Created by French architects in the 1920’s, the Habous Quarter is also known as the New Medina. For me, the most visually striking aspect of this section of Casablanca is the frequent use of multiple arches. They feature in the gates, the covered walkways and the alleyways, creating a distinctive, exotic appearance.
Many of the buildings have attractive architectural features, such as decorative doors and windows. The arched shape is also carried over into the design of some of these elements.
This visit also enabled me to get a taste of the famous Moroccan tagine, a dish that is named after the earthenware pot in which it is cooked. There are not many restaurants around the Habous, but after walking around the area, we found Zanya. This lovely little restaurant was almost empty when we arrived but was full by the time we left. It is nicely decorated inside, plays Moroccan music and has a variety of tagines on the menu. I opted for the Chicken Tagine and was very happy with it. Tender, fall-off-the-bone chicken breast with delicious flavour. Lovely!
When we decided to visit Habous today, our only consideration had been the weather, as we’ve experienced several rainy days this week. It had not even occurred to us that it was Friday, Islam’s sabbath. During lunch, we heard the calls to prayer from the nearby mosque. It was a call for Jumu’ah (Friday congregational prayers). By the time we left the restaurant, most of the men in the area had made their way to the mosque and were outside, praying in lines. With the men attending Friday prayers, almost all of the nearby market stalls were closed and locked up. Clearly, Friday afternoon is the worst possible time to visit the market in Habous (and probably anywhere else in Morocco).
Whilst many of the market stalls remained closed for the day, some of them began to re-open after prayers had ended. We had been advised not to miss the Olive Market in Habous – but we learned that it was closed all day on Fridays. However, we did get to see some of the market stalls and take a few photos. We had no intentions of buying anything. We just wanted to walk around and enjoy the sights – and we were able to do that. A good day out!