(Quartier Habbous, Habous)
In 1917 French architect Albert Laprade received from his chief Henri Prost a task to develop a project of a new neighbourhood. Casablanca was experiencing influx of migrants. More and more Moroccans were coming to work and live in the city. The project had to bring together modern technologies, traditional Moroccan way of life and aesthetics.
It was uneasy. But monsieur Laprade succeeded in fulfilling the task. New Medina was erected in neo-Moorish style with modern materials and up-to-date urban amenities (such as sidewalks etc). It was including mosques, traditional public hammams, public ovens and small inner yards hidden from the eyes of strangers. Every little detail in project had been carefully thought through.
M. Laprade’s colleagues – architects Auguste Cadet and Edmond Brion had been building Quartier Habbous until 1955. But the initial aim was lost: instead of working class New Medina attracted families from high society. They had appreciated the proximity of Royal Palace and new mosques.
In Quartier Habbous you will find a lot of small local shops and designed by M. Laprade souks. But here is no bustle like in any usual medina. Quartier Habbous even doesn’t look like a medina. Though it has inherited curved lanes and vendors sell the same handicraft things.
Here you can slowly walk, investigating all small corners of neighbourhood, and catch yourself upon a feeling that you are slightly back in time.
In New Medina you may:
– Walk in the streets and take a look at crafts and arts that are for sale,
– Admire mosques of Habbous quarter,
– Visit Mahkama du Pacha palace,
– Buy some unusual tasty things in olive souk,
– Take away some pastry from Moulay Ismail bakery,
– And enjoy its taste while sipping Moroccan mint tea in a nearby café,
– Take a walk around the walls of Royal Palace (unfortunately no visitors are allowed because it is a current residency of the King). GPS coordinates: 33°34’47.4″N 7°36’22.1″W (33.579824, -7.606143)
Take map of Casablanca with you – just click the star and it will be saved in your Google account. Any locations in this region that I will add later will appear on your map.