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Casablanca

Casablanca, ‘ad-daar ‘al-bayDaa’ in Arabic, is located in Western Morocco on the Atlantic coast, and it is the biggest city in Morocco with a population exceeding three million people. Thanks to its strategic location, the port of Casablanca is considered the main port of Morocco, the largest port in North Africa, and the largest artificial port in the world.

The name Casablanca is originally Portuguese and it means “the white house.” The Portuguese influence started when Portugal conquered the city in the fifteenth century to put an end to the pirates that used the port as a base to attack Portuguese ships.

Spain and Portugal eventually abandoned the town after a great earthquake destroyed it along with the capital of Portugal, Lisbon, in 1755. The city was then rebuilt again under the Moroccan ruler Mohamed III who kept its name in Arabic as “the white house.”

A walk around Casablanca will demonstrate that which distinguishes it the most - its contrast between the exotic Old Town and the art deco design of New Town with its elegant, lavish, and ultra modern style.

In fact, Casablanca has an almost entirely art deco town called New Town and it is the largest collection of art deco architecture remaining in Morocco. The main streets of the New Town, its buildings, and architecture were designed by the French architect Henri Prost, and were a model of a new town at that time. In the midst of its hassle and noise, Casablanca has conserved its incredible charm, the combination of oriental Mauresque style and art deco architecture.

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