Monday, February 17, 2014

Casablanca Vying for UNESCO World Heritage Listing

The push is on for the registering of Casablanca on the UNESCO list of World Heritage cities. Any such listing is still a long way off, but if successful the city would gain a boost in tourism and economic growth

Photo Credit: Rachid Tniouni

The Ministry of Culture and Casamémoire Association recently held a joint press conference at the Casablanca Wilaya to present an outline of the registration project from Casablanca to join the World Heritage List of UNESCO.

Casablanca relies on its cultural and architectural heritage to be recognised as World Heritage by UNESCO. Morocco's economic capital is already present on the indicative list of the organisation, "a laborious process that requires a lot of energy and commitment that we expect from the Wilaya of Casablanca and the departments concerned, "said Mohammed Sajid, the Chairman Grand Casablanca.

"An original synthesis of three different cultures"

The city administration and Casamémoire association that works to protect the heritage of the city, have been setting forward the multicultural aspect of the city centre. "The urban and architectural style of the city offers a unique synthesis of three different cultures from three continents: the African culture, European culture and American culture," says the Wali, Khalid Safir. Many iconic buildings reflect the cultural mix. "center of Casablanca has built its own modernity through buildings like Al Mahkama, the Bank of Morocco which cleverly combine neo-Moorish and Neoclassical styles," adds Andaloussi Rachid, president of Casamémoire. He points out that if "Casablanca joined the club of cities classified by UNESCO, it will benefit from a massive influx of tourists and the launch of numerous projects funded by multinationals." And especially " the authorities will no longer demolish some buildings without going through an organisation affiliated to the United Nations."  Hopefully that  would ensure a better protection of Casablanca's heritage.

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