Mausoleum of Marabout Sidi Abderrahman, concierge

Casablanca, Mausoleum of Marabout Sidi Abderrahman, concierge

Casablanca, Mausoleum of Marabout Sidi Abderrahman child guidance

Casablanca, Mausoleum of Marabout Sidi Abderrahman child guidance

Casablanca beach, Mausoleum of Marabout Sidi Abderrahman distance view

Casablanca beach, Mausoleum of Marabout Sidi Abderrahman distance view

Before the new access bridge to the shrine was completed, the only way to reach it was by waiting until low tide and wading out from the beach, which during the winter months and severe Atlantic gales would have been a risky endeavour, especially for older less-mobile devotees desperate to reach the tomb chamber to have their evil spirits and nervous disorders expelled, as can be seen in this historic picture .......

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After a rest sitting on the uncomfortable volcanic rock watching the Atlantic breakers crashing ashore, the remainder of the beach can be explored by walking back north as far as the Corniche, it's a busy place on a sunny weekend afternoon with visitors enjoying the Kentucky Fried Chicken, restaurants and the surf club, or just going for a swim.....
Casablanca Ain Diab beach surf club

Casablanca Ain Diab beach surf club

Casablanca Corniche

Casablanca Corniche

Casablanca Corniche 2

Casablanca Corniche 2

Casablanca Corniche outdoor tea room and old lighthouse

Casablanca Corniche outdoor tea room and old lighthouse

On a return journey to the city from the beach by tram, the Central Market is the most suitable stop to alight for exploring the French Colonial Art Deco architecture in the side streets leading off each side of Boulevard Mohammed V in the Derb Omar district, extending west as far as Mohammed V Square. In bygone eras a combination of soot particles emitted by heavy city traffic exhausts and the corrosive salt atmosphere blown inland by the winter Atlantic gales eroded many of the beautiful facades of the Art Deco buildings, but in more recent years a government initiative to encourage tourism has seen many of the buildings being progressively refurbished and transformed by new paintwork which seems to accentuate the eccentricity and detail of their imaginative design.

Another interesting initiative is the "Bidonville Mosque" a small building used for prayer by the inhabitants of the Bidonville ( shanty town) opposite the Hassan Mosque......66cf22f0-a932-11e8-b1a5-65199597dd6d.jpg42ce5ec0-a932-11e8-a1af-1566ff0542bc.jpg07517d00-a932-11e8-a1af-1566ff0542bc.jpg4de2c900-a931-11e8-8c75-53f7f6070262.jpg

As evening turns to night in the Derb Omar district and the Rotisseries close up, Rue Chaouia / Colbert assumes an eerie prospect, the bars along adjacent Rue Allal ben Abdellah have closed down for the night, taxis whisk away unsteady drinkers and the only visible human presence might be an old man with his donkey and cart, foraging for anything discarded which might be of value for sale. Despite what might be a visibly daunting prospect for those of a nervous disposition, or insomniacs, the gloomy streets are safe enough to walk around.....

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The advent of the new tramway system back in 2012 was one of the best things to happen to Casablanca, removing much of the congested motor vehicle traffic and its exhaust pollution from Boulevard Mohammed V, the fare of only 8 dirhams any distance is also very attractive to citizens after years of being overcharged by greedy Petit taxi drivers or being crammed into dirty old city buses.

The system is also useful for travellers arriving or departing at Casa Voyageurs railway station, two tram stops are located on each side of the road passing the station, but on warm sunny days the tram is the transport of choice to reach Ain Diab beach and the Corniche and it becomes standing room only in all carriages, at each tram stop uniformed agents have to restrain intending passengers barging onto the carriages and standing too close to the tracks.......

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More sensible intending 'Casawis' remain seated at the station and wait for the crush to ease, a situation which can avoid opportunities by pick pockets........

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The Casa tramway can be exceptionally congested at peak times, but more especially at weekends when locals make for the beach on a sunny day.
On one such occasion when the tram arrived at Casa Voyageurs railway station I struggled with my bags to board an already full-up carriage, but fortunately, in observance and compliance of notices posted throughout the carriages requesting passengers already seated to surrender their seats to less mobile or disadvantaged older people, it appeared I qualified for this distinction when a pretty young young girl stood up and indicated to me to take her seat for which I was most grateful, however her companion seemed to think this was quite amusing and made a whispered comment to her, something like "what about me?".......to which she ignored him and for reasons best known to herself studying me instead with more interest than him!

As the tram approached the Central Market stop there was no time for any further verbal interaction, however lone male travellers should be aware that they can be potential targets for beautiful Moroccan women in search of marriage proposals, but only to secure dual nationality and that desirable European passport entitlement allowing them to travel to any EU country in order to find a better and more prosperous lifestyle!

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Revised April 2019......

A visit to Casablanca is incomplete without a walk around the Old Medina, after successfully navigating safe passage across United Nations Square during a brief pause in the unrelenting flow of traffic....Casablanca United Nations Square a brief pause in the unrelenting passage of traffic!

Casablanca United Nations Square a brief pause in the unrelenting passage of traffic!

Casablanca United Nations Square and clock tower

Casablanca United Nations Square and clock tower

Casablanca main gate to the Old Medina beside the clock tower

Casablanca main gate to the Old Medina beside the clock tower

Casablanca Old Medina main gate and clock tower

Casablanca Old Medina main gate and clock tower

, dating from the turn of the 19th into 20th century and further expanded by the French Protectorate after 1912, many of the old original wall-mounted street signs can be useful for orientation in what can be busy congested narrow thoroughfares becoming blocked by carts laden with fruit and vegetables on display for sale.

There are two entrances to the Medina at UN Square beside the famous landmark clock tower, one for pedestrians and the other for a limited number of vehicles, this year the Medina appeared much tidier than on previous visits when litter was strewn around everywhere, especially beside the Chleu Berber Mosque, perhaps the result of a government initiative to encourage tourism.

Casablanca Old Medina the Chleu Berber Mosque in the street of the same name

Casablanca Old Medina the Chleu Berber Mosque in the street of the same name

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Some of the permanent buildings in the Medina are shops with overhead timber and clear plastic coverings to prevent rainfall ingress to merchants' goods for sale, such as clothing, footware and the famous Babouches ( slippers) some of these displays can be quite dazzling....

Casablanca Old Medina Place Jamaa Souk

Casablanca Old Medina Place Jamaa Souk

Casablanca Old Medina main gate and clock tower

Casablanca Old Medina main gate and clock tower

Casablanca Old Medina food stalls in a narrow thoroughfare

Casablanca Old Medina food stalls in a narrow thoroughfare

Casablanca Old Medina Babouche shop beside Hotel de la Reine

Casablanca Old Medina Babouche shop beside Hotel de la Reine

Casablanca Old Medina a vegetable street market

Casablanca Old Medina a vegetable street market

Casablanca Old Medina a typical crowded street market

Casablanca Old Medina a typical crowded street market

Casablanca old Medina Impasse el Zizouna a crowded street market

Casablanca old Medina Impasse el Zizouna a crowded street market

Casablanca Old Medina a busy street market at Bab Marrakech

Casablanca Old Medina a busy street market at Bab Marrakech

Casablanca Old Medina a busy street market

Casablanca Old Medina a busy street market

Casablanca Old Medina a communal drinking fountain

Casablanca Old Medina a communal drinking fountain

.....Casablanca Old Medina a communal drinking fountain

Casablanca Old Medina a communal drinking fountain

Situated on the north end of the Medina the famous Rick's Cafe on Boulevard Sour Jdid, should be on the agenda of any self-respecting "film noir" enthusiast, if only to verify that it was not the location of the famous movie which was filmed exclusively in Hollywood USA. The very upmarket bar and diner caters mainly to tourists arriving on cruise liners, a feature of Rick's is the small cinema lounge on the first floor where the famous movie is on continuous rerun, but with no sound track, only subtitles..

Casablanca Rick's Cafe on Boulevard Sour Jdid..

Casablanca Rick's Cafe on Boulevard Sour Jdid..

Casablanca Ricks teapot..

Casablanca Ricks teapot..

Casablanca Rick's Cafe ground floor...

Casablanca Rick's Cafe ground floor...

Casablanca Rick's Cafe bar and dining hall..

Casablanca Rick's Cafe bar and dining hall..

Casablanca Ricks Cafe and amusing mural...

Casablanca Ricks Cafe and amusing mural...

Casablanca Rick's Cafe another clip from the famous movie..

Casablanca Rick's Cafe another clip from the famous movie..

Casablanca Rick's Cafe a clip from the famous movie...

Casablanca Rick's Cafe a clip from the famous movie...

Sadly, the owner and creator of Rick's Cafe, Kathy Kriger, passed away last year, her memory survives with her photograph mounted on the wall at the far end of the bar and a small reservation card placed where she used to survey her premises each evening, a nice touch I thought.

Casablanca Rick's Cafe the late owner Kathy Kriger...

Casablanca Rick's Cafe the late owner Kathy Kriger...

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Updated......
If Casablanca's horrendous traffic congestion proves too much of an assault on the senses, especially when attempting a perilous crossing of the busy boulevards, peaceful respite is always to be found on Ain Diab beach ( weather permitting) with either a paddle on the sandy shoreline or a walk out to the Sidi Abderrahman shrine, open to pilgrims, devotees and visitors.........large_Casablanca..nd_devotees.jpglarge_Casablanca.._connection.jpg

Posted by Bennytheball 05:15 Archived in Morocco Tagged casablanca Comments (2)

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