Overview of Casablanca


Geography of Casablanca


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Morocco is a country poised on the precipice of an international destination for work and play. Once only thought of for retirees wanting to bask in its plentiful sunshine, it is now a destination for all with its close proximity to Europe and a growing economic market. The land of souqs, sun and opportunity, the country is on the rise.

The city of Casablanca is impossible to disentangle from the 1942 American romantic drama of the same name. The colonial world shown in the film, occupied by Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman is becoming a cosmopolitan city. The largest city, it is the industrial and economic heart of Morocco. Formerly an undesirable entry point into Morocco on the way to Rabat, Marrakesh, or Fez, the city is refurbishing its charm as it become an international destination for travelers and expats.

Morocco

Officially known as the Kingdom of Morocco (Arabic:al-Maghrib; Berber: Lmayrib), is a country located in North Africa. It's northern border is the Atlantic Ocean to the Strait of Gibraltar continuing to a border of the Mediterranean Sea. Over the water, Spain is in close proximity and shares a water border, as well as through the Strait. There is an additional land border with Spanish-controlled pockets: Ceuta, Melilla, Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera, the Chafarinas islands, and the disputed islet Perejil. To the east and southeast lies Algeria, although the border between the two countries has been closed since 1994. Morocco primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara to the south, making a de facto southern boundary with Mauritania. However, the internationally recognized borders of the country lie between latitudes 27 degrees and 36 degrees North, and longitudes 1 degrees and 14 degrees West.

The country has a population of more than 32 million in an area of 710,850 km2 (172,402 sq miles). This makes it the 57th largest country in the world. The country is part of the Maghreb region which includes Tunisia, Algeria, Mauritania, and Libya.

Morocco is primarily mountainous. The Atlas Mountains lie in the center and south and the Rif Mountains are located in the north. This area is mainly inhabited by the Berber people. Forests cover about 12 percent of the land. Most of the southeast portion of the country is in the Sahara Desert which is sparsely populated. Arable land accounts for 18 percent with about 5 percent irrigated. On the northern border, beautiful beaches line the country.

Climate

The varied landscape of Morocco provides for a diversity in climate throughout the land.
North Coast & Rif mountains - Mediterranean style climate: hot with generally continuous sunshine between May and September, warm & sunny days interspersed with rainy periods for the rest of the year.
Atlantic Coast - The most rain in the country, with the heaviest falls in winter
Sahara - Dry, desert climate

Cities can get very hot in the summer months, but mid-level altitudes are pleasant year-round. Daily sunshine ranges from 13 hours in the desert to 9-10 on the Atlantic. In the winter, there is 6 hours of sunshine in the North, increasing to 7 or 8 further south. This prevalent sunshine is one of the reasons the country is desirable for retirement.

Time Zone

The time zone in Morocco is Greenwich Mean Time or universal time. A few Spanish enclaves, including Melilla and Ceuta, are on Madrid time which is 2 hours ahead of Morocco.

Moroccan Cities

  • Rabat - The capital of Morocco. Highlights include a 12th-century tower and minaret.
  • Casablanca - Modern city by the sea and frequent point of entry. Highlights include the historical medina and the contemporary mosque (the third largest in the world).
  • Fez - Fez is the former capital of Morocco and one of the oldest and largest medieval cities in the world.
  • Marrakech (Marrakesh) - Combination of old and new Morocco. One of the most touristed cities in the country. Highlights include souks, ruins in the medina, and the plaza of Djeema El Fna.
  • Meknes - Modern, laid-back city near Fez.
  • Ouarzazate - The figurative capital of the South, the city is well preserved as an ancient city.
  • Tangier - Tangier is the starting point for most visitors arriving by ferry from Spain. It has been a stopping point for artists like Matisse, musicians like Hendrix, politicians like Churchill, and writers like Burroughs and Twain.
  • Taroudannt - A southern market town.
  • Tetouan - Lovely beaches, this is a gateway to the Rif Mountains.

Casablanca

Casablanca (Arabic: Ad Dar al Bayda. Berber: Anfa) is placed within northwestern Morocco on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. The city sits on the Chawiya plain and is a coastal city. Casablanca is located 95 kilometers (59 miles) southwest of the Moroccan capital, Rabat.

There is a population in excess of 3 million in the city proper and over 3.6 million in wider city area. The city has an area of 324 km2 (125.1 sq mi). Casablanca is considered the economic and business center of Morocco as well as the largest city. It is the principal port and one of the main points of entry into the country.

Cityscape

The city's downtown area is categorized by palm-lined squares and for buildings of French and Moroccan architectural styles. The street plan was devised by the French architect Henri Prost. He locate the center of the city as the main market of ancient Anfa. Streets radiated out to the east and to the south. The minaret of the Grand Mosque Hassan II is a major landmark and can be seen at points around the city.

The city has a poor reputation for natural beauty, although city government is working gain a higher tourist profile for the city. The greatest natural attributes for the city are the Atlantic coast, the Bouskoura forest, and the Oum Er-Rbia River which runs 70 km (43.50 mi) to the south-east of Casablanca.

Climate

Casablanca has a very mild Mediterranean climate. It is strongly influenced by the cool currents of the Atlantic Ocean, producing more moderate temperatures than some other location in Morocco. There is little seasonal temperature variation and only a small amount of rainfall, mainly from May to September.

Average temperatures range from 7 degree Celsius (45 degree F) to 17 degree C (63 degree F). July is the warmest month with temperatures from 18 degree C (64 degree F) to 26 degree C (79 degree F).

For up-to-date weather information, consult Casablanca Weather.

Districts

Casablanca is part of the Region of the Grand Casablanca which is divided into districts (prefectures), which are divided into 16 subdivisions (arrondissements) and 1 municipality.

    Districts
  • Ain Chock
  • Ain Sebaâ-Hay Mohammadi
  • Anfa
  • Sidi Belyout
  • Ben M'sick
  • (Sidi) Bernoussi
  • Al Fida-Mers Sultan
  • Hay Hassani
  • Moulay Rachid

Update 10/01/2012


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