Monday, March 14, 2011


Before I start talking about my weekend, I would like to say - hearts and prayers for everyone that was/is affected by the earthquake and tsunami. Mother nature can be cruel sometimes.

Now onto my weekend. This past weekend, I went to Casablanca and Rabat (hence the title - Casrabat) with the ISA group. Saturday was our Casablanca day and Sunday was our Rabat day so I will start off with Casablanca.
Casablanca means white house in Spanish. Casablanca is one of the largest cities in Morocco - fun fact of the day: 50% of the cars in Morocco are in Casablanca! Crazy. Well this large city is located right on the Atlantic Ocean making it a must see city! If you go to Casablanca, you have to see the largest mosque that was built by Hassan II.
Hassan II Mosque
Before I move on, I need to give you a history lesson of the kingship in Morocco. Right now Mohammed VI is ruling the kingdom. His father was Hassan II and Hassan's father was Mohammed V. (Mohammed is a very common name because the first born son is either named after his father or after Mohammed - oh it has a variety of spellings also). Morocco gained it's independence under Mohammed V.
Anyways, that was a quick history lesson for you but yeah see Hassan II Mosque. It started building in 1987 and took 6 years to build! It's huge! Part of the Mosque is actually above the ocean. They built it like that because in the Quran, there is a verse that states that God's throne was built upon the water. Pretty cool, huh? Well, they only allow one english tour a day at the Mosque and we almost missed our spot but good thing we didn't because the inside is so beautiful!- there are basically no words to describe it besides wow, ohhhs-ahhs, amazing, crazy, well, can't really put it in words but hopefully you get it.

We also visited Place Mohammed V. It's a huge fountain in the city across from some government buildings - pictures on photobucket.
Place Mohammad V
Since Casablanca is a big city, this is where all the cool nightclubs are at. I actually skipped out on the nightclub scene because I had a huge headache and had to go to bed around 9 but from what the others told me, they had a lot of fun dancing and drinking until 4 or 5 in the morning!

Atlantic Ocean
I think I've talked about Casablanca enough so now onto Rabat! 

Rabat (in Arabic ribat means fortress) is also located on the coast and is the capital of Morocco. We walked through the Kasbah des Oudaias and got to see and enjoy the ocean view from above (Kasbah means: type of medina, Islamic city, fortress; so Kasbah des Oudaias means Fortress of Oudaias). The weather wasn't ideal - sprinkling pretty much the whole day - but it was still pretty. The Kasbah in the olden days was used as a defense mechanism (right between the Atlantic ocean and the Oued Bou Regreg river) and today, people from all over buy houses in the Kasbah.
hmm, I think I just found my new house ;-). The houses in the Kasbah are way too expensive (in the billions) for me but maybe one day . . .
Cafe Maure
After this we headed to Cafe Maure which overlooked the river and is connected to the Andalusian Garden. At the Cafe, they were really trying to sell their pastries and mint tea to us - it only worked on a few of us. They do some hard selling over here! Besides that, the river and the garden was very peaceful and beautiful to look at. Oh, and the garden smelled amazing! 

We then headed to Chellah. No one has probably heard of Chellah so I'm going to explain. This ancient part in Rabat was first occupied by the Phoenicians then the Romans took it over (when they were taking everything else over). The Romans abandoned it and then Sultan Abou al-Hassan Ali took control of it. Abou al-Hassan is known as the Black King in Morocco with a rich cultural background. His dad was from Black Africa, his mom was Amazigh and he married a white woman - pretty amazing for being in the 14th century. Anyways, Chellah, I like to think of it, is a clash of different cultures in one; there were a mixture of different architectures in this one small spot - Roman, Moorish, Egyptian (Cleo's son came to Chellah), Islamic, and Turkish. Both Abou al-Hassan and his wife are buried in Chellah so, of course, I took pictures (photobucket it).

Mohammed V Mausoleum
Talking about dead people, after Chellah, we went to Mohammed V Mausoleum where we saw King Mohammed V, his brother Prince Moulay Abdallah, and his son King Hassan II's grave. It's like the Taj Mahal in India but different because it's in Morocco. Their tomb is above ground but the Kings and the Prince are buried below the Mausoleum. There are guards all over, one at each entrance (there are four entrances) and one in each corner of the building inside (again, four). Then there are guards on horses outside of the Mausoleum before walking up the stairs. Nothing bad is going to happen to the King's grave.

Each of the city had their own uniqueness to it. Each had a different energy and vibe. Casablanca is more fast paced and grand while Rabat is the quiet and laid-back city. I would most definitely go back to both of the places but I really liked Rabat more. 

My next trip that I will post about is my spring break trip! I'm super excited about that one - more details are to come.
I hope you enjoy reading my blog. If you have any questions about Morocco and their culture, comment on here or send me an e-mail I would love to hear your comments :)

1 comment:

  1. I love you so much! Your blog is awesome:)!! I can't wait to see all of these places in person!