Casablanca, Day 08: Finishing up Downtown

Casablanca Travel Blog

 › entry 76 of 92 › view all entries

I start my day, of course, on Anfa Boulevard and head back into downtown to look for some more old French buildings. I soon come across a shady little square, so…

           
Music Spot 30: Square behind Hyatt Hotel, Rating ***

            Shady, quiet, but reeks of urine…

 

I finish up and head towards one of my favorite strips in Casablanca: Mohammed V Boulevard.  Here’s where you can find some of the best preserved French buildings as you stroll down the cool arcades… You’ve got to take it slow or you might walk right past one of Casablanca’s architectural treasures…

 

To the side are a couple of “Passages”--  indoor shopping alleys, where you can buy electronic gadgets…

 

A very cosmopolitan stretch with people from all walks of life rubbing shoulders and bustling to and fro…

 

I ask someone about why there hasn’t been more concern to preserve the architecture and I’m told that back in the 80s there was no regulation whatsoever and anybody could demolish a historical building and slap together a modern one in its place… Now things are a bit more regulated--  but a lot of the damage has already been done.

 

Discovery 069: Mohammed V Avenue Market

 

This is one of Casablanca’s fancier markets with an elaborately decorated entrance…

 

070: Lincoln Hotel Ruins

 

This was once Casablanca’s landmark masterpieces, and is now just crumbling ruins.  For me it sort of epitomizes the lack of concern for architectural preservation here in Casablanca.  You can still get a fleeting glimpse of what a glorious structure this used to be. 

It combines French and Moroccan styles, with French balconies and Moroccan window and beautiful Arabesque eaves…

 

071: Derb Omar Blanket and Rug Market

 

I continue on up the boulevard, sneaking up a couple of side streets to see if there are any hidden gems I’m missing… to where I find a little plaza where I pull out my guitar--  but my session is cut short by a couple of drunk guys that won’t shut up, demanding that I play some Cat Stevens… Finally I give up and move on…

 

At the end of the arcade strip, I decide to head north… Now that I’m about finished with Downtown, I want to pick up where I left off in exploring the north of Casablanca

 

On my way I pass through Derb Omar once again, with fellows scurrying in and out of the little warehouses carrying boxes to load onto the trucks parked in the street… I check out the blanket and rug market--  a large indoor market that pretty much just sells blankets and rugs…

 

072: Casablanca’s Nicest Park

 

I follow Mohammed VI Boulevard just a little ways until I reach the Zraktouni Loop (which is now call Blvd Resistance) and follow it west to where I left off a few days ago… It feels good to know that I’m finished with downtown and can work on some wide open spaces for a change.



When I reach Avenue 2 Mars, I head north once again… I kind of doubt this street actually goes “2 Mars”--  but it should take me all the way to the edge of Casablanca

 

Within a block or two, a patch of green catches my eye… I go to check it out… It’s a park--  probably the nicest park in all of Casablanca.  It’s big, shady, quiet clean… and with beautiful flower line paths… So of course it’s guitar time…

 

            Music Spot 31: 2 Mars Park, Rating: *****

            Best spot in the city for a peaceful concert… quiet, clean, safe, shady…

 

073: The Churches and Mosques of 2 Mars

 

2 Mars street, and the surrounding neighbourhood, has a distinctive vibe of it’s own.

  There are a whole bunch of schools clustered together here--  so I imagine when school lets out, traffic must be impossible…


I also come across two large churches with distinctive styles… not super beautiful, but interesting reminders of Casablanca’s past…

I also came across two mosques with a bit of uniqueness as well… One with green roof and yellowish block and the other with a slender, decorated green and white minaret…

 

2 Mars is also the divide between the upscale villa neighborhoods to the west, and the more crowded apartment neighborhoods to the east…

 

074: El Fida Market

 

When I cross under the railroad tracks, I figure the city is going to start thinning out a bit.  Quite the opposite--  I’m about to enter one of the liveliest, bustling districts of all Casablanca.  I’m heading into the heart of Mers Sultan--  famous for it’s sprawling market districts and gritty vibe…

 

Here at the 2 Mars/El Fida bus stop, at least 11 city bus lines pass through, making this a sort of transportation hub as well…

There are a couple of shady benches nearby, so I pull out my guitar again…

 

            Music Spot 32: 2 Mars/ El Fida, Rating: ***

            OK… shady, but a bit dirty and some unfriendly characters around…

 

I decide to continue up the road just a bit further before calling it a day, to see if I can come up with a “discovery” in this neighbourhood…

 

A bit further up the road is a wide boulevard with a long, narrow park on the edge, giving a welcoming feel of spaciousness in between the grimy apartment buildings lining the edge…

 

            Music Spot 33: El Fida Park Strip, Rating: ***

            All the shady benches were occupied… still has a quiet, neighbourly feel to it…

 

 From here I head on back south down a narrow street and soon find myself in a bustling vegetable street market.

Lincoln Hotel
 

I’m liking this neighbourhood… the buildings are all pretty gritty looking, but the narrow streets means you can always walk in the shade and the market is lively but not stifling… Definitely counts as a discovery…

 

And with that, I’m calling it a day… I’ll continue my journey north tomorrow…

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Lincoln Hotel
Lincoln Hotel
Lincoln Hotel
Lincoln Hotel
2 Mars Park
2 Mars Park
Casablanca
photo by: nathanphil