Hassan II Mosque
As the only mosque in Morocco that non-Muslims may visit, the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca is an obvious destination. Depending on which guidebook you read, it is either the second or third largest mosque in the world, so bring a measuring tape and check for yourself. Constructed for the late king Hassan II on the event of his 60th birthday, its design balances the sensation of personal spirituality and state piety, cool somber colours with riotous zelig-tile work and desert shades with water playful fountains. With the exception of its chandeliers (Italian crystal) and its white granite columns, the structure is Moroccan through and through, from the colourful zelig tiles, granite, plaster, marble, to its deep-hued wood used in its construction. One cannot but marvel at its beauty, its serenity, and opulence. Its 210m-high minaret is the tallest in the world and shines a laser beam towards Mecca.
Jutting out atop the Atlantic (you can see water below your feet as you walk atop the partially glass-tiled floor), its beauty is nonetheless compromised by its very modest location and US$500+ million price tag. It has been noted that less fortunate Moroccans have not benefitted financially from the erection of the mosque, especially with the demolition of low-income neighbourhoods during its construction period. Having said that, it has been suggested that Moroccan arts and crafts were saved from extinction in the building and decorating of this mosque.
Unique Suggestions: Tours are offered in a variety of languages and are available to non-Muslims every day at fixed hours, except on Fridays. Remember to dress modestly!
The easiest way to reach the Hassan II mosque is to take the Boulevard des Almohades (turns into Blvd. Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdallah). It's on the shoreline, so you really can't miss it.Related to:
- Historical Travel
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