ATLANTIC MOROCCO

Carnet de voyage Casablanca, Maroc. Jacques Bravo
 

Casablanca

What can we say about Casablanca, which has forgotten the small fishing village of Anfa where a few dozen inhabitants once settled?

A dazzling dynamism, neighborhoods to discover in the allure of an ultramodern capital.

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Casablanca, the Great Mosque.

It rises out of the mist, a monument built for all eternity or perhaps, given the view out to sea, a vessel with a mast rising 200 metres into the sky.

It was 4 on a January afternoon and a storm was raging, leaving a fragile winter light. The rough sea was kicking up spray which mixed with the turbulent mist. It was not prayer time and the kids were playing, throwing pebbles into the waves, a reminder that for 60 years this place was the world’s biggest swimming stadium, with a 480-metre pool.

I also saw children bidding farewell to a ship setting out for new horizons, a scrap of daily life played out against a fantastic backdrop.

This was my first visit to Casablanca, the mosque had only been completed for a year and I happened on it immediately: a sight from another world, a lucky sign.

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Casablanca, the Great Mosque.

The long shadows mark the end of a marvellous afternoon. Thanks to a special permit I caught this unique view of the surroundings.

From 200 metres up in the air everything looks different, but you do not lose contact with this place of worship and all the life it contains.

The pool, from which water gushes, is like some massive zillij tile, shaped like a five-pointed star. In Casablanca, which has changed a great deal over the past century, a new holy place has appeared, well received by local people.

The shape of a city changes faster than the heart of man, or so some poet said. What was once a small fishing village is now Africa’s second city; the mosque which has given it a new soul, is the third largest in the world; and life goes on.

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Casablanca, the Great Mosque.

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Casablanca port

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Casablanca.

The most impressive city in North Africa at night. The large mosque which dominates the metropolis open to world cultures has become the benchmark. Seen from the top of the Twin Centers (over a hundred meters high), the "peaks" of the Maarif district, the boulevard traces a luminous furrow which can only lead to the largest mosque in Africa which now marks the horizon. At the gates of infinity.

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