Cultural Heritage

Founded in the 7th century by the Beghouatas, a Berber tribe refractory to Orthodox Islam (the Belghouatas referred to a Koran in Berber and not Arabic), the hamlet of Anfa (which means “the hill”) was home to a flourishing port before the Portuguese, overwhelmed by traffic, did not seize it in 1468.

It was not until the late eighteenth century that the city experienced a new youth under the leadership of Sultan Mohammed Ben Abdellah, anxious to highlight the Moroccan Atlantic coastline. He names it; “Dar-el-Beïda”, the “White House”, then translated by Casablanca into Spanish, and endows the city with ramparts, fortified bastions (the Sqala), mosques and hammams. Like Mogador, but on a smaller scale, Casablanca was destined for international exchanges. It also served as an attic, the site today called Mers Sultan once home to the royal grain.

From then on, the city did not cease to grow, but it did not know its true growth until the middle of the XIXe century, under the impulse of the trade with France and England, which obtained the creation of national consulates in Casablanca in the 1860s.

In 1900, the small Casa has only 20 000 inhabitants, and it is under the directives of Marshal Lyautey, named resident general under the protectorate exerted by France on Morocco since 1912, that the city records an unprecedented boom.

Missioned by France, the architect Henri Prost draws up a town plan to discipline Dar-El-Beïda and give it the appearance of a modern city, like the European cities. On the broad avenues are grafted Art Deco buildings. The French will even reinvent a medina in their image (the current district Habous).

Made legendary by the film “Casablanca” (1942), the city has an important modern architectural heritage, due to the architectural diversity it knew during the twentieth century, where it was then the laboratory of modernity of a new generation architects who landed directly from the benches of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris.

The port of Casablanca, considered as the first port of Morocco since 1920, also became in 1925 the first stopover of Latécoère airlines linking Toulouse to Dakar. Strategic port, the city hosts the conference of Casablanca (Anglo-American summit) in 1943.

From the end of the Second World War, and following the speech of Sultan Mohammed V in Tangiers, the city is at the heart of the national claim for the independence of Morocco. From 1947, and especially from the 1950s, many troubles enamelled the life of Casablanca.

After independence, the city becomes the locomotive of the country, and the symbol of a modern Morocco, dynamic and open. It is a real crossroads, and a national and international hub.