Thursday, March 09, 2017

Likable Casablanca

Casablanca, the largest city in Morocco, is known for traffic congestion, overpriced hotels, and lack of tourist sights. We would have skipped if it were not for it's known quantity and quality of Art Deco buildings, which turned out to impress John much more than me. We made a day trip to the UNESCO city of El Jadida built by the Portuguese, nothing too exciting.

Besides the impressive Hassan II Mosque, there are many current construction and restoration projects all over the place. Being Muslims, they cannot help themselves with the long tradition of resplendent architecture and engineering, even though I think the city could really use some serious public transport to alleviate traffic.

To work around the hotel problem, we got an apartment on airbnb. It turned out to be in a 1930's art deco building. John loved the place. He could have stayed a month. It was like staying at a friend’s place. The location couldn’t be better. It was right around the corner from the CTM bus station. When we left town, we abandoned our plan to take the train to Marrakech, opted for the bus instead. Morocco is known as a favorite location for the film industry, but I didn’t expect them to be filming right across the street from our building while we were there.

Another highlight is the New Medina area, Habous. It is a planned commercial/residential area from the 1930's. Today it is known as a shopping destination. To me, it is like an idealized version of the medina. I loved walking around the arched alleys.

We booked an apartment in Casablanca not knowing that it was located in the Art Deco Asayag Building (1930) designed by Marius Boyer and a Moroccan cultural landmark. It's more than a gem...In this photo our apartment is 5th-floor left.
Casablanca, Morocco

Stairwell.
Casablanca, Morocco

Casablanca, Morocco

Our 5th-floor neighbor still has the original doorway. And checkout the terraza floors.
Casablanca, Morocco

Since we had an apartment, we bought some fava beans from the market to stir-fry for dinner.
Casablanca, Morocco

Why is there a crane holding up a gigantic tarp across the street?
Casablanca, Morocco

Ah...They are filming a movie.
Casablanca, Morocco

Once settled, we head through the Old Medina to the Hassan II Mosque, built in the 1990's and one of the largest mosques in the world.
Casablanca, Morocco

Corner kick in the street in front of the Hassan II Mosque. These guys were playing hard, whacking the hell out of the ball, and hitting the deck often; not to mention dodging traffic.
Casablanca, Morocco

The minaret is 210 meters high.
Casablanca, Morocco

Casablanca, Morocco

Every few blocks there is a street market.
Casablanca, Morocco

This guy is selling beignets.
Casablanca, Morocco

The Casablanca Cathedral church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is being rennovated.
Casablanca, Morocco

The City Hall was also designed by Marius Boyer.
Casablanca, Morocco

The Boyer Building.
Casablanca, Morocco

Casablanca, Morocco

Casablanca, Morocco

Our 2nd day, we made a longish day trip SOUTH to the coastal town of El Jadida, founded by the Portuguese in the 15th-century. The AM Casablanca rush hour traffic was thick.
Casablanca, Morocco

It was an amazing bus ride. I saw more herders in 90 minutes than I've seen in my whole life combined. The work life of the small farmer on display.
El Jadida, Morocco

El Jadida, Morocco

Entering the Medina in El Jadida.
El Jadida, Morocco

The old Portuguese lighthouse is now a minaret.
El Jadida, Morocco

The Portuguese Cistern. Fun!
El Jadida, Morocco

El Jadida, Morocco

Walking on the ramparts.
El Jadida, Morocco

El Jadida, Morocco

The old synagogue with Star of David and Crescent Moon.
El Jadida, Morocco

We spot a neighborhood baker+oven by his pile of wood. ;-)
El Jadida, Morocco

And this young man is helping his mother carry her baking to the oven.
El Jadida, Morocco

Fast food lunch in El Jadida on the way to bus station.
El Jadida, Morocco

Still on our way to the bus station we see these ladies looking for a picnic spot on the beach.
El Jadida, Morocco

While the young men play soccer.
El Jadida, Morocco

The New Medina (Habous)
Casablanca, Morocco

Casablanca, Morocco

Casablanca, Morocco

Casablanca, Morocco

Like Rabat, Casablanca has trams.
Casablanca, Morocco

If you get this far and want to see more Art Deco buildings from Casablanca, go to John's flickr album.









1 comment:

Kathy said...

The apartment sounds like a find. Much better than the crummy hotel Intrepid used!