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Casablanca Nostalgia.

Snippets of Casablanca.

Casablanca Nostalgia.

October 2008.

I’m so glad I put aside some days to explore the underrated Moroccan metropolis of Casablanca. As I’ve hopefully shown in my previous articles, the city is well worth a trip. Even if one only takes a day to visit the wondrous Hassan II Mosque before enjoying dinner at the unmissable Rick’s Cafe. Luckily for me, I had several days to explore the city. Rounding up the best of the rest from my fourteen year old files, join me for some Casablanca Nostalgia.

Travel Morocco

Most of my visit played out on foot taking in the streets. One of the first sights we came upon was the grand but misleading form of Casablanca Cathedral. I say misleading because it was never actually a cathedral, due to the fact that Casablanca isn’t a bishopric seat. Constructed in 1930, it opened as Church of the Sacred Heart, but later became known by its cathedral nickname among locals and visitors.

Sacred Heart Cathedral Casablanca.

Casablanca Cathedral.

Casablanca was under French rule back in 1930. The local government, keen to stamp their authority on the city, brought in the celebrated Marseille-born architect Paul Tournon to lay out the cathedral. Its facade was (and is) quite the vision, an arresting combination of austere white concrete with Art Déco and Islamic flourishes.

The French architect Paul Tournon.

Paul Tournon (1881-1964).

However, there’s another reason that Casablanca Cathedral is a misleading sight. In fact, if you hadn’t heard before coming, you’d have no idea that the interior is predominantly gutted, the nave a largely empty shell. This is due to the fact that the church closed in 1956 shortly after Morocco gained independence.

Casablanca Nostalgia.

Casablanca Cathedral.

Casablanca Nostalgia.

Eventually, the Moroccan government transformed the church into a cultural centre. But at the time of my visit the building wasn’t open to the public outside of special events. As we trotted up the steps that day towards the main entrance, a security guard appeared to deliver the bad news.

Oh but wait… it seemed we might be in luck. All we had to do was place some Dirhams into his grubby hand and guess what, the structure would magically open for us. Thus we paid and I managed to grab a cheeky shot of him looking incredibly slimy and pleased with himself.

Sleazy security guard at Casablanca Cathedral


Inside, I was taken aback by just how stark the nave was. I had perhaps been expecting a few original artefacts on display. But it had truly been stripped from top to bottom, nothing left but its towering white columns and sparkling stained-glass windows. The latter are magnificent, the handiwork of French artists Florence Tournon-Branly (daughter of Paul Tournon), Jean Mamez and Louis Barillet.

Inside Casablanca Cathedral.

Casablanca Nostalgia.

With virtually nothing to see, we made our way up the main staircase for what I’d read were fine rooftop views across the city. “Be careful, many broken stone”, called Mr. Security, nonchalantly. He wasn’t kidding. The entire affair was quite unpleasant, with loose steps, discarded litter, shards of glass and an overpowering stench of pigeon shit. Around halfway, we exchanged nods with a Moroccan party who were on their way back down.

Church of the Sacred Heart.

Climbing the stairs to the roof at Casablanca Cathedral

Casablanca Nostalgia.

Happily, we were rewarded for our vexatious ascent as we emerged onto the small, rubbly rooftop balcony. Namely with fresh air and fine sweeping views across Casablanca in all directions. That’s a section of Arab League Park pictured below.

Visit Casablanca city views from atop Casablanca Cathedral

Views from the cathedral rooftop. 

It was so peaceful up there we decided to stay for a bit, taking in the city from all angles. And of course it was fun to pick out the ubiquitous minaret of Hassan II Mosque in the distance. Just the day before we had been touring its spectacular interior.

The Casablanca Skyline October 2008.

Hassan II Mosque. It’s here… it’s there… it’s seemingly everywhere.

The views had, at least, justified the backhander we’d paid to the warden. If memory serves me well I gave him around 60 Dirhams. That’s just under £5/$6. Too much, but hey.

Here's Looking at You Casablanca.

Casablanca Nostalgia.

Before heading back down the skanky stairs, I made sure to photograph one of the gutted bell towers. And tried to imagine what it was like here back in the 1940s with the bells ringing out across the city. A large chunk of Casablanca’s then 40.000-strong Catholic community streaming inside for a morning service.

Casablanca Nostalgia.

Remains of the Bell Tower Casablanca Cathedral

What happened to the bell?

From the cathedral it was just a ten-minute walk to Place Mohammed V, Casablanca’s grandest city square. Built in 1920 by the French, some locals refer to it as Square of Many Names.  

Visit Morocco Place Mohammed V in Casablanca

Casablanca Nostalgia.

Some of these include Victory Square (a reference to both French colonialism and Moroccan independence), Pigeon Square (for obvious reasons) and Marshal Lyautey Square. Hubert Lyautey was a French army general and Minister of War who became known as “The French Empire builder”. If you think he sounds like a piece of work, check out his 1927 portrait. 

Portrait of Hubert Lyautey 1927.

Hubert Lyautey: “a character”.

Place Mohammed V is home to some of Casablanca’s most handsome and notable buildings. Pictured below is the Palace of Justice (Court House), a gorgeous Art Deco structure with Persian elements built in 1925. The cannon and palm trees, added in recent years, polish off its dramatic look.

Visit Casablanca Palace of Justice.

Place Mohammed V.

Moreover, the square houses Casablanca Post Office (1918) and the former City Hall (pictured below), now known as the Wilaya Building. Built between 1928 and 1937, this emblematic edifice features traditional Moroccan Makhzen stone, plaster and tile work, along with a Venetian-inspired clock tower.

Today it continues to serve as a government administrative centre. Unfortunately, I was unable to get anywhere near the main entrance. Rather, a pair of eagle-eyed armed guards proceeded to wave me away as soon as they spotted my approach.

Casablanca Nostalgia.

Hotel de Ville Snippets of Casablanca.

Casablanca Nostalgia.

It was on Place Mohammed V that I met a pair of local men dressed as traditional water sellers (guerrabs). For centuries, the water carrier played a key role in water trade in the country’s desert regions. Furthermore, they were active in key cities such as Casablanca, Marrakech and Rabat, taking and making water deliveries to families living in the Old Medina market neighbourhoods. With bells and brass cups wrapped around their bodies, you’d hear them coming from afar.

Traditional water carrier in Morocco.

A traditional Moroccan Guerrab.

Photo courtesy of Steve Evans. 

Today, water carriers still sell water from bottles stored in goatskin bags. But they are mainly on hand for photographs in exchange for coins. The guys I met were typical pests, dripping with charm in the beginning with the usual disingenuous “How are you my friend?” and “Oooooh London, so beautiful, I have a cousin living in…”.

But then, when the small talk was over and the photo done, they got all aggressive. Unhappy with the amount of money I’d given, they demanded more, and even made a fuss about returning my camera. What a pity.

Water Carrier in traditional dress Casablanca

Casablanca Nostalgia.

One of the great joys of Casablanca is the market scene. The city has more markets than you can shake a stick at, and I managed to tick off a bunch of them. At Maarif Market, in Quartier Gauthier, the atmosphere was so drowsy I was able to photograph some of the carefully constructed fruit and veg stalls at my own pace. Nobody bothered me.

Maarif Market.

Maarif Market Snippets of Casablanca.

Maarif Market

Later, at The Great Habous Olive Market, we saw what felt like just about every kind of olive imaginable. I had once tried olives as a kid, but had been so repulsed by them I declared never to eat another. In this market the stall owners virtually insisted that I try some of their free samples, hence I ended up having a few nibbles.

Much to my surprise, this is when I realised that olives aren’t so bad after all! The market also has some of the country’s best oil and a wide range of meat and fish. Be warned though, you may also come across the grisly sight of a camel’s head hanging on a hook. I’ll spare you the photo.

Habous Olive Market Snippets of Casablanca

Casablanca Nostalgia.

I also popped into Central Market, in operation since 1917. Built on the site of the spectacular Casablanca Fair of 1915, it is an architectural delight with a Moorish Revival design and dramatic imperial style gateways.

Visiting Central Market in Casablanca.

Entering Central Market from Muhammad V Boulevard.

Central Market has a long and colourful history. Even if you’re not up for buying some swordfish, it’s fun to simply stroll around imagining the stories that have played out here over the last century.

Take, for example, the events of Christmas Eve 1953 when the Moroccan resistance fighter Muhammad Zarqtuni bombed the market. Killing 19 people, his act was in protest of the French forcing Sultan Muhammad VI into exile. Zarqtuni was subsequently captured and imprisoned before committing suicide by cyanide tablet.

Casablanca Nostalgia.

Swordfish stall Central Market Casablanca

Central Market.

For me, the main fun of Central Market was gawping at all the food I had no interest in trying. Swordfish… shark… horse… camel… oysters. It is definitely not a place for vegans, vegetarians or indeed anyone prone to squeamishness.

Horse meat stall at Central Market in Casablanca

Casablanca Nostalgia.

Also in this category were the boxes and boxes of turtles. Initially, I thought they too were a culinary treat. Though according to several vendors they are more popular as pets. Nevertheless, at least several of the turtles I saw seemed to be doing everything they could to escape whatever fate awaited them.

Turtles for sale at Central Market Snippets of Casablanca


Finally, there is the king of Casablanca markets, set in and around the sprawling Old Medina neighbourhood. Here, you can get your hands on pretty much anything, from bags, rugs, wooden handicrafts and clothing, to kitschy souvenirs, paintings, electrical goods and silverware.

Casablanca Nostalgia.

The Old Medina Snippets of Casablanca.

Casablanca Nostalgia.

I found the Old Medina an intoxicating affair, the air punctuated with spices, mint tea and traditional Moroccan dishes. I got to add another “no thank you” to Casablanca’s culinary offerings as I passed several vendors tending to large pans of boiled snails. To be fair, I’d actually tried snails before, but had no desire for a repeat performance.

Boiled snails in the Old Medina Casablanca

Casablanca’s Old Medina.

Instead, we took some tea and baklava in the graceful Cafe Central. Housed in a former colonial townhouse as part of Hotel Central, the building simply oozes nostalgic charm. Though it has to be said that everything was a little rough around the edges. Even today, it seems, as reviews are patchy and the old place retains just a two-star status.

Cafe Central Snippets of Casablanca.

Cafe Central.

Above all, The Old Medina is the best place in the city to catch glimpses of pre-colonial times. Getting away from the main shopping streets and rambling souks, I discovered a beguiling network of residential side streets. Dusty, quiet and channeling a forlorn dignity, there are some wonderfully characterful old houses and apartment blocks with wobbly balconies and creaky, flaky doors.

Casablanca Nostalgia.

Sleeping cat in Casablanca's Old Medina.

Nap time in the Old Medina.

Delving further into what felt very much like the heart of authentic Casablanca, we came across parts of the ancient city walls. Narrow streets came and went, home to ramshackle pharmacies, sewing workshops, cart-pulling donkeys and hole-in-the-wall barbers.

Hole in the wall Hairdresser Old Medina Casablanca

Casablanca Nostalgia.

On another nameless street, in between two mammoth rows of high-rise apartments, I stopped to watch a group of teenagers engaged in a football match in the road. I knew nothing about Moroccan football at the time, though that was soon to change when, five months later, Adel Taarabt signed for my beloved QPR.

Adel Taarabt Queens Park Rangers FC

My brother and I with the great Adel Taarabt.

Labelled “the Moroccan magician”, he is the best player I’ve ever seen at my club, despite largely wasting what should have been a phenomenal career. And of course, in the years that have passed, Morocco’s national team has blossomed nicely. Culminating in this year’s incredible semi-final finish at The World Cup in Qatar. These guys though, pictured below, would’ve had no inkling of such glories back in 2008.

Teens playing football in the street Casablanca

Casablanca Nostalgia.

Elsewhere, one of my favourite discoveries was the rotting carcass of Hotel Lincoln, once one of Casablanca’s most luxurious Art Deco hotels. Opened in 1916, it was home to visiting politicians and the occasional king and queen. The hosting venue for national meetings, high profile seminars and lavish celebrations. Gradually though, the old girl fell into disrepair. And then shut down permanently when one of its floors collapsed following a heavy rainstorm.

Hotel Lincoln.

The abandoned Hotel Lincoln

The old Hotel Lincoln.

While researching for this article I discovered that, at long last, The Lincoln is due to reopen in 2025 after a colossal restoration project. In fact, the Radisson Hotel Group is responsible for the ambitious refit that will see it returned to (and probably even surpass) its former grandeur.

Lincoln Casablanca a Radisson Collection Hotel

The new Hotel Lincoln. Gonna look something like this.

I’ll cap this piece with a look at another of my favourite Casablanca restaurants. You can find Cafe Maure in the city’s trendy port area. It is beautifully crafted within the walls of an old 18th century fortification, with a lovely stone courtyard, resplendent mosaic tiling and tables nestled between lush trees and plants.

Visit Morocco Cafe Maure

Cafe Maure, Casablanca.

Cafe Maure has a reputation for some of the finest seafood in the city. Still, I couldn’t see past a traditional Lamb Couscous. Similarly, S opted for a hearty chicken tajine. Both dishes hit the spot, the ambience was great and the service efficient. Thanks Cafe Maure, for ending my Casablanca adventure on a high!

Dinner at Cafe Maure

Casablanca Nostalgia.

Like this? Check out more of my travel articles on Morocco.

I’ve been living, working and traveling all over the world since 2001. So why not check out my huge library of travel reports from over 30 countries.

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  • ijustwannahop_the traveling poet

    The traditional garb is very unique , I’ve never seen clothes with what looks like bowls attached. Was the trip expensive?

    February 5, 2023 - 2:25 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Hey, thanks for reading and leaving a comment. Yes, the costumes are quite eye-catching and unique. This trip was over fifteen years ago, so can’t remember exact details about costs. But Morocco was (and is) pretty cheap on the whole, even if one dines out at good restaurants. Entrance fees to museums and gardens are very cheap and shopping in the soups can be as economical as your haggling skills allow.

      February 5, 2023 - 3:51 pm Reply
  • kagould17

    You did hit a lot of highlights for sure, Leighton. That cathedral is indeed a bit of a shock, but as a symbol of colonialism, I can understand why it is the way it is. The views from the top were great, but like you, I am not a fan of tourist spots where everyone seems to have their hand out. They often overpromise and under deliver. The markets look fabulous. Glad you tried the olives again. They are an acquired taste for sure. Thanks for sharing and have a great Sunday. Allan

    February 5, 2023 - 4:17 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Hey Allan, yeah I also understand why they left the cathedral in such a state. I don’t think I have ever seen a church interior like that. Looking back, the water carriers were amusing and I was too wet-behind-the-ears to simply give them a polite nod and move on the moment they approached me. Thanks for reading!

      February 5, 2023 - 5:57 pm Reply
  • Memo

    Thanks for the tour. I would love to visit. The markets are so colorful and I enjoy samples. Curious as to what camel would taste like. It sounds stringy and gamey but I’d guess they probably know some way to prepare it. My favorite shot in this collection is the one with the cat sleeping in the doorway. Really captures the atmosphere.

    February 5, 2023 - 4:41 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      The doorway cat is one of my favourites too Memo, probably from that whole Morocco trip. Camel stew? One has to wonder… Thanks for checking out my Casablanca nostalgia, Memo.

      February 5, 2023 - 6:04 pm Reply
  • anoush

    I love your descriptions of the Old Medina and its forlorn dignity. The markets of Casablanca sound equally fascinating. I find that these days it is increasingly difficult to find places that have not been blogged about to the last minute detail, everyone’s been there, and they all know what you should see and do to make the most of your stay in the place. Casablanca feels a bit different, and it seems that for you it was a spontaneous and enjoyable discovery. I too love the shot of the cat in front of the peeling door.

    February 5, 2023 - 5:34 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Aw thanks, Anoush. Casablanca does seem a little under-blogged, at least beyond Hassan II Mosque and Rick’s. No “bucket list” items I guess and obviously selfie-tastic Instagram opportunities. Or maybe I’m being a bit too cynical. Appreciate you reading about my Casablanca nostalgia!

      February 5, 2023 - 6:11 pm Reply
  • bronlima

    Upstaging the water seller haha

    February 5, 2023 - 6:05 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      I bet she didn’t get drawn into an overpriced photo.

      February 5, 2023 - 6:12 pm Reply
      • bronlima

        No, they paid to have their photos taken with her!

        February 5, 2023 - 6:13 pm
  • Stan

    a fun round up of casablanca’s gentle delights. which brings me back to that australian mentioned in your first casa article. he was wrong. thanks leighton i hope greek island life is treating you well.

    February 5, 2023 - 6:16 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Yo Stan! Greek island life has been great up until today when some pretty evil weather descended. What can you do? Yes, Aussie guy was categorically wrong. Casablanca is unlikely to blow anyone’s mind, but it is an interesting city with plenty to see and do if one can be bothered to look. Hope all is well, will drop you a WhatsApp soon.

      February 5, 2023 - 6:20 pm Reply
  • wetanddustyroads

    The beautiful sparkling stained glass windows and views of the city from the top was probably worth the few(!) Dirhams. Lovely buildings at the square and the story of the traditional water sellers is interesting (although their attitude stinks)! Oh, and we love markets (and I learned that olives are especially good when enjoyed with a bottle of wine 😉). I loved your walk through the old Medina … maybe it’s more like the real Casablanca (and the perfect end to your introduction to this city). Thanks for the tour Leighton!

    February 5, 2023 - 6:29 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Hey, Corna. Yeah, I have no regrets about the cathedral, it was worth getting inside just to soak up some of its strange history. The views from the top were decent, if not spectacular. Those water sellers… human greed is such an ugly thing. The Medina is mostly delightful, albeit a little rough around the edges. But hey, that’s the real Casablanca! Thanks so much for keeping up with my chapters on this Moroccan city. Marrakech next, a much more relatable place in many respects.

      February 5, 2023 - 6:54 pm Reply
  • salsaworldtraveler

    Casablanca has some very interesting sights like that incredibly unique mosque and cathedral. Your posts took us on a fascinating tour of a city that supposedly had nothing to see. My love for the movie makes Casablanca a must see if I get to Morocco. It would be a chance to try out some of the lines form the movie. Like ‘I came to Casablanca for the waters,” dropping hints about being friends of Rick to get a good price in the market, “are my eyes really brown,” and of course “here’s looking at you” among others. 😄

    February 5, 2023 - 6:39 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks John, it felt good to give Casablanca a bit of online love. Reading your comment makes me wonder if I should have done a bit more quoting while I was in the city ha ha.

      February 5, 2023 - 7:01 pm Reply
  • Mike and Kellye Hefner

    Again, Leighton, you have captured the essence of a place. I feel like I was walking with you through the streets of Casablanca. I find the cathedral so beautifully sad, the food markets so appealingly organized, and the people perhaps not so appealing because of their greediness. One of my biggest worries about international travel is the food. Snails – no thanks. Like you, I have had them, but once was enough. I am always amazed that you find good food that you like no matter where you are. Have a great week ahead.

    February 5, 2023 - 7:02 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks so much for following me every step of the way through my Casablanca adventures, Kellye. I’ve always been pretty open when it comes to food. I can probably count on one hand the stuff that I truly cannot abide. That’s snails, liver, corn, shellfish, coleslaw and celery. With other stuff (like camel) I simply think: “Ah, it’s not necessary for me to try this”. I agree about the cathedral, there is a definite sadness to it.

      February 5, 2023 - 7:11 pm Reply
      • Mike and Kellye Hefner

        It’s always my pleasure to “travel” with you, Leighton. I never fail to learn something or see something new. No to the camel for me too!

        February 6, 2023 - 8:01 pm
  • Little Miss Traveller

    I’d like a wander through the Medina and staying at The Lincoln when it reopens would be rather nice too Leighton.

    February 5, 2023 - 7:18 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      The new Lincoln should be impressive Marion. I hope that they’ll do it the right way by honouring the history and authenticity of the original.

      February 5, 2023 - 7:22 pm Reply
      • Little Miss Traveller

        I’m sure they will – hotels are big on heritage these days thank goodness. How is life on Naxos?

        February 5, 2023 - 7:28 pm
      • Leighton

        We are doing ok but currently experiencing some pretty evil weather. A huge storm has descended, hoping to get through it unscathed. Hope all is well with you!

        February 5, 2023 - 7:33 pm

    It’s seriously hard to imagine anyone choosing baklava over snails! Seriously? Baklava is so sickly sweet….only (half) kidding. But wholeheartedly agree with the joy of markets in Morocco, up there with the best

    February 5, 2023 - 11:25 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Ha ha. I think if you were to hold some kind of global survey that simply says: “snails or baklava?” … 😉 However, I would say that even for someone with an incurable sweet tooth like myself baklava is indeed very, very sweet. I can only ever manage a single piece in any given sitting. Thanks for checking in, hope your new adventure is going well.

      February 6, 2023 - 10:07 am Reply
  • Rebecca

    Glad to read more about your time in Casablanca, Leighton. I enjoy these snapshots of places and experiences you encountered, some of which I similarly experienced during my time in Morocco a few years ago…I could never get over the fact that there were so many con artists pretending to be “security” or “the police” for money (some scammers were even children!); maybe it’s the fact that Morocco’s still a relative-poor country, but it irritated me that these people were out and about preying on vulnerable tourists. Same goes for the animals for sale or for entertainment purposes; it especially broke my heart to see baby baboons with merchants either being sold to people or used for street performances…and don’t get me started on the camels (although I’m ashamed to admit that I rode a camel during my time in Morocco…). Goes to show that cultures can be so different from country to country, and to recognize just how different we have it in our respective home countries.

    February 6, 2023 - 1:06 am Reply
    • Leighton

      It’s funny you should mention the animal side of things, as there’ll be a part in my next article about the snake charmers of Marrakesh. Regretfully, I allowed myself to get sucked in. All part of the learning curve I guess as we experience more about travel and the world. I’m glad this article spoke to you Rebecca, albeit bringing home a few things about the less desirable aspects of travel.

      February 6, 2023 - 10:11 am Reply
  • Lyssy In The City

    Lots of interesting sights to see! The guard sure does look slimy with that awful smirk. At least the views from the top look pretty!

    February 6, 2023 - 3:07 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Mr. Guard was absolutely delighted with himself. Money for nothing, pretty much.

      February 6, 2023 - 10:12 am Reply
  • Travels Through My Lens

    You certainly covered a lot of ground in Casablanca! The views from the cathedral roof are stunning; I was glad to hear you made it up and down the precarious steps safely. The water sellers though, sheesh! The olives look delicious, poor little turtles though. Thanks for the great overview!

    February 6, 2023 - 7:01 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Hey Tricia, yes not too much ‘health and safety’ going on at Casablanca Cathedral. That’s what you get I guess when you want to check out a building that is half ruinous and unmaintained. I was also thinking about how exhausting it must be for those water sellers. Constantly on the lookout for a sucker. The energy that has to go into badgering people for more. Changing the price, keeping up the empty chatter and all the little tricks like keeping hold of someone’s camera, or “I have no change” and all the rest of it. And never once stopping to think: “Ugh, I am a terrible person”. Maybe they were really poor, but it certainly didn’t appear that way

      February 6, 2023 - 10:18 am Reply
      • Travels Through My Lens

        Agreed. Like most people, we’ve crossed paths with people like the water sellers in our travels and I’m always amazed with their tenacity.

        February 6, 2023 - 3:29 pm
  • qprgary

    Never made it to Casablanca as looks more interesting than Marrakesh, as for Adel like you said what could he have become

    February 6, 2023 - 10:42 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Easily the best player I’ve ever seen at Loftus Road, having been born after the days of Stan Bowles. Such a pity, I’m sure he will look back one day and have a regret or two.

      February 6, 2023 - 10:46 am Reply
      • qprgary

        Oh good grief I go back to Springet, Keen and Lazarus and I think Bedford up front 1962 first season for me

        February 6, 2023 - 4:51 pm
  • Alan - secretdalmatia

    We go to Marakech every year for business but we’ll definitely have to stop at Casablanca after seeing all this! Thx!

    February 6, 2023 - 10:28 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks so much for reading Alan, and for leaving a message. Marrakesh every year sounds not too shabby.

      February 6, 2023 - 10:30 pm Reply
  • Monkey's Tale

    It is strange to see such a large ‘cathedral’ be completely stripped inside, good to hear the building is being used now at least. But now, I have to go to Casablanca for the olive market! I would be in heaven!! Maggie

    February 7, 2023 - 2:40 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Ah, you’re an olive fan Maggie. Yes, I would imagine you could go crazy in Casablanca. Thanks for reading!

      February 7, 2023 - 9:18 am Reply
  • WanderingCanadians

    Sounds like another interesting day of exploring the sights and the food. Just wondering how the bribe went down. Was it the guide that mentioned he’d look the other way for you to enter the Casablanca Cathedral for a small price? The interior of the cathedral looks so clean and crisp with those white columns, but it’s a shame that it was gutted and is largely empty now. And that sounds like one rough climb up to the rooftop, but at least the views were lovely.

    February 7, 2023 - 12:32 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      The bribe was suggested by the man pretty much immediately. It was “closed…. but…”. What a scoundrel. He must have done pretty well for himself overall. Thanks for reading!

      February 7, 2023 - 6:59 pm Reply
      • WanderingCanadians

        No kidding, especially since you saw other people inside too!

        February 8, 2023 - 2:59 pm
  • grandmisadventures

    Casablanca is one of those places that I know the name and the movie that it inspired, but actually knew next to nothing about the place itself. What a great tour to follow you on today! I’m so glad that when the cathedral that is not actually a cathedral was gutted, that they at least had the sense to leave those beautiful stained glass windows. And the water sellers- that was interesting to read about. Too bad though that they turned slimy salesmens too though. I realize how I’m not an adventurous food person though when I read about markets like that because I would probably be saying no thank you a lot and then feeling sad for the turtles or animals that may or may not be dinner. Oh but that incredible architecture everywhere-made all the better for being just a little bit peeling here and there 🙂

    February 7, 2023 - 5:27 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks so much for checking out these hodgepodge Casablanca bits, Meg. On the one hand the city definitely can’t compete with the likes of Marrakech (coming next). But I have always had a soft spot for these unloved places and their understated sights. As for the food, I think Casablanca could challenge even the most open-minded eaters ha ha.

      February 7, 2023 - 7:06 pm Reply
  • agndoden

    Nice, I love it!!!

    February 7, 2023 - 7:44 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for your comment.

      February 7, 2023 - 7:54 pm Reply
  • travelling_han

    That cathedral interior really surprised me – I don’t think I’ve ever seen one so white and bright and bare. I wouldn’t be able to eat anything at that market and would be running back to Ricks again hahaaa! Thanks for taking us on your Casablanca adventures.

    February 8, 2023 - 6:24 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Casablanca Cathedral is definitely a unique church experience, and if I had to guess I’d say the interior looks exactly the same today, fifteen years after my visit. Eating at Rick’s every night actually wouldn’t be a terrible idea! Although one’s bank balance might disagree. Thanks for the catchup Han!

      February 8, 2023 - 7:11 pm Reply
  • rkrontheroad

    Surprised to see camel on your list of meats to be eaten in the market. I didn’t know about that!

    February 8, 2023 - 9:01 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      I was equally taken aback. Firstly, I wasn’t expecting even to see camel meat for sale. But to come face to face with a giant grisly head was quiet the moment I can tell you. The store owner saw the funny side though, having clocked my reaction.

      February 8, 2023 - 9:04 pm Reply
      • rkrontheroad

        I’m so glad you didn’t post a photo of that!!

        February 8, 2023 - 9:12 pm
  • NortheastAllie

    Thank you for sharing the interesting history of this area. The Central Market seems like an awesome area to explore too!

    February 9, 2023 - 9:19 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks Allie, I’m glad you enjoyed this wrap-up of Casablanca bits. There’s always plenty going on at Central Market.

      February 9, 2023 - 9:39 pm Reply
  • Ayi Ariquater

    Nice piece

    February 10, 2023 - 5:26 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Thank you.

      February 10, 2023 - 7:35 am Reply
  • Juliette

    I loved reading about your adventures in Casablanca! There are so many things I didn’t know about the city’s history, so thanks for all those interesting facts as well. That cathedral almost seems like some sort of “modern” church, even though it was built almost a century ago. Stepping inside must have felt a bit weird too, but the views seemed to be absolutely worth it! I always love food markets in every country, but I feel like they are especially great in Mediterranean countries – though I may be a bit biased ahah!

    February 10, 2023 - 7:19 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Ha ha, biased but not necessarily wrong 😉 Thanks for checking out my Casablanca Nostalgia Juliette.

      February 10, 2023 - 8:50 pm Reply
  • Priti


    February 11, 2023 - 4:56 pm Reply
  • ourcrossings

    I travel frequently and there aren’t many countries offering as many diverse experiences as Morocco. Sometimes I get bored during our trips because some places are only good for food, sightseeing or sunbathing. But Marrakech, OMG! every second of your visit will be an exploration.

    Your post brings back very happy memories from our trip to Morocco a few years ago. Once there, I couldn’t believe that I waited an odd 30+ years to finally explore it – especially given how close it is located to Europe – if you live a few hours away from Morocco, you can even hop on a plane for a weekend and you’ll be amazed at what you will be able to do in those 48 hours. Thanks for sharing and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

    February 12, 2023 - 1:57 pm Reply
  • Leighton

    I’m glad you enjoyed your time in Morocco Aiva, thanks for checking in.

    February 12, 2023 - 2:09 pm Reply
  • Casablanca Nostalgia. – Fun World 🌍

    […] Casablanca Nostalgia. […]

    February 13, 2023 - 9:49 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for the repost.

      February 13, 2023 - 9:50 am Reply
  • De Mobi’s

    I love this

    February 15, 2023 - 12:53 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for your comment.

      February 15, 2023 - 9:54 am Reply
  • bter

    glad I discover your blog recently, thanks a lot

    March 22, 2023 - 11:09 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for the kind words!

      March 23, 2023 - 9:18 am Reply
  • Toonsarah

    Fascinating look at a Moroccan city I’ve yet to visit (but would like to). The cathedral looks impressive – that stained glass alone would have been worth the ‘tip’ to me! But the old parts look the most interesting, with the faded grandeur and loads of character 😀

    March 27, 2023 - 12:57 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Yes, the old town definitely steals the show I’d say. Casablanca doesn’t get much love from many travellers, I’m not sure why. The mosque is spectacular, dinner at Rick’s is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and the Old Quarter is positively charming. And of course, as my article hopefully shows, there’s so much more. Thanks for checking in, Sarah.

      March 27, 2023 - 1:33 pm Reply

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