Cultural

Casablanca

Mosque of deep history

Morocco’s largest mosque, and 13th largest in the world. Morocco’s project that put it on a pedestal. Every single Moroccan contributed to building the Hassan II Mosque, and it remains as an eternal, holy pride. It was completed in 1993

Its minaret reaches 210 metres and directed towards Mecca. This 60-stories high minaret is equipped with a laser, shooting across the Atlantic Ocean. The Hassan II Mosque can huddle up to 25,000 worshippers - inside. Another 80,000 can pray outside on its terrace

Rick’s cafe

Since the movie Casablanca came out, it was evident to have a theme bar and café that recreates the movie. Humphrey Bogart did not only give the people a fantastic movie, but his movie was the main inspiration for Rick’s Café. The classic bar is set in an old courtyard mansion, built against the old Medina. 

The bar has an authentic 1930’s Pleyel piano and the pianist is always taking requests. The decorative aspect of the bar puts attendees in an exciting, nostalgic mood. Classic-movie fanatics are glad and appreciative to the fact that Humphrey Bogard and Ingrid Bergman went with Morocco, especially Casablanca, as the chosen city - and title - for their movie

Royal Palace

Casablanca’s Royal Palace, much like all palaces in Morocco, is decorated with luxurious Arab-Muslim architecture and lavish decorations. Casablanca’s Royal Palace is considered a landmark thanks to its role in hosting many important events; such as the Islamic Conference of 1969, and Pope John Paul’s visit in 1985 - which was a one of a kind visit. Other notable events such as the Arson of the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, has also made it stand out among other venues and palaces.

Habous District

Built between 1918 and 1955, the Habous District of Casablanca endured flocking numbers of migrants.

During the French protectorate, 1920-1930, Marshal Lyautey wanted to define ‘allowed zones’ for Moroccans. He had Albert Laprade plan the district’s design in 1917, before forwarding it to the deputy of Henri Prost, then August Cadet. 

The Habous District took Moroccan merchants and their families from all over Morocco, making them completely separate to the French, in Morocco.

Fes

Moulay Idriss Mausoleum

Moulay Idriss the 2nd is commemorated in his mausoleum of Moulay Idriss. The Zawiya of Moulay Idriss is situated just outside the Place Nejjarine, and the Moroccan people, mostly Fassis, are holding Moulay Idriss in high regard. He’s a revered Sultan who ignited the Fassi culture.

Spreading cultural models

Medrasa Attarine was built by the Sultan Abou Dazid, in the 14th-century, and it’s considered to be one of the oldest universities in the world. The Medrasa is no longer a functioning establishment. Several universities in Morocco, the Arab world, and Europe have built universities based on the Medrasa Attarine.

Fes tanneries

The tanneries are one of Fes’ most artistic, colourful, and relaxing places. They feature leather-making techniques that have been around Morocco since the middle ages. Notice the narrow paths in between each tannery, and the vibrant tanneries covered in boastful pelts. The early morning sun stenches the spot, and it becomes a little more authentic.

Clayful art

Moroccan Pottery has been introduced to the locals for generations. After long periods of artistic practice, the locals figured that they could market them to non-Moroccans. It gave their creativity a boost, especially with the historical factor on their side. The stories of how pottery came to be in Morocco are enticing and captivating. Some regarded pottery as an outlet, while some were in it merely for gainful purposes. 

Whatever the reason, Moroccans are eternally grateful for Moroccan pottery. Almost every household has a piece, gadget, and appliance that embellishes their living room.

Humble and successful beginnings

The oldest, currently operating university in the world. Al-Qarawiyying university is Fes’ most prideful possession. Fatima Al-Fihri is credited with founding the university. Needless to say, Moroccans are all gratified with her doings. Many generations have studied within its prestigious school, and the coming ones will be as fortunate as past generations thanks to Al-Qarawiyyin’s continuous educational system.

The university's library has undergone major changes and renovations. A multi-million dollar restoration to the oldest library is in effect; it will reinforce the wooden archways and restore fountains as well.

 

Fes, in the days of yore

Fes el Bali - Bali, meaning old - is the oldest walled part of Fes; hence the name. It was founded during the Idrissi dynasty between the years of 789 and 808 A.D. Al-Qarawiyying university is in Fes el Bali, which played part in making it a car-free area: it is thought that Fes El Bali to be the biggest car-free urban area in the world.

In order to conserve the city’s appeal and integrity, UNESCO has listed Fez el Bali as a World Heritage site in 1981. The Medina of Fez encompasses everything that’s dear and close to Fez.

Marrakech

Koutoubia mosque

Each dynasty left Morocco with a monument that will continue to be revered and appreciated. The Almohad dynasty bestowed the Koutoubia mosque upon Moroccans. And they did not stop there, they went on to establish the Hassan Tower in Rabat, and La Giralda in Seville.

Ben Youssef’s school and display

Established by Sultan Abou El Hassan, the Medrasa was a foundation during the Saadian dynasty. It’s been with us for more than 4 centuries. It is home for students in various subjects and sciences, including theology. Non-Marrakech students were given 132 rooms in terms of housing, and the prayer room is made with marble pillars and fascinating ornaments and Islamic motifs

Marrakech’s medina

The Almoravids period was particularly fruitful. The Medina of Marrakech was founded in the 11thcentury. Since then, it became an economic centre, not to mention political, and cultural. 

The prosperous future of the medina was expected since it was built. Yacoub El Mansour, along with his brother Yacoub Youssef, were essential to the medina and its construction. And due to its prominence, other medinas were inspired by Marrakech’s medina.

The extravagant palace

Bahia, translating to extravagant, was the residence of the Grand Vizier Sultan Ahmed Ben Moussa. He had tremendous power in the Cherifian Kingdom. 

The Bahia palace tends to captivate everyone who enters its halls. You’ll hear stories about its history and heritage that’ll leave you feeling beautiful awe.

Meknes

Mansour’s gate

The first thing you notice, before you enter Meknes, is its gates. Bab Mansour, in particular, is one that takes people’s breaths away. A giant gate decorated in ancient carvings that symbolised the exquisite talent of carvers then. The same style is used nowadays in luxurious settings, hotels, and riads.

If you’re visiting Meknes, expect to witness many huge gates that usually lead in and out of Medinas as well as older parts of the city. Since Meknes is embellished as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you’ll get the opportunity to discover many Moroccan treasures.

Moulay Ismail’s last important project was the Mansour Gate. Christian convert to Islam, and renowned Moroccan architecture, Mansour Laalej, was responsible for this gate. It was named after him. 

El Mansour was executed after the Sultan had asked him if he could’ve done a better job on the gate, to which Mansour replied with “Yes”. Given the conscientious soul he was, the Sultan felt that it was the right fit for someone who squanders the Sultan’s time, investment, and effort.

The Sultan’s royal stables

The Moulay Ismail Stables was the Sultan’s proudest possession. A massive stable yard that was constructed to please over 12,000 royal horses. The Sultan had great admiration for these animals - even more so than he did towards his fellow human beings. 

His horses were groomed and taken exceptional care of. Today, everyone can visit the stables, not just the caretakers. In addition, you won’t need the Sultans permission, instead, you’ll have to pay a 10dh fee.

Preservation, horses, and Christ

In order to store food and grain, Moulay Ismail had granaries built. These make for amazing monuments. The way these granaries are lined gives a sneak-peek into Moulay Ismail’s intentions and way of thinking.

The food was well-conserved during his reign. The attic has ten rooms with extremely thick walls. Fresh temperature is in effect and the food is preserved for longer periods of time.

Meknes has the largest stud farm in all of North Africa. Many movies were shot there due to the vast land and abundance of hay - to feed the 450 horses he owned. The movies “Jesus of Nazareth” and “The Last Temptation of Christ” were shot in these farms.

Rabat

Morocco’s glorious capital

Rabat is situated on the Atlantic Ocean, specifically at river Bou Regreg’s tip. On its opposing side lies Salé, Rabat’s commuter town. Between Salé, Rabat, and Temara, a population of 1.8 million that form an extension. 

Both Rabat and Salé are economically empowered by their industry of importing textile. In addition to material businesses, both cities have tremendous touristic appeal. Foreigners enjoy Rabat and its westernized atmosphere.

Rabat is also renowned for its role next to the seas: it was once a famous corsair sanctuary. It has served as one of many important ports in North Africa for Barbary pirates, during the 16tjh-century.

Commemorating the people’s king

King Mohammed V, along with his two sons, King Hassan II and Abdallah, is buried in the mausoleum Mohammed V. The mausoleum is considered to be one of Morocco’s masterpieces. It boasts beautiful Alaouite dynasty architecture, embellished in a green tiled roof that represents Islam’s preached colour of peace.

An Imam is usually present within the mausoleum of Mohammed V, reading the Quran on his assigned seat. It was built in 1977, and the late King Hassan II was buried there after his death in 1999.

Unfinished landmarks

Now regarded as a symbol of respect, Hassan Tower was intended to be the largest minaret and mosque in the world. The plans, however brilliant, have stopped following the death of Sultan Yaacoub Al Mansour, in 1199. The Tower stopped at 44 metres, 86 metres was the intended height. The mosque, too, stopped being constructed. 

Moroccans tend to look at the brighter side of things, the Hassan Tower’s incompletion remained to symbolise Morocco’s adoration for their Sultan. “it was Sultan Al-Mansour’s project, it shall stop when he does.”

Of Roman descent

The Chellah became the site of the ancient Roman colony of “Sala Colonia”. Before the Romans had established the province of Mauretania Tingitana, the Chellah was a fortified Muslim necropolis. The metro area of Rabat was the location chosen by Phoenicians to establish a trading emporium; which they called “Sala”.

The Kasbah of the Oudayas

The Oudaya’s Kasbah was built in the 12th-century. It was reconstructed by the Almohads, after taking over Rabat and completely destroying the Kasbah. The Almoravid dynasty had no choice but to yield, and the Kasbah remained as Yaacoub Al-Mansour’s. After his death in 1199, the Kasbah was abandoned. As a tribute to their ancestor Al-Mahdi Ibn Tumart, a palace and a mosque were added to the Kasbah and named them “Al-Mahdiyya.

The Royal Palace

Sultans and Kings in Morocco have always had an official residence called Dar-El-Mekhzen. A palace in Rabat was created by Mohammad IV, in 1864. Since then, the royal family, specifically the king, have stayed in Dar-El-Mekhzen. The French wanted Sultans and Kings of Morocco to be centred in a place near their administration; Morocco had been under control by the French, and it was a requirement that shows acceptance of the new system.

Volubilis

Volubilis

Near the city of Meknes, lays the excavated Berber and Roman city, Volubilis. Before becoming capital to the kingdom of Mauretania, Vollubilis developed as an Amazigh settlement. After it grew, it became proto-Carthaginian.

After the Roman rule during the 1st-century A.D, its lands expanded to cover more than 42 hectares and 2.6 kilometres of circuit walls. During the 2nd century, and thanks to its olive cultivation, Volubilis established many major buildings, including a basilica and a temple. The Romans did well with embellishing the houses with tiles of mosaic floors. Through such authenticity and creativity, Volubilis has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s exceptionally well-preserved and represents a huge part of the Roman’s colonial towns.

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