Casablanca today boasts one of Africa's largest ports. The Place Mohammed V is the heart of the city; the main boulevards branch out from here. Casablanca is the kingdom's commercial capital; most of the cultural activities are concentrated here, from art galleries to excellent international restaurants. The Hassan II Mosque completed in 1993 is among the largest in the world, boasting the tallest minaret. Casablanca is no doubt Morocco's window on the world and is a fast-paced cosmopolitan city where trends are created and modernism parts company with traditionalism or tries to blend them. Casablanca is one of the world's most interesting and open Muslim cities. Some of the best restaurants are found along Boulevard Mohammed el Hansali and on the way to beach resorts. Casablanca's beaches and exclusive suburb are located to the east of the city along the Boulevard de la Corniche. This is a very trendy area, lined with four-star hotels, restaurants and bars.
Ouarzazate is located in a valley at the foot of the High Atlas Mountains and is at the center of Sahara Desert tourism. The city is also the film capital of Morocco and was used to shoot many famous films with desert scenes. Ouarzazate boasts many luxury hotels, expensive restaurants, and shops. The recently restored Kasbah is also worth visiting and has been used as a movie set.
Fes (Fez) has been the capital of Morocco for more than 400 years and is home to the oldest university in the country and the leading cultural and religious center. Fes is also the home of the oldest and largest medieval city in the world, a city that has remained almost unchanged through the modern ages and still very alive. Today Fes has its own culture, pride, art and cuisine. Bustling with artisans and merchants, its captivating sounds, fragrances and colors mesmerize the visitor with a constant swirl of activity.
Marrakech, known as the "Pearl of the South," is an oasis in southwestern Morocco at the foot of the Atlas Mountains, with rose-colored ramparts and a thousand year old palm grove. Sumptuous and exuberant, it radiates splendor and mysticism and casts a magic spell on all who visit. Marrakesh has the largest berber market (souk) in Morocco and also hosts the busiest square in Africa. Founded in 1062 as the capital of the Almoravid dynasty, it continued in the 12th century as capital of the Almohads. Marrakech remained a political, economic and cultural center for a long period. Its influence was felt throughout the western Muslim world, from North Africa to Andalusia. Marrakech also became known as a magnet for some of the greatest saints of Islam, many of whom are buried within the city. Marrakech, like Fez, is a genuinely Islamic city in both its genesis and traditions. Marrakech has impressive monuments dating from that period: the Koutoubiya Mosque, the Kasbah, the battlements, monumental doors and gardens. Other architectural jewels include the Bandia Palace, the Ben Youssef Madrasa, the Saadian Tombs and Place Jamaa El Fna, an open-air theater. The modern city was constructed in 1913 during the French occupation of the country and reflects the European influence. But the essence of the city remains the same.
Erfoud is a French-build administrative town built in the thirties. The town, with its dusty red buildings, has a ghost town atmosphere but is surrounded by some of the best scenery in Morocco. Erfoud is not a typical tourist destination, but a good number of travelers from all over the world fill the streets almost all through the year. The two main attractions in Erfoud are the date festival and the marble industry. Erfoud can work as a good base for people exploring the Ziz valley and the beautiful dunes out at Merzouga. You may even be lucky enough to experience a sandstorm - a totally surreal experience!
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