الدار البيضاء - ad-Dār al-Bayḍāʼ (Arabic)
Anfa, ⴰⵏⴼⴰ کازابلانکا
Nickname(s): Casa Coordinates: Country Morocco administrative region Grand Casablanca First settled 7th century reconstructed 1756 Government – Mayor Mohammed Sajid Area – Total 324 km2 (125.1 sq mi) Population (2004) – Total 2,949,805 Time zone WET (UTC+0) – Summer (DST) WEST (UTC+1) Postal code 20000-20200 Website http://www.casablanca.ma/
Casablanca (Arabic: الدار البيضاء Ad Dār al Bayḍā', original name in Berber: Anfa / ⴰⵏⴼⴰ) is a city in western Morocco, located on the Atlantic Ocean. It is the capital of the Grand Casablanca region.
Casablanca is Morocco's largest city as well as its chief port. It is also the biggest city in the Maghreb. The 2004 census recorded a population of 2,949,805 in the prefecture of Casablanca and 3,631,061 in the region of Grand Casablanca. Casablanca is considered the economic and business center of Morocco, while the political capital city of Morocco is Rabat.
Casablanca hosts headquarters and main industrial facilities for the leading Moroccan and international companies based in Morocco. Industrial statistics show Casablanca retains its historical position as the main industrial zone of the country. The Port of Casablanca is one of the largest artificial ports in the world, and the largest port of North Africa. It is also the primary naval base for the Royal Moroccan Navy.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 Geography
- 3 History
- 4 Climate
- 5 Economy
- 6 Demographics
- 7 Main sights
- 8 Transport
- 9 Administrative divisions
- 10 Twin towns
- 11 Education
- 12 Sports
- 13 People born in Casablanca
- 14 In fiction
- 15 References
- 16 External links
The Latinized name of the city is a Spanish word combination meaning 'White House' (blanca, 'white;' casa, 'house'). It is thought that the Spaniards adopted the name from Portuguese Casa Branca. The city is now nicknamed Casa by many locals.
The Berber original name, (meaning: "hill" in English), was used by the local, and Berber-speaking, city dwellers until the French occupation army entered the city in 1907 and adopted the Spanish name, Casablanca. "Anfa" now refers to the original old city quarters of Casablanca.
Legally speaking, Moroccans consider Anfa to be a prefecture (a district) with half a million city dwellers, and is thus a part of the Grand Casablanca.
Casablanca has two airports; Casablanca-Anfa Airport and Mohammed V International Airport.
Casablanca is located in the Chawiya plain which has historically been the breadbasket of Morocco.
Apart from the Atlantic coast, the Bouskoura forest is the only natural attraction in the city. The forest was planted in the 20th century and consists mostly of Eucalyptus and Pine trees. It is located half way to the city's international airport.
The only watercourse in Casablanca is Oued Bouskoura, a small seasonal creek that until 1912 reached the Atlantic Ocean near the actual port. Most of Oued Bouskoura's bed has been covered due to urbanization and only the part south of El-Jadida road can now be seen. The closest permanent river to Casablanca is Oum Er-Rbia River 70 km (43.50 mi) to the south-east.
Before the French Protectorate
It was used as a port by the Phoenicians and later the Romans.In his book “Wasf Afriquia” Hassan Al Wazan refers to "Anfa" (ancient Casablanca) as a great city which was founded by the Romans. He also believed that Anfa was the most prosperous city on the Atlantic coast because of its fertile land.
During the 14th century, under the Merinids, Anfa rose in importance as a port. In the early 15th century, the town became an independent state once again, and emerged as a safe harbour for pirates and privateers, leading to it being targeted by the Portuguese, who destroyed the town in 1468.
The Portuguese used the ruins of Anfa to build a military fortress in 1515. The town that grew up around it was called "Casa Branca", meaning "white house" in Portuguese.
Between 1580-1640, Casablanca was part of Spain, and later it became part of Portugal again. The Europeans eventually abandoned the area completely in 1755 following an earthquake which destroyed most of the town. See: 1755 Lisbon Earthquake.
The town was finally reconstructed by sultan Mohammed ben Abdallah (1756–1790), the grandson of Moulay Ismail and ally of George Washington with the help of Spaniards from the nearby emporium. The town was called الدار البيضاء ad-Dār al-Bayḍāʼ, the Arabic translation of the Spanish Casa Blanca, meaning "white house".
In the 19th century, the area's population began to grow as it became a major supplier of wool to the booming textile industry in Britain and shipping traffic increased (the British, in return, began importing Morocco's now famous national drink, gunpowder tea). By the 1860s, there were around 5,000 residents, and the population grew to around 10,000 by the late 1880s. Casablanca remained a modestly sized port, with a population reaching around 12,000 within a few years of the French conquest and arrival of French colonialists in the town, at first administrators within a sovereign sultanate, in 1906. By 1921, this was to rise to 110,000, largely through the development of bidonvilles.
In June 1907, the French attempted to build a light railway near the port and passing through a graveyard. Residents attacked the French, and riots ensued. French troops were landed in order to restore order, which was achieved only after severe damage to the town. The French then took control of Casablanca. This effectively began the process of colonization, although French control of Casablanca was not formalised until 1910.
The famous 1942 film Casablanca underlined the city's colonial status at the time—depicting it as the scene of a power struggle between competing European powers, carried out with little reference to the local population. The film's cosmopolitan cast of characters (American, French, German, Czech, Norwegian, Bulgarian, Russian and some other nationalities) includes only a single (uncredited) local character, "Abdul" the doorman whose role is marginal.
The Casablanca Conference
Casablanca was an important strategic port during World War II and hosted the Casablanca Conference in 1943, in which Churchill and Roosevelt discussed the progress of the war. Casablanca was the site of a large American air base, which was the staging area for all American aircraft for the European Theater of Operations during World War II.
Morocco gained independence from France on March 2, 1956.
In 1930, Casablanca hosted a Grand Prix. The race was held at the new Anfa Racecourse. In 1958, the race was held at Ain-Diab circuit - (see Moroccan Grand Prix). In 1983, Casablanca hosted the Mediterranean Games.
The city is now developing a tourism industry. Casablanca has become the economic and business capital of Morocco, while Rabat is the political capital.
In March 2000, women's groups organized demonstrations in Casablanca proposing reforms to the legal status of women in the country. 40,000 women attended, calling for a ban on polygamy and the introduction of divorce law (divorce being a purely religious procedure at that time). Although the counter-demonstration attracted half a million participants, the movement for change started in 2000 was influential on King Mohammed VI, and he enacted a new Mudawana, or family law, in early 2004, meeting some of the demands of women's rights activists.
On May 16, 2003, 33 civilians were killed and more than 100 people were injured when Casablanca was hit by a multiple suicide bomb attack carried out by Moroccans and claimed by some to have been linked to al-Qaeda.
A string of suicide bombings struck the city in early 2007. A suspected militant blew himself up at a Casablanca internet cafe on March 11, 2007. On April 10, three suicide bombers blew themselves up during a police raid of their safe house. Two days later, police set up barricades around the city and detained two more men who had escaped the raid. On April 14, two brothers blew themselves up in downtown Casablanca, one near the American Consulate, and one a few blocks away near the American Language Center. Only one person was injured aside from the bombers, but the Consulate was closed for more than a month.
Casablanca has a very mild Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csa). Casablanca's climate is strongly influenced by the cool currents of the Atlantic Ocean which tends to moderate temperature swings and produce a remarkably mild climate with little seasonal temperature variation and a lack of extreme heat and cold. Rainfall is negligible from May to September, but for the rest of the year it is adequate for rain-fed farming.
Climate data for Casablanca Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year Average high °C (°F) 17.1
Daily mean °C (°F) 12.8
Average low °C (°F) 8.4
Rainfall mm (inches) 62.2
Avg. rainy days 9.8 9.3 9.1 8.7 5.4 2.6 0.4 0.4 2.1 6.2 9.7 10.2 73.9 Sunshine hours 189.1 189.2 241.8 261.0 294.5 285.0 303.8 294.5 258.0 235.6 192.0 182.9 2,927.4 Source: HKO
The Grand Casablanca region is considered the locomotive of the development of the Moroccan economy. It attracts 32% of the country's production units and 56% of industrial labor. The region uses 30% of the national electricity production. With MAD 93 billion, the region contributes to 44% of the Industrial production of the Kingdom. 33% of national industrial exportations, MAD 27 billions come from the Grand Casablanca. 30% of Moroccan banking network is concentrated in Casablanca.
One of the most important Casablancan exports is phosphate. Other industries include fishing, fish canning, sawmills, furniture production, building materials, glass, textiles, electronics, leather work, processed food, spirits, soft drinks, and cigarettes.
Almost the entire Casablanca waterfront is under development, mainly the construction of huge entertainment centres between the port and Hassan II Mosque, the Anfa Resort project near the business, entertainment and living centre of Megarama, the shopping and entertainment complex of Morocco Mall, as well as a complete renovation of the coastal walkway. The Sindbad park is planned to be totally renewed with rides, games and entertainment services.
Royal Air Maroc has its head office at the Casablanca-Anfa Airport. In 2004, it announced that it was moving its head office from Casablanca to a location in Province of Nouaceur, close to Mohammed V International Airport. The agreement to build the head office in Nouaceur was signed in 2009.
The population of Grand Casablanca was estimated in 2005 at 3.85 million. 98% live in urban areas. Around 25% of them are under 15 and 9% are over 60 years old. The population of the city is about 11% of the total population of Morocco. Grand Casablanca is also the largest urban area in the Maghreb. The number of inhabitants is however disputed by the locals, who point to a number between 5 and 6 million, citing recent drought years as a reason for many people moving into the city to find work.
Judaism in Casablanca
There was a Sephardic Jewish community in Anfa up to its destruction by the Portuguese in 1468. Jews were slow to return to the town, but by 1750 the Rabbi Elijah Synagogue was built as the first Jewish synagogue in Casablanca. It was destroyed along with much of the town in the 1755 Lisbon earthquake.
The French period Ville Nouvelle (New Town) of Casablanca was designed by the French architect Henri Prost, and was a model of a new town at that time. The main streets radiate south and east from Place des Nations Unies, previously the main market of Anfa. Former administrative buildings and modern hotels populate the area. Their style is a combination of Hispano-Mauresque and Art Deco.
Casablanca is home to the Hassan II Mosque, designed by the French architect Michel Pinseau. It is situated on a promontory on the Atlantic. The mosque has room for 25,000 worshippers inside, and a further 80,000 can be accommodated in the mosque's courtyard. Its minaret is the world's tallest at 210 metres. The mosque is also the largest in North Africa, and the third largest in the world.
Work on the mosque was started in 1980, and was intended to be completed for the 60th birthday of the former Moroccan king, Hassan II, in 1989. However, the building was not inaugurated until 1993. Authorities spent an estimated $800 million in the construction of the building.
The Parc de la Ligue Arabe (formally called Lyautey) is the city's largest public park. On its edge is the Casablanca Cathedral (Cathédrale Sacré-Coeur). It is no longer in use for religious purposes, but it is open for visitor and a splendid example of Mauresque architecture.
The Old Medina (the part of town pre-dating the French protectorate) attracts fewer tourists than the medinas of cities like Fes and Marrakech. However, it has undergone some restoration in recent years. Included in this project have been the western walls of the medina, its skala, or bastion, and its colonial-period clock tower.
A popular site among locals is the small island Marabout de Sidi Abderrahmane. It is possible to walk across to the rocky island at low tide. This outcrop contains the tomb of Sidi Abderrhamane Thaalibi, a Sufi from Baghdad and the founder of Algiers. He is considered a saint in Morocco. Because of this, many Moroccans make informal pilgrimages to this site "to reflect on life and to seek religious enlightenment". Some believe that the saint possessed magical powers and so his tomb still possesses these powers. People come and seek this magic in order to be cured. Non-Muslims may not enter the shrine.
- The Casablanca Technopark is an information technology Business cluster complex located at Casablanca, and was inaugurated in October 2001.
Casablanca's main airport is Mohammed V International Airport, Morocco's busiest airport. Regular domestic flights serve Marrakech, Rabat, Agadir, Oujda, and Tangier, Laayoune as well as other cities.
Casablanca is well served by international flights to Europe, especially French and Spanish airports, and has regular connections to North American, Middle Eastern and sub-Saharan African destinations. New York, Dakar and Dubai are important primary destinations.
The older, smaller Casablanca-Anfa Airport to the west of the city, that served certain destinations including Damascus, and Tunis, was largely closed to international civilian traffic in 2006. It currently services domestic flights and freight.
CTM coaches (intercity buses) and various private lines run services to most notable Moroccan towns as well as a number of European cities. These run from the Gare Routière on Rue Léon l'Africain in downtown Casablanca.
An underground railway system is currently being projected, which when constructed will potentially offer some relief to the problems of traffic congestion and poor air quality. The metro will not be ready before 2017, having a length of 10 km (6.21 mi) and costing 46.7 billion dirhams (approximately 5.8 billion USD). However, it should be noticed that none of the preparatory works for this project have started. In addition, no discussion of it has been observed in the media. The anecdote among Casablanca population is that "water is too near below, that they cannot dig tunnels."
Registered taxis in Casablanca are coloured red and known as petits taxis (small taxis), or coloured white and known as grands taxis (big taxis). As is standard Moroccan practice, petits taxis, typically small-four door Fiat Uno or similar cars, provide metered cab service in the central metropolitan areas. Grands taxis, generally older Mercedes-Benz sedans, provide shared mini-bus like service within the city on pre-defined routes, or shared inter-city service. Grands Taxis may also be hired for private service by the hour or day, although typically only foreigners do so.
Casablanca is served by two rail stations run by the national rail service, the ONCF. The main long haul station is Casa-Voyageurs, from which trains run south to Marrakech or El Jadida and north to Mohammedia and Rabat, and then on either to Tangier or Meknes, Fes, Taza and Oujda. A dedicated airport shuttle service to Mohammed V International Airport also has its primary in-city stop at this station, for connections on to further destinations.
The second station, Casa-Port, serves primarily commuter trains running the Casablanca - Kenitra corridor, with some connecting trains with running on to Gare de Casa-Voyageurs. www.oncf.ma
A tram system is currently under construction should open in December 2012.
Casablanca is a commune, part of the Region of the Grand Casablanca. The commune is divided into 8 districts (prefectures عمالات), which are themselves divided into 16 subdivisions (arrondissements دوائر) and 1 municipality (بلدية).
Administrative divisions of the Casablanca City Districts (fr: Préfectures d'arrondissement, ar: عمالة دوائر) Subdivisions (fr: Arrondissements, ar: دوائر) Municipalities (fr: Municipalités, ar: بلديات ) Area Population (2004) عين الشق
28.89 km2 (11.15 sq mi) 253,496 inhabitants عين السبع الحي المحمدي
Aïn Sebaâ-Hay Mohammadi
26.7 km2 (10.3 sq mi) 407,892 inhabitants الحي المحمدي
الصخور السوداء / روش نوار
Roches Noires (Assoukhour Assawda)
37.5 km2 (14.5 sq mi) 492,787 inhabitants المعاريف
10.27 km2 (3.97 sq mi). 285,879 inhabitants سباته
38.59 km2 (14.90 sq mi) 453,552 inhabitants سيدي مومن
الفداء - مرس السلطان
Al Fida-Mers Sultan
17.9 km2 (6.9 sq mi) 332,682 inhabitants مرس السلطان
25.91 km2 (10.00 sq mi) 323,277 inhabitants مولاي رشيد
13.38 km2 (5.17 sq mi) 384,044 inhabitants سيدي عثمان
Public Colleges and universities
- Académie Mohammed VI Internationale de l'Aviation Civile (AIAC)
- École Hassania des Travaux Publics (EHTP)
- École Nationale Supérieure d'Electricité et de Mécanique (ENSEM)
- École supérieure de technologie de Casablanca (EST)
- École nationale des pilotes de ligne (ENPL)
- École supérieure des industries du textile et de l'habillement (ESITH)
- École nationale de commerce et de gestion de Casablanca (ENCGC)
- École supérieure des beaux-arts de Casablanca (ESBAC)
- École royale navale (ERN)
- Institut supérieur d'études maritimes (ISEM)
- Institut supérieur de commerce et d'administration des entreprises (ISCAE)
- University of Hassan II - Ain Chock
- University of Hassan II - Mohammedia
Private high schools and colleges
- American Academy Casablanca
- Casablanca American School
- George Washington Academy
- Lycée Lyautey
- Nelson C. Brown High School
- Lycée Louis Massignon
Casablanca is home to two popular football clubs:
- Raja Club Athletic
- Wydad Athletic Club
Raja's symbol is an eagle. Traditionally, Derb Sultane's neighborhood is where most of its fans live. Wydad's symbol is a goose. Old Medina's neighborhood constitutes the center where most of its supporters reside. This separation of both these clubs by neighborhoods is not necessarily reliable in these days since members of the same families could support Raja or Wydad regardless of the location.
There are other football teams on top of these two big teams that are based in the city of Casablanca:
People born in Casablanca
- Salaheddine Bassir - Moroccan footballer
- Larbi Benbarek - Moroccan footballer
- Samy Meftoul - Moroccan footballer
- Jean-Paul Bertrand-Demanes - French footballer
- Jean-Charles de Castelbajac - French fashion designer
- Merieme Chadid - Moroccan astronomer
- Gad Elmaleh - Moroccan-French one man show humorist/actor
- Shatha Hassoun - Moroccan/Iraqi singer
- Hicham Mesbahi - Moroccan boxer
- Nawal El Moutawakel - Olympic champion
- Mostafa Nissaboury - Moroccan poet
- Hakim Noury - Moroccan film director
- Maurice Ohana - French composer
- Jean Reno - French Hollywood actor
- Alain Souchon - French songwriter
- Sidney Taurel - Naturalized American CEO of Eli Lilly and Company from 1998 to 2008
- Richard Virenque - French cyclist
- Abdallah Zrika - Moroccan poet
- Casablanca is the setting of the 1942 film of the same name starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. The film has achieved worldwide popularity since then, having also won three Oscars and been nominated in five additional categories.
- Casablanca is one of the key locations in the 2006 video game Dreamfall, as it is where the primary protagonist of the game, Zoë Castillo, lives.
- Casablanca is the setting for several chapters in Doubleshot, a 2000 James Bond novel by Raymond Benson. In the novel, one of the characters mentions that the 1942 film was shot in Hollywood and not on location.
- The city is featured in The Mysterious Caravan, Volume 54 in the original Hardy Boys series.
- A Night in Casablanca (1946) was the twelfth Marx Brothers' movie. The film stars Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, and Harpo Marx. It was directed by Archie Mayo and written by Joseph Fields and Roland Kibbee. The film contains the song "Who's Sorry Now?", with music by Ted Snyder and lyrics by Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby. It is sung in French by Lisette Verea playing the part of Beatrice Rheiner, and then later sung in English. Liszt's "Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2" is played twice, once by Chico on piano as an intro to the "Beer Barrel Polka", and again by Harpo on the harp.
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- Official web site of Casablanca
- Official Casablanca Tourism Website (French)
- Casablanca entry in Lexicorient
- Casablanca photo gallery (buildings and other landmarks with a history dating back to the French Protectorate)
Grand Casablanca regionCapital: Casablanca Provinces Cities Prefectures and provinces of Morocco Prefectures ProvincesAl Haouz · Al Hoceïma · Aousserd · Assa-Zag · Azilal · Ben Slimane · Béni-Mellal · Berkane · Boujdour · Boulemane · Chefchaouen · Chichaoua · Chtouka Aït Baha · El Hajeb · El Jadida · El Kelaa des Sraghna · Errachidia · Es Semara · Essaouira · Figuig · Guelmim · Ifrane · Jerada · Kénitra · Khémisset · Khénifra · Khouribg · Laâyoune · Larache · Médiouna · Moulay Yacoub · Nador · Nouaceur · Ouarzazate · Oued Eddahab · Safi · Sefrou · Settat · Sidi Kacem · Tan-Tan · Taounate · Taourirt · Taroudant · Tata · Taza · Tétouan · Tiznit · Zagora
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