You'll start your Casablanca tour with a lesson in Islam and a visit to the largest mosque in Morocco — and the third largest in the world. With its minaret towering up 210 metres, the Hassan II Mosque blends Islamic architecture with Moroccan elements, Moorish influences with urban design. If you’re up on your Moroccan architecture, some of the design elements may seem familiar — see if you can spot the similarities with other Moroccan buildings such as the unfinished Hassan mosque in Rabat and the Koutoubia mosque in Marrakech.
As you explore, learn some interesting facts about Islam that are unique to Morocco. For example, while Islam doesn’t permit followers to believe in any god beyond Allah, some locals continue to make sacrifices to Sidi Abderrahmane, who is considered to be a saint by many Moroccans. Locals often ask for his blessing, especially in the Arabic month of Chaabane, before Ramadan, and go to his shrine off the coast of Casablanca for healing from disease, fertility issues and even finding a mate!
Next up, it’s time to learn about Casablanca’s Jewish heritage with a trip to the mellah (Jewish quarter) of the old medina. It is here that the city’s Jewish past has been best preserved, and is also where it continues to live today. There are some 5,000 Jews currently living in Casablanca, and the city is home to more than 30 synagogues, plus Jewish monuments, cemeteries and shrines. (And plenty of kosher restaurants as well — be sure to ask your local guide for tips on where to grab a bite to eat after your tour!). Because the mellah was only established less than a century ago, it’s relatively young by Moroccan standards, but it is an important piece of local Jewish history.
We’ll then work our way over to a gorgeous museum inside a home, where a private collection of Moroccan artwork awaits. This house is the former home of Abderrahman Slaoui, a Moroccan businessman who loved the arts. As we peruse the artworks, we’ll stop for a refreshing Moroccan mint tea to help perk us up for the short walk to our next stop.
From there, we’ll take our private transport over to the imposing Notre Dame de Lourdes Church, with its architecture that’s oh-so-different from what you expect to find in Morocco! The European-inspired church towers over its neighbouring buildings.
Finally, we’ll again take a private taxi transfer to the Museum of Moroccan Judaism, which features collections and exhibits covering 2,000 years of Jews in Morocco. You’ll find videos, photographs, paintings, sculptures and historic documents explaining the past and present of local Jewish life.
After exploring the museum, your guide will escort you back to your hotel (or some other centrally located drop off point) via private transfer. Before you go, don’t forget to ask your guide for tips on what else to see and do in Casablanca.