The modern city of Casablanca sitting in Morocco is where the money is made, the young Moroccans flock to seeking their fortunes and where creative industries and businesses prosper. It is a dynamic port city hub facing the Atlantic Ocean with little resemblance to the other atmospheric cities of Morocco.
Tainted by its French colonial history in downtown Mauresque's architecture, that is a not so subtle mix of European art deco and Moorish style, its iconic and super huge Hassan II Mosque has a 210m minaret crowned with lasers directed toward Mecca. Morocco is an emerging country with a mixed economic system that is one of the best in Africa and Casablanca is where it all happens.
In a country where men greet each other with gusto and kisses, it is prohibited to cut palm trees, the size of the front door to a house shows off how wealthy you are and souks are a playground for the bargain hunter to indulge in bartering.
There is a European flavour in the air of urban sophistication where swaggering locals are on the move unhindered by its exotic past. This is where you will find funky cafes and bars and for the hidden charms you will have to dig a bit deeper than in Fes or Marrakech. You can meander around the medina district with its jumble of crazy maze-like streets where local artisans still practice their ancient skills and trades or check out the central plaza of Place Mohamed V that is crammed with the important official buildings such as the Palace of Justice. This is a locals' favourite promenading area when the sun goes down so you will get to rub shoulders with the natives who love to waltz around the central fountain and the well-tended gardens. The beachside suburb of Ain Diab, once a pirate lair, is worth exploring to experience the city's planned emergence as a destination in its own right. This is the area that draws the hip crowd who want to be seen and is home to luxury restaurants, hotels and trendy beach clubs where the sun worshippers hang out.
For those in need of some divine intervention, there is the stunningly beautiful Cathedral du Sacre Coeur to creep inside, if the guardian allows you.
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