Casablanca was the penultimate stop on the rally. I had a very romantic imagine of this city based on the cult Hollywood film under the same name, but the reality is...Casablanca is a giant construction site. It's a mix of modern commercial and apartment buildings, and some old soviet-like blocks...so I was left quite unimpressed. It lacks any architectural or historical landmarks apart from the Hassan II Mosque, which was well worth the drive.
It's an imposing structure built on a promontory looking out to the Atlantic Ocean. In the 1980s the King of Morocco, Hassan II, wanted to improve the city's cultural life and add some edge to the rather flat landscape of Casablanca. From what I've learnt much of the half a million pound budget was coughed up directly by the Moroccans themselves. Every family was obligated to pay a set amount in exchange for a certificate of donation.
At completion in 1993 it became Morocco’s largest mosque and it's currently the 13th largest in the world. It's minaret is 210 metres high, which makes it the world's tallest. A maximum of 105,000 worshippers can gather together for prayer (25000 inside the hall and 80,000 on the outside grounds)
At the end of my short Casablanca tour I did the uber touristy thing and together with a bunch of Japanese tourists I took a few photos of Rick's Cafe. I'm going to re-watch Casablanca at the weekend!