United Nations Square, also known as Place des Nations-Unies, is a prominent public square in the city of Casablanca, Morocco. The square is located at the heart of the modern city and is surrounded by several significant buildings and landmarks. While the early history of Casablanca dates back to the Phoenician and Roman periods, the United Nations Square has a more recent history, tied to the French colonial period and the urban development of the city in the 20th century.
French Colonial Period (1912-1956):
The history of United Nations Square is closely connected to the French colonization of Morocco. In 1912, following the Treaty of Fes, France established a protectorate over Morocco, and Casablanca became an important colonial city. The French initiated a massive urban development project to modernize and expand Casablanca, led by French architect and urban planner Henri Prost.
Establishment of Place des Nations-Unies (1920s-1930s):
Under the guidance of Henri Prost, the city's layout was redesigned to accommodate modern infrastructure, wide boulevards, and public squares. One of these new public spaces was the Place des Nations-Unies, which was established during the 1920s and 1930s. The square was designed to be a central location, connecting the Old Medina to the modern European-style city center.
Surrounding Landmarks and Architecture:
As part of the urban development plan, several important buildings were constructed around United Nations Square. These included the Wilaya (Prefecture) building, the Palace of Justice, the Bank of Morocco, and the iconic clock tower. The architecture of these buildings reflects the blending of French Art Deco and traditional Moroccan styles, creating a unique urban landscape that characterizes Casablanca.
Post-Independence Era (1956-present):
Following Morocco's independence from France in 1956, the United Nations Square continued to serve as a central location in the city. Over the years, the square has witnessed numerous political events, social gatherings, and celebrations. It is also a popular destination for both locals and tourists, who come to enjoy the vibrant atmosphere, street vendors, and stunning architecture.
In summary, United Nations Square in Casablanca is a relatively recent urban development, with its history closely linked to the French colonial period. Established in the 1920s and 1930s as part of the city's modernization plan, the square has become a symbol of the blending of European and Moroccan cultures and serves as a vital public space in the heart of Casablanca.