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Casablanca’s Habous Quarter, otherwise known as New Medina, is an area of the city built in 1930s by the French, so it is no surprise that it features a wonderful mix of French and Moroccan inspired architecture, complete with numerous things to see and do. Read on to discover the area’s most unmissable sights and activities.
Located near the New Medina is yet another of the King’s palaces. The King has a palace in almost every city just in case of a royal visit. The King’s Palace in Casablanca is just as grand as the rest of them, with its enormous open square at the front, a surplus of guards, and a grand exterior which anyone can enjoy. Unfortunately, closer access seems difficult to come by, however it is worth seeing the intricate walls from the outside, and the stunning architecture.
Casablanca’s Habous Quarter was built by the French during the 1930s in order to solve the housing crisis, meaning that today, the district possesses strong European influences intertwined with traditional Moroccan riads and hamams. This beautiful mix of architecture makes the Habous Quarter a fantastic area to wander around and simply admire the alternative views. It’s a good idea to get a guided tour in order to learn a little more about the history and construction of the area.
Shopping is an essential part of any trip to Morocco, with its beautiful and intricate traditional souvenirs and clothing. The Habous Quarter, however, offers a slightly different experience, half mirroring the traditional old part of town, and half mirroring the modern Gueliz region of Marrakech with its familiar and modern Western shops. Praised for its handicrafts, the Habous Quarter has a lot to offer for those willing to search the charming alleyways and explore the huge outdoor markets.
Souvenir and clothes shopping are certainly recommended, however the Olive Souk is a also an unmissable and slightly more unique experience. The Habous Quarter boasts a charming souk market tucked into a small courtyard, complete with a wide collection of tempting and aromatic barrels of olives, as well as herbs, spices, and oils. The Olive Souk in the Habous Quarter is a fantastic place to buy traditional, locally sourced products, giving tourists a real taste of Moroccan culture.
A clear example of the fantastic architecture of the area, Mahkama du Pacha, or Pacha’s courthouse, was built as both a court of justice and an events area for state occasions. As it stands today as a working building, it is not always possible to gain inside access, however, with spectacular outside architecture displaying strong Moorish influences, it is worth stopping by for a few pictures. For those lucky enough to gain entry, admire the rich furnishings and design, including the spectacular carved cedar wood ceiling and white marble columns.
Address: Appt Quartier Romandie, Casablanca 20000, Morocco
Mosques, having such an important place in Moroccan society, are a must see for any traveler to the country. Whilst these two mosques aren’t the largest, and don’t quite compare in splendor to the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, they are still worth a visit if you are in the area, standing as a more realistic representation of the mosques locals attend in their daily lives. Despite their smaller stature, these mosques are among the finest examples of traditional Moroccan architecture, with fine wooden carvings and typical minaret designs which also feature in the Koutoubia Mosque of Marrakech.
Just to the east of the Habous Quarter, this is one of the best riads you’ll find in this area of the city. Riad Jnane Sherazade blends Moroccan and French influences to create a comfortable and welcoming boutique hotel in an ideal location. With its very own restaurant, guests can enjoy typical Moroccan cuisine made from the freshest of local ingredients, whilst marveling at the spectacularly intricate indoor dining room, or eating al fresco on the inviting terrace. On top of all of that, guests can tick another thing off their Moroccan tourist list – the hamam – as Riad Jnane Sherazade has its very own, inviting guests to enjoy a traditional bathing experience, complete with body scrub or massage.
Address: 8 Rue de Belgrade Habous، Casablanca 20000, Morocco
A modestly sized park which is hailed as one of the most pleasant locations in the whole city, largely due to its renovation in 2006, the Park ISESCO is well worth a visit, particularly during the cooler months. Very well maintained, this park boasts lush greenery, plants and flowers, as well as two cafes very nearby, including the famous and popular Venezia Ice chain. A fantastic and peaceful haven in the heart of a huge city, Park ISESCO is the Habous Quarter’s very own oasis, offering people an alternative to the bustling shopping scene.
Ideally located near the ISESCO park, Zayna Restaurant is known for its welcoming service, and authentic and traditional Moroccan cuisine. With a musical and enchanting atmosphere, guests are taken into a Moroccan oasis, where they can sample traditional tagines and fresh fruit juices. Hailed not only as one of the best traditional restaurants in the area, but in the whole of Casablanca, Zayna Restaurant has certainly earned a name for itself, making it one of the best dining experiences in the Habous Quarter.
Address: 73, rue Ibn Jaljal, Casablanca 20000, Morocco