One of our favourite destinations to visit is Morocco, it’s a vibrant country that is steeped in exciting history and culture, and where you will find one of the most impressive mosques in the world: the Hassan II Mosque. We visit Morocco almost every year and Casablanca has become one of our most-loved ports. There’s so much to see and do here and it’s a highlight on our upcoming Seville to Malaga and Andalusian Spain and Morocco cruises in October 2017.
Casablanca was founded and settled by Berbers, it is believed, by the seventh century BC and was later used as a port by the Phoenicians and then the Romans. In his book ‘Description of Africa’, Leo Africanus – a Berber Andalusi diplomat and author – refers to ancient Casablanca as “Anfa”, a great city founded in the Berber kingdom of Barghawata in 744 AD. He believed Anfa was the most “prosperous city on the Atlantic Coast because of its fertile land” and as time would prove, he was exactly right.
Barghawata rose as an independent state around this time and continued until it was conquered by the Almoravids in 1068. Following the defeat of the Barghawata in the 12th century, Arab tribes of Hilal and Sulaym descent settled in the region, mixing with the local Berbers. This led to widespread Arabization. During the 14th century, under the Merinids, Anfa rose in importance as a port.
Throughout the years, Casablanca was conquered by the Portuguese, the French and was, during World War II, used as an important strategic port. The city also hosted the Casablanca Conference in 1943, in which U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill discussed the progress of World War II. Their focus was on coordinating Allied military strategy against the Axis powers over the course of the coming year. They also agreed to strengthen their strategic bombing campaign against Germany.
Finally, in March 1956, Casablanca gained independence from France and grew as a popular tourism destination. The Casablanca we know and love today has so many different cultural influences, including Berber, French, Spanish, Roman and British, and that’s exactly what makes it such a unique and exciting place to visit.
Our Seville to Malaga sailing on October 31, 2017 (and Andalusian Spain and Morocco on October 29, 2017) offers an overnight stay in this incredible city and the chance to enjoy an orientation tour that showcases the port, the old medina, the Place Mohammed V – a busy shopping street lined by residential blocks dating from the 1930s – United Nations Square – designed by French architect Joseph Marrast – and the League of Arab States Park. The tour also includes a visit to the impressive Hassan II Mosque, the second largest mosque in the world with the tallest minaret in the world.
Aegean Odyssey’s time in Casablanca will also allow for tours to the capital city of Rabat and the vibrant city of Marrakesh – ideal for guests who also want to head further afield or have previously visited Casablanca. Visits and overnight stays in Fez and Tangier also follow before guests will re-join Aegean Odyssey for the remainder of her cruise.
This 10-day itinerary also features the ports of Seville, Cadiz and Malaga and offers 6 included tours.
You can view more of our special offers on 2017 cruises on our website.