The city of Marrakesh was founded in 1062 by Abu Bakr ibn Umar, but Berber farmers had been living in the area since the Neolithic times.
Casablanca had two different names in the past. Prior to the seventh century B.C., it was called Anfa, and after the fifteenth century A.D., the Portuguese renamed it Casa Branca, which meant White House.
The roles of the two cities are quite different. During World War II, Casablanca became the city where the Casablanca Conference was held. Both Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt met to discuss how the war was going.
Casablanca’s landscape is flat and the city contains the Bouskoura forest and a small creek called oued Bouskoura. Most of the trees in Casablanca lie within the forest.
Marrakesh’s landscape is completely different, as the city lies near the base of the Atlas Mountains. Marrakesh also has numerous trees throughout the city including orange, fig, pomegranate, olive, and more.
The weather in the both the cities is slightly different as well. Casablanca receives more rain and the temperatures are cooler. Marrakesh is a little drier throughout the year and the temperatures are much warmer.
When people visit both these cities, they will find plenty to keep them busy.
Top Attractions in Marrakesh
Medina (Old City)
The district of Medina is a favorite amongst visitors, due to the narrow alleys, multiple scents, and the array of activities taking place there.
Many people find themselves spending an entire day in Medina just wandering around and having no specific destination in mind.
Of course, in between all that wandering, people can stop in one of the numerous shops to pick up local items including shoes, perfumes, and spices.
This mosque is the most famous landmark in Marrakesh. The minaret is seventy meters tall and can be seen from places miles away.
The mosque was built in 1162 and according to the local legend, the muezzin for the mosque had to be blind, because the minaret overlooked the ruler’s harem.
Only Muslims are allowed to enter the prayer hall in this Mosque, but non-Muslims can appreciate the rest of the space.
The Saadian Tombs are on a sixteenth century burial ground and sixty-six members of the Saadian dynasty are buried there.
The mausoleums sit amongst gardens that are overgrown and people will be able to see a mihrab, or prayer niche, inside the main mausoleum.
Dar Si Said Museum of Moroccan Arts and Crafts
This museum is located inside a beautiful and old palace that was built by Vizier Si Said.
Inside the museum, visitors can see Berber jewelry, Taroudant oil lamps, pottery artifacts, marble, carpets, and embroidered leather.
The architectural style of Morocco can be seen throughout the palace, but especially in the traditional Moroccan doors and window frames.
Top Attractions in Casablanca
Hassan II Mosque
This mosque has dominated the entire city since its completion in 1993, when it also became the second largest mosque in the entire world.
Approximately twenty-five thousand people can be inside the prayer hall at the same time and the courtyard will hold an additional eighty thousand people.
The details inside and outside the mosque are quite intricate as is its location on the edge of the rocky bay near the ocean.
Non-Muslims are allowed to visit the mosque during certain times of the day as long as they are taking one of the guided tours.
Place Mohamed V
Place Mohamed V is a central plaza within the city of Casablanca and it is where many of the important buildings of the city are located.
Inside the plaza is a fountain as well as gardens that are well-kept. Many people find themselves drawn to the plaza during the evening hours to walk and visit with friends.
Cathedral du Scare Coeur
This cathedral was built during the 1930s, but since no one paid much attention to it over the years, it is in dire needs of repairs.
Despite the current condition of the cathedral, people will find themselves awestruck if they manage to catch a glimpse of the inside.
Visitors must visit Casablanca’s Central Market, as it is the best way to experience the city life. Many of the locals can be found at the market selling food, dishes, slippers, and more.
Anyone who is exploring Marrakesh and Casablanca will find themselves hungry and interested in the local foods that they are smelling as they are wandering around.
There are numerous local dishes that are amazing, but no one should leave the country without having a taste or two of the these following foods:
• B’ssara – soup made with dried beans and drizzled with olive oil and cumin
• Harira – soup made with tomatoes, lentils, chickpeas, and lamb
• Couscous – a tiny wheat pasta that is usually served over meat and surrounded with vegetables
• B’stilla – pastry layers are filled with pigeon meat, almonds, and eggs to make a pie
• Mint tea – the most popular drink in the area and it is usually sweetened with a lot of sugar
Where to Eat in Marrakesh
Food stalls are everywhere on the streets in Marrakesh, and visitors need to know that every meal will contain bread and tea. Those are two staples that everyone must be prepared to eat at every meal.
The bread is used in place of silverware and the tea helps people digest the food.
Nomad can be a little tricky to find, since people need to venture along narrow streets to get there.
People will find multiple items on the menu and they all include a unique twist that makes them different from traditional Moroccan foods.
The best seat in the house at this restaurant is on the top terrace where guests can look out onto the main square.
The simple Moroccan meals are quite filling and the ambiance is calm and relaxing, whether a person sits inside or out.
Where to Eat in Casablanca
La Bodega is a tapa bar that is loud, full of laughter, and widely popular.
The upstairs is the loudest, yet the noise decreases as people venture downstairs where the disco dancing takes place in the basement.
Le Petit Roche
This restaurant is next to the El Hank Lighthouse, which makes it the perfect romantic evening adventure.
There are numerous seating areas with low tables scattered around the first level.
The tapas, seafood, and paella is delicious, but many people find themselves there to drink and dance the night away.
There is no better place to eat a meal that consists of fish than Marche Central.
There are numerous restaurants to choose from, but no one should expect elegance while dining at any of them.
People should however expect the fish served with their heads and tails intact and accompanied with chopped onion and tomatoes.
Both Marrakesh and Casablanca are wonderful cities to visit and people will find themselves busy from the time they arrive in the country until it is time for them to leave. Everyone will find that they are having more fun than they could have imagined, which means that they will plan a return trip sooner rather than later.