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CASABLANCA’S CULTURAL HERITAGE

The area which is today Casablanca was founded and settled at the 7th century by Beghouatas Berber tribe. Ancient Casablanca is referred to as “Anfa” (“the hill”), a large, prosperous harbour that rose in importance until it came under Portuguese control in 1468.

The town was reconstructed at the end of the 18th century by Sultan Mohammed ben Abdallah, who called the city “Dar-el-Beïda”, the Arabic translation of the Spanish “Casa Blanca”, meaning “white house”. He built ramparts and fortifications, mosques and hammams (Oriental baths). Casablanca initially remained a modestly sized port.
In the 19th century, the area’s population began to grow as it became a major supplier for France and Great Britain, and shipping traffic increased.

In 1907, French took control of Casablanca, which began the process of colonization of Morocco. During the 1940s and 1950s, under the French protectorate, European formed half the population of Casablanca. Commissioned by French Marechal Lyautey, architect Henri Prost designed a development plan to discipline Casablanca’s spreading and give it the appearance of a modern European-like city. Art Deco buildings are erected, as well as modern medinas, and main streets radiate south and east.

The city’s architectural heritage and diversity was made legendary by the movie "Casablanca" in 1942. Casablanca was a model of new town at that time, a laboratory of modernity for a new generation of architects who landed directly from the Parisian Ecole des Beaux-Arts.

Rendue légendaire par le film « Casablanca » (1942), la ville possède un patrimoine architectural moderne important, dû à la diversité architecturale qu’elle a connue pendant le XXe siècle, où elle était alors le laboratoire de la modernité d’une nouvelle génération d’architectes qui débarquaient directement des bancs de l’Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Paris.


The Port of Casablanca has been considered the first port of Morocco since 1920, and the city became the first stop of Latécoère airlines connecting Toulouse to Dakar. As a strategic port, the city hosted the Casablanca Anfa Conference (Anglo-American Summit) in 1943.

From the end of World War II, and following the speech of Sultan Mohammed V in Tangier, Casablanca became a major center of anti-French rioting, and a national base for independence claim.

After independence, the city became the powerhouse of the country and the symbol of a modern, dynamic and open Morocco. Casablanca is today a real crossroads, and a national and international hub.

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Loubna ASSABBAB
Head of International Relations


lassabbab@esca.ma