Few people go to Casablanca for the scenery. The Maghreb’s biggest city, its most important port and the country’s industrial hub is not known for its tranquil pace of life or its picturesque scenery. It doubled as war-torn Beirut in the 2001 espionage thriller, Spy Game (starring Robert Redford and Brad Pitt), for goodness’ sake! Casanegra, as it has become known since Noureddine Lakhmari’s 2008 film entitled it thus – thereby exposing the city’s less than shiny white underbelly – does not bustle, it jostles. The city doesn’t sell, it hawks. It houses Morocco’s wealthiest industrialists, its largest slums and – connecting them both – a significant black economy. Not a pretty place, you might think. And far removed from the days of Bacall and Bogart…..
Nonetheless, wallets and cameras securely zipped inside our jackets, we spent a weekend pounding the pavements of Casa (people don’t stroll here) and were surprised to uncover a few architectural gems.