Mohammad V Square

Muhammad V Square, located south of the medina in central Casablanca, Morocco, is of historical and symbolic significance. Established in 1916 under Resident General Hubert Lyautey, at the beginning of the period of French colonialism, it was designed by French architects Henri Prost and Joseph Marrast on the former site of French colonial barracks. The square was to become the heart of the expanding ville européenne, or European city.

The square, currently named in honor of the former king of Morocco, Muhammad V, is also known popularly as “Pigeon Square”. Historically, it also used to be known as the Main Square, Square of France, Square of Victory, Administrative Square, and Place Lyautey (in honor of the France’s first résident général in Morocco). On August 8, 1943, Charles de Gaulle delivered a speech here which was broadcast by radio.

Surrounding the square, buildings for important administrative functions were erected, designed in the Neo-Mauresque style that was innovated by Henri Prost and his contemporaries, combining French design principles with traditional Mauro-Andalusi architectural traditions which lent the colonial administrative buildings legitimacy. Among these buildings are:

  • The Courthouse (Palais de Justice, above)
  • The Central Post Office (La Poste Centrale) – the first building completed at the square
  • El-Wilaya – a prefecture-level administrative building, featuring a Venetian-inspired clock tower rising high above the building, as well as exposed exterior galleries reminiscent of the Doge’s Palace
  • Bank al-Maghreb Casablanca – city branch of the Bank of Morocco
  • Visited: 2018

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