The Hassan II Mosque or Grand Mosquée Hassan. It is the largest mosque in the country and the 7th largest in the world. Its minaret is the world's tallest at 210 metres (689 ft). Completed in 1993, it was designed by Michel Pinseau and built by Bouygues. The minaret is 60 stories high topped by a laser, the light from which is directed towards Mecca. The mosque stands on a promontory looking out to the Atlantic Ocean, the sea bed being visible through the glass floor of the building's hall. The walls are of hand-crafted marble and the roof is retractable. A maximum of 105,000 worshippers can gather together for prayer: 25,000 inside the mosque hall and another 80,000 on the mosque's outside grounds.
The only disappointing aspect of our visit was that we went at night ........ and we thought the mosque would be all lighted in ... and it was not.
Tours are offered several times during the day and you must be dressed appropriately to attend.
The new mosque of Hassan II it's a marvel of architecture, looking big and being bigger than it looks, favoured by its location entering the sea.
I didn't visit the interior, which, for non Muslims, is only accessible in organized visits that we couldn't access. But it's always possible to walk in the esplanade, seeing the doors and arches in detail.
One of the main attractions Casablanca has is the Mosque of Hassan II, the 7th largest mosque in the world. Besides being so huge, it is also unique in that it is built so that part of it hangs over the Atlantic Ocean, and there is a room with a glass floor so that you can look down and see the water below you.
There are guided tours in many different languages that take place throughout the day, although I don't believe any tours are given during a time of mass prayer. I don't remember the cost of the tour, but I don't think it was expensive.
Casablanca's major highlight is undoubtedly the massive Mosquee Hassan II, on a rocky promontory a couple of kilometres from the centre of the city. It actually appears a lot closer, because it is hard to gauge the scale of the building from far away, but the road to get there goes on and on and on. Sources can't agree on whether it is the largest mosque after Mecca (I doubt it), the largest in Africa (possible) or just the largest in Morocco (well...yes), but it is enormous, and unusually for Moroccan Islamic monuments, non-Muslims are allowed inside, on special guided tours.
As usual, my timing was not great. The last tour of the day had just set off when I arrived, so all I could do was to admire the courtyard and towering minaret along with hundreds of Moroccans, out to enjoy some sea air on a Sunday afternoon. Security officials were having a hard time keeping a group of local boys in swimming shorts from hurling themselves off the end of the courtyard and into the crashing waves below, much to the delight of the crowds gathering on the corniche. Just when the guards had caught one, another would come running past, leaving a trail of wet footprints on the tiles.
I promised myself I would come back at the end of my trip to see inside the mosque, but unfortunately I ran out of time, arriving in Casablanca on a Friday, when the mosque does not run tours, and the following day I flew home. Even if the mosque tours aren't running, it is still worth visiting to see the courtyard and minaret, as well as the sea views.
The district around the mosque is undergoing some development, as the mosque complex looks like it is spreading across the highway, and new apartment blocks are advertized nearby. On the other side, a pier jets out into the sea, allowing you to glimpse behind a set of strategically placed billboards hiding a stagnant lake that is apparently going to be a marina one day. For now, though, the mosque is a stunning building in a somewhat down-at-heel residential quarter.
I never thought to see such splendour in a modern building - beautiful marble and ornately decorated cedar wood inside and intricate tile designs and sweeping colonades outside.
The Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca is tallest religious building in the world. It is the largest mosque in Morocco and the third largest mosque in the world (after Mecca and Medina). It was designed by the French architect Michel Pinseau and took 6 years to complete in 1993. It was built partially on reclaimed land and half of the floor is directly over the Atlantic Ocean.
It was built to withstand earthquakes and has a number of modern touches such as a heated floor, electric doors, and a sliding roof.
The architecture shows a strong Moorish influence, similar to that of the Alhambra and the Great Mosque of Cordoba in Spain. This is one of only two mosques in Morocco open to non-Muslims. Guided tours depart several times a day outside of prayer times. Sat-Thu 9am, 10am, 11am, 2pm.
Normal conservative attire is required for both men and women - no shorts, ladies must cover their shoulders and upper arms and no shoes. The website below states no head covering required but take a scarf with you if you feel more comfortable.
The Hassan II Mosque is the second largest religious building in the world after the mosque in Mecca. It can accommodate up to 25,000 people. The complex has an area of 9 hectares, most of which is built on reclaimed land. The minaret is 200 m high, and has 2 laser beams reaching a distance of 30 km shine in the direction of Mecca. The building was designed by Michel Pinseau, and 35,000 workers and craftsmen were employed in its construction, which went on day and night for 7 years. It opened in 1993.
The mosque is very impressive, not only for its size, but for the workmanship, and the material of which it is built. If the exterior is awe-inspiring, the interior is even more stupendous -- and nothing was spared in its expense. The exquisitely carved stucco, tilework, the cedar wood galleries, the marble and other precious stones, and the giant Murano chandeliers -- everything was employed to once more display to the world the Moroccan genius for grandiose architecture, reminding us that these were the people who built the Alhambra.
The Hassan II Mosque is undoubtedly THE landmark of Casablanca, with a host of superlatives tagging along behind it. 3rd-largest mosque in the world, largest mosque in Morocco, tallest minaret in the world, an eye-boggling amount of money and man-hours spent in its construction... they were probably had in mind to create a monument to rival the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World.
A little tip which might be helpful for travellers trying to get a Petit Taxi to come here... in French the mosque is called "Mosquee Hassan Deux", with a accent on the 2nd last letter of "Mosquee". The approximate pronunciation, if you don't speak French, is "Moss-kay Hassan Duh".
It's EXTREMELY windy on the square surrounding the mosque!
Visitors aren't allowed inside except during guided 1-hour tours held at 0900, 1000, 1100 and 1400, daily except Fridays. The admission fee is 120 MAD, students enjoy half price. As none of the tour timings fit my schedule, despite visiting Casablanca twice, I have been "spared" from contributing to their coffers! However a chap who looked like a worker there (?) motioned for me to join the group which was going towards the basement areas, and I did get to see those, which housed the Turkish baths (hammam), with lots of traditional mosaic art.
A selection of postcards featuring the mosque are available at the service counter in the basement area, for 8 MAD each. However if you're looking for postcards featuring a good view of the entire mosque, I found better pickings at the small convenience stores at Casablanca airport.
The mosque is said to boast Venetian glass chandeliers, a retractable roof, electrically-controlled doors etc. Named after King Hassan II, it took over 7 years to complete and most of the materials used in the construction were produced by Morocco itself.
The mosque is built on reclaimed land right at the edge of the Atlantic ocean, and if you look carefully, can be seen from the plane as you take off or land at Casablanca airport.
The Hassan II Mosque is the third largest in the world, and it is built entirely with Moroccan materials except for two items: a few slabs of Carrara marble, and the Venetian glass chandeliers. It holds 20,000 worshipers on the floor, and 5,000 women on the balconies. There are 41 fountains in the ablution hall. It took 6 years (1987-1963) to build the mosque, even with 10,000 workers working around the clock. The 1,100 ton carved wooden ceiling is on tracks, and is opened on nice days.
Our guide said she was waiting for the standard questions:
How much did it cost? ($80 million, and the King paid 1/3 of it)
How many people does it take to clean it? (200 people, working every day.)
Guided tours are available at 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. daily. In July & August only, there is also a 3 p.m. tour. The cost is 120 DH for adults; 30 DH for children under 12. (Less for Moroccans.) The tour takes about 45 minutes and was worth it.
This is an amazing structure. I'd seen it from the plane as we came in to land - it's that big, and located on the edge of the ocean between the port and the Corniche. I was drawn to it 1st thing the next morning.
It was easy to find from my hotel - just head for the huge minaret.
It's the 3rd largest religious building in the world, and can hold 25k worshippers. Finished in 1993 after 5 years work, for the King's 60th birthday.
It is open to non-Muslims, but only on guided tours.
The elaborate Minaret stands at a towering 200 metres and be seen from quite a distance. It is supposed to be the tallest in the world. At the top of the minaret are laser lights which beam out towards Mecca.
There is a glass floor that exposes the ocean below and the roof over the central part can be opened up . Other modern features are the electric doors and a heated floor. The whole construction was built to also withstand earthquakes. If you wish to visit the Mosque you will need to telephone and book as it is only open to Muslims. There are hour long guided tours which depart at specific times.
The Mosque was opened in 1993. It was designed by a French architect, Michel Pinseau who employed 35,000 craftsmen to work on the project. It was however King Hassan II who requested its location. The construction is made up of carved stucco as well as Zellij tile work. Inside the mosque the cedar ceiling has marble, onyx and travertine cladding – almost all of the materials were from Morocco. There is a Womens Gallery which is hidden from view and up two mezzanines. It can hold up to 5,000 women.
The Hassan II Mosque is really outstanding, not only its appearance and the architecture but its location as well. Reported to be the 2nd largest religious building in the world, the mosque can cater for 25,000 worshippers in the prayer hall. The courtyard can hold another 80,000 people. The construction cost around 800,000 million and were raised entirely from the public.
In the historical context
THE HASSAN II MOSQUE does not convey to us only the movement, the interpretation and the strong and striking voice of a worship dedicated to The Almighty; it at the same time breathes into us the incarnation of its message today, of the ardent desire to have its call heard by the entire Mankind in the full extent of its authenticity, of its magnificence, of its gratitude and of its passion to understand others, -in its humanism and its tolerance. The Hassan II Mosque is part of the tradition of religious monuments, in the phases of their history, in the quest of the architectural art it consecrates by bringing it to the heights of fame, by renewing it, by adapting it to the means that enable it to get free from the impact and stamp of the cities of another age. The first monumental mosques date back to the Omeyyade era. Abd al-MaIik ordered the construction between 688 and 692 of the Dome of the Rock (Qubbat as-Sakhra), which is, along with Masjid al-Aqsâ, one of the most famous Islamic monuments.
It opens the way to great architectural achievements Of an Islam, deeply urban but continental. The reconstruction of The Grand Mosque of Madinah between 705 and 710, and the founding, between 706 and 715 of the Grand Mosque of Damascus are attributed to his son al-Walid. The Grand Mosque of Damascus, whose transverse naves are separated by lines of two-level arches parallel to the qibla wall and crossed in their middle by a central nave, is the prototype of the mosques of the Muslim west. This layout characterizes the pattern called `medinian`. It will gain widespread acceptance and will even bring its impact to the Qarawiyyîne Mosque of Fez. In the Muslim west, the Grand Mosque of Kairouan is considered as the ancestor of all the mosques in the Maghreb. The Kairouan mosque, founded by 'Oqba ben Nâfi', demolished and then reconstructed at the end of the VIIth century, was enlarged in the second half of the VIIIth century by Caliph Hicham, then refurbished by Ziyâdat Allah before going through a last extension during the IXth century.
The layout of the naves directed in depth, perpendicular to the qibla wall, a layout called 'basilical' and already adopted by the al-Aqsâ Mosque, will be reproduced and perpetuated in the mosques of IFriqiya, Spain and Other parts of the Maghreb. The second monumental mosque of the Muslim West is the Grand Mosque of Cordoba, the dean of the mosques of Spain. Edified by 'Abd al-Rahmân I in 785-786, it was enlarged successively by Abd al-Rahmân II in 833, by al-Hakam in 961 and finally by al-Mansour in 987. This building that its founder, who was keen on reproducing in Andalusia the splendor of the Omeyyad Caliphate, wanted to construct on the pattern Of the Grand Mosque of Damascus, is, more than the Kairouan mosque, the prototype of all the Arab-Andalusian monumental mosques, mainly those of Saragossa and Toledo. Besides, it provide a catalogue of the ornamental designs that the art of the following centuries will reproduce in Morocco. It was in the IXth century, and more precisely in 859, that the two Moroccan monumental mosques were constructed: The qarawiyyîne Mosque and the Andalous Mosque. The Qarawiyyîne Mosque, wich has since the start outshone its sister mosque, witnessed several extensions in 956 and 1135 under the reign of the Almoravids. Its transverse naves layouts breaks with the layout of other Almoravid shrines in the Maghreb: The Grand Mosque of Tlemcen(1136) and the Grand Mosque of Algiers (1096) for example.
This recently built mosque is the ?second/third largest mosque in the world. The minaret is the highest of all. It is very difficult to try and describe how monumental this mosque is. Also, I don’t think that photos could really give an idea of its size. It is very impressive, located on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean. It is built on reclaimed land, almost half of the surface of the mosque lies over the Atlantic water.
It must have been very expensive – that is quite clear.
The Mosque is most probably one of the highlights of a visit to Casablanca.