Casablanca is a city set on the Atlantic Ocean. Contemporary culture abounds, thriving along the wide, palm-lined boulevards. The ocean spray mists into the air around La Corniche. The aromas of fresh seafood and indulgent spices emanate from restaurants around the esplanade. Locals stroll along the coastal walkway dressed up and ready to be seen. Men play pétanque in Parc La Ligue Arabe, a game similar to bocce ball. Small cafes fill with locals sipping strong, fresh brewed coffee and engaging in passionate conversation.
Large trees provide shady walkways and the slightly spiced aroma of natural flora floats all around you. Casablanca is a thriving and energetic city, filled with remnants of Morocco’s French colonial past, and a penchant to fit into the contemporary world. The Rialto Theater retains its Art Deco façade. The building was constructed in 1930 and has become a landmark filled with subtle detail present on the façade and around the interior. Edith Piaf, of “La Vie en Rose” fame, sang inside the Rialto.
It is easy to imagine the gilded walls and conical light fixture fading behind the beauty of Piaf’s voice as she filled the house with eager listeners. Casablanca maintains a contemporary momentum deeply in touch with its historic roots. Hassan II Mosque sits on the coastline and boasts the largest minaret in the world, standing 690 feet tall. The mosque was built in the 1990s but is decorated with the traditional, opulent Islamic and Moorish styling that has enchanted visitors from across the globe for centuries. Basking in the splendor of Casablanca and Morocco continues on the next day.