Let us take you on a journey with our shoes and our blog articles today : let’s go to one of the lovely places that Contre-Allée is related to, the beautiful Moroccan city of Casablanca. A city that combines modernity and authenticity from the Moroccan heritage. The city has a mix of multiple cultures since it attracts a lot of intern immigrants.
What is the history behind Casablanca ?
It was founded in the 7th Century BC despite the fact that the population at the turn of the 20th century was rather small, The area which is now Casablanca was settled by Berbers around the 7th Century BC and was called Anfa at the time. It was later taken over by the Phoenicians, Romans, Almoravids, Merinids, Portuguese and more.
Casablanca is today the economic capital of Morocco and its largest city, located on the Atlantic coast bordered by magnificent beaches which makes it a seaside destination still rivalled and it is about 80 km south of Rabat. With a population of more than 3 million inhabitants, it is the most populous city in the Maghreb. Casablanca is Morocco's third-largest tourist city but people go there mostly for business.
Casablanca developed itself on the site of an ancient city called Anfa. It played an important role in Moroccan history at the end of the 7th century and the beginning of the 8th century. A prosperous city due to its agricultural hinterland, Anfa was also a former fishing port.
Destroyed by Portuguese attacks in the 15th and early 16th centuries, the city was only rebuilt in the 18th century by Sultan Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah (1757-1790) who gave it the name of Dar al Beida (The white house). In the middle of the 19th century, the white city had only a thousand habitants but due to its port, it started to attract more people. It first aroused the interest of Europeans, motivated by trade. It then asserted itself as a European trading post in North Africa and became Morocco's leading export port.
The progress of steam navigation and the growth of the textile industry propelled traffic from the port which would become one of the largest suppliers of wool to the Mediterranean basin.
In 1862, a regular maritime link between Marseille and Casablanca was established.
Built-in 1912, the port of Casablanca, the kingdom's first large modern port, intensified the economic activity of the city and its region and attracted many investors and workers.
He thus shaped the fate of the small town of Dar al Baida to make it the country's largest economic centre, metropolis and financial capital.
Between 1910 and 1950, the city was in a prosperous period of setting up major construction sites, including the planning of major avenues, the construction of large buildings, the establishment of regular shipping lines ... It was also the period of the beginning of the automobile, with the Euro-automobile Rallye Casablanca of 1920.
The landing of the allies in North Africa in November 1942, in particular the Americans in Casablanca, Operation Torch, is still present in the memory of the former Casablanca residents, which will mark a turning point in the Second World War.
Two months later, it will be in Casablanca that the leaders of the allied powers (Roosevelt, Churchill, Giraud and de Gaulle) will meet to prepare their post-war strategy at the famous Anfa conference in January 1943.
Casablanca is a city of resistance. Resistance against the Protectorate was born in Casablanca. It was the work of all the people of Casablanca. Great resistance fighters lost their lives there. During the deportation (1953-1955) of Sultan Mohamed V by the French authorities, Casablanca la Resistance burst into flames. When the Sultan returned, the women left their cloisters to acclaim their sovereign.
A strong patriotism rediscovered during the Green March (1975), a peaceful march, an epic called upon by King Hassan II to liberate the Sahara under Spanish domination. The delegation from Casablanca was the largest, with 35,000 volunteers.
The people of Casablanca suffered from the Protectorate, Operation Torch and the German response that followed, causing them to flee to the hinterland.
The resistance, the uprising of the Casablanca people against the deportation of Sultan Mohamed V, the protest riots of 1965 and 1981 consolidated the solidarity of this population, created a strong attachment to the monarchy, to the nation and the city.
Casablanca was the cradle of resistance to the protectorate. The old medina, the Habous, Derb Sultan, Derb Al Kabir… were the quarters of the armed resistance fighters.
The "fidayeen", as they were called, were working for the redemption of the country’s political independence. "Al fidaa", literally the "Redemption"
Where is situated Casablanca and what is its climate ?
Casablanca is located in a temperate zone of 33 degrees, 20 minutes north latitude, and 8 degrees west of Greenwich longitude. It is approximately 92 km far from Rabat (the capital) and extends 16 km along the Atlantic coast.
It is located in the western coastal plains overlooking the Atlantic Ocean from the west, at an altitude of not more than 58 meters above sea level. It overlooks the plains of Chaouia and Daqala from the north, east and south. It has large barriers that can repel the high waves of the Atlantic Ocean.
The climate in Casablanca is Mediterranean, and the Canary Current plays a clear role in low temperatures and high humidity. The average temperature of Casablanca in winter is 12.2 degrees Celsius, and in summer the average temperature reaches 32.2 degrees Celsius, and its rains are winter rains due to the headwinds coming from the Atlantic Ocean. And the Gulf of Mexico, where the average precipitation amounts to 404 mm annually.
What are the most known monuments in Casablanca?
The mosque of Hassan II, which is located on the coast of the Moroccan city of Casablanca, is one of the largest and most beautiful mosques of the world. A tour of the country's economic capital cannot be completed without visiting this religious and architectural landmark, especially for a mosque being one of the fewest mosques that are open for the non-Muslim visitors.
2,500 workers and 10,000 traditional craftsmen contributed to its construction. The design of this religious edifice came as a result of cooperation between the office of the French architect Michel Pinceau, and the various bodies concerned with Moroccan craftsmanship, the French company Bouygues Construction, under the supervision and direction of His Majesty the late King Hassan II.
The Hassan II Mosque opened its doors in 1993, after a construction process that lasted nearly six years and costed millions of dollars. It was created under the directive of King Hassan II who wanted to represent the Moroccan traditional art in a state of art that would be one of the beautiful monuments to visit in morocco.
What are the famous districts of Casablanca?
All the districts of Casablanca are full of live culture and stories.
Important streets in the city recall this nationalist spirit and honour it by its name. Boulevard Al Fida crosses neighbourhoods of resistance fighters. The Boulevard de la Résistance which continues with the Boulevard Zerktouni (leader of the resistance) surrounds the entire town.
The Habous district (new medina):
Here is another side of the white city to discover. It is a district built by the French between 1918 and 1955 to create a new Medina. It looks like the old traditional Moroccan towns with a few more things: bigger streets and modern facilities. In addition, it houses various traditional markets as well as the Royal Palace which is worth seeing while walking.
Marché central (Casablanca's bustling):
The central market is essential if you want to enter the heart of city life. Right in the city centre, this is where locals come to buy and sell everything, including Moroccan slippers. It’s a great opportunity for photographers and great fun for everyone. Don't forget to buy your spices stock.
As you already know from the first article, the names of our products are the names of districts of Casablanca, let’s have a look at each name and its story.
- Anfa: was the old name of Casablanca city and its mine hill
- Binlmdoun: The name means between the cities
- Lamdina : Although the old Medina district of Casablanca may not have an exotic tourist vibe like the cities of Fez and Marrakech, finding the maze-like alleys still has a lot to explore.
Merchants place their wares there, and shoppers can be joined in their search for traditional requirements, as it is a great place to experience the pulse of Casablanca life.
It is also possible to visit the Bab Marrakech, one of the historical monuments that still stand in the old city of Casablanca.
The visitor may find the small landmarks buried in the old city, such as the Berber Mosque.
El Fida is one of the two districts of the prefecture of Al Fida-Mers Sultan located in the prefecture of Casablanca within the region of Grand Casablanca.
Belvedere is one of the casablanca neighborhoods, located in the center of the city. It is part of the commune of the borough of the Roches Noires district.
Oasis: The Oasis district is the extension of the Maârif Extension. Located between Hay Hassani and Maârif, it is characterized by the presence of many sports clubs such as WAC and RAJA, the two major football clubs in Casablanca, as well as several other lets including the CAFC (Cercle Amicale des Français de Casablanca ) The Oasis district is considered as one of the most luxurious districts of Casablanca
Sbata : is a dynamic popular district, Contre-Allée had chosen sbata as the location of our workshop for several reasons because our craftsmen are around and they can work close to there houses and avoid the traffic of Casablanca. Sbata is also close to the port or to the airport to where we can send our shoes.
What can we visit in Casablanca?
Casablanca and art :
Casablanca is known as a street art place. Today street art is part of a plan of the development of the city under the name of "casamouja" After two successful copies, the wave of colours sweeping across the Al-Raqq neighbourhood, which will be transformed by the women, with a statue, of the third image from "Kazamouja 3". For the first time in Casablanca, it turns out to be a hiatus. Where it is located, as this neighbourhood is located close to the Hassan II Mosque coastal park. Artistically, "Kazamouja", created by "Wikazablanka" - Urban Art Al Mouj (Urban Art Wave), accompanies this project and engages in it to transform the neck into a magical and attractive place for visitors. The "Casamouja" project displays within the framework of the "Wecasablanka" program and expresses an unparalleled will to promote contemporary art, as the "Casamouja" event, in its third edition, sought to honour women. In addition to the topics covered by the paintings, more than 7 national and international artists made sure to communicate their messages using feminist themes that included all generations from the mother to the young woman through the woman and teenage girls, famous or not. Another thing that combined all the murals was their vintage style and artistic use of colour.
Let’s share some of Casablanca street art!
In this wall painting, the Togolese artist "Seto" introduces symbols from West Africa from the valley, the pearl rounds and the curie, the Burkini sun mask, to the "Bogolan" that appears in the background. In the centre, he installed a luxurious feminine face, which is a symbol of the art of living together. “I have attached the mirror face to a chameleon, an African symbol that reflects the adaptability of each one of us. This wall is a tribute to my country, Togo, but also to the entire region that is part of the border crossing, just like the Casamoja Festival that brings together African artists from different horizons. In this work, the models represent all identities and the colours symbolize the values associated with each of these identities. As for the lines of strength, they embody the bonds that we create every day and even more through events like this festival. All of this wall is seen as an open book on diversity and wealth. Cultural and social for our brown continent.
After being immortalized in the common global imagination of Hollywood, Casablanca never ceased to stimulate dreams, and in this direction, the 23-year-old wanted to present this side of the city, where Dynam, a student at the High School of Fine Arts, chose a very realistic picture of Ingrid Bergman (Elsa Lund in Casablanca film) to paint in honour of the woman. Why this choice? Because Ingrid remains for this artist a modern icon, a free woman, and a bold actress who embodies compassion and simplicity.
Casablanca and Traditional industry :
Morroco is famous for the traditional, each region has its own artisanal specialities. In Casablanca you can find 5 types of traditional industry.
1-Leather industry :
It is considered as one of the oldest industries in the world, and the leather industry in Morocco has a great reputation, as the Moroccan leather processing method is used in the clothing sector (shoes, bags, belts ...) Fes is the most known city for the leather industry but you can find great pieces of art in Casablanca.
Wood industry :
The wood sector, due to the ease of obtaining wood, has been used by man since ancient times to manufacture his needs, and Morocco has a long history with the traditional industry in wood, and the oldest Moroccan wooden panel dates back to the year 877 AD and the city of Casablanca includes a group of craftsmen and cooperatives working in this field.
Beauty begins and ends in making ceramics and pottery in the Moroccan city of Casablanca, which is considered the most famous place for clay manufacture in Morocco. Because of the migration of the Asfi city people and they bring the knowledge of pottery, the most beautiful decorative pieces of porcelain and pottery engraved on the history of the Islamic heritage came out from among the Moroccan hands.
Pots and decorations, ceramic and pottery are the most important traditional crafts in Morocco, and the industry began since the time of the Phoenicians and Romans, and one of the most important cities that are famous for this industry
The textile industry :
Traditional clothes in Morocco are strongly present in all occasions and celebrations, and among the most important Moroccan traditional clothes, we find the jellaba, the caftan, the takchita, the jabadur, the fawqia, the kandora, the muhalfa. Casablanca can be a great place to have traditional cloth or maybe have a designer one.
The Moroccan carpet is characterized by skill and mastery, in unparalleled performance, it is an expression of Moroccan traditions and folk customs, and it varies from one region to another, and is used in traditional homes, as well as in tourist places, especially in hotels. Among the most famous carpets that are produced in Morocco, we find:
Amazigh carpet: It is the carpet that is woven in various Berber tribes and is made mostly of pure wool. It is decorated with simple geometric shapes like rhombuses, triangles, rectangles, rhombuses, as well as squares.
The Rabatian carpet: It is distinguished by its red background and the star in its centre, as well as the geometric drawings surrounding it, and on its side an inner mihrab and it is also found in blue colour and is one of the most expensive Moroccan carpets and the most elegant
The Taznakht carpet: mixed in colours and with a variety of decorations, making it a painting of multiple geometric shapes.
Fascia carpet: It is one of the most common Moroccan carpets, and it is found abundantly in red, with different and varied geometric shapes.
The manufacture of mats is a pure women's speciality in the Moroccan desert regions, and it is horizontal craftwork, made from a mixture of leather and exquisite plant materials. It is a palm tree fabric decorated with geometric patterns with strands of coloured leather. As for the chain, palm leaf ribs or herb stems are used. Sizes vary, with the largest reaching 6 meters long and 2.5 meters wide.
The manufacture of mats is a women's speciality in the Moroccan desert regions, and it is horizontal craftwork, made from a mixture of leather and exquisite plant materials. It is a palm tree fabric decorated with geometric patterns with strands of coloured leather. As for the chain, palm leaf ribs or herb stems are used.
Among the trades branching out from the vegetable, handicrafts sector are a manufacturer of products from rattan, a maker of products from socks (see), a manufacturer of utilitarian products for decorating from paper, a dum or a palm frond, a manufacturer of products from Raffi, a rope maker, a net maker, a hemp maker, a product maker From cork, the maker of Tarazi, Baradei, Hissar.
To conclude Casablanca is an amazing city, and us at Contre-Allée, will always be proud to be part of this city, full of energy and culture, and we are happy to share that love every day through our work and our shoes.