Results 1-9of 9 Reviews
April 24, 2011
From journal Here's Looking at Casablanca
New York, New York
October 11, 2009
From journal Morocco: Medinas and Mezze
December 18, 2007
From journal Casablanca: The Heart of North Africa
by Heather F
Heywood, Victoria, Australia
May 12, 2007
Hassan II mosque is an architectural masterpiece and well worth a visit. Located on reclaimed land, the world's third largest mosque is surrounded on three side by ocean. It is huge and can hold up to 25,000 worshipers, has a retractable roof and is built from predominantly local products - marble, granite, and various woods. Inside are splendid examples of wood carving, zellij (tiled mosaics) and stucco moulding.Although large, it is not commonly frequented by locals as they often resent the forced contributions that led to its construction.
The exterior can be visited at any time and guided tours of the interior are also available. They cost 120 Dh for adults and occur at 9am, 10am, 11am and 2pm Saturday to Thursday. Tours are run in a range of languages including English and French. Visitors should be respectfully dressed but women do not have to cover their heads. Shoes will need to be removed before entry. Visitors are free to photographs both the interior and exterior of the mosque.The mosque is a 20-minute walk from Casa Port railway station, or alternatively take a petit taxi.
From journal Casablanca Highlights
New York City, New York
November 17, 2004
I visited the mosque in the late afternoon, as prayer was already in progress. Old women relaxed in the shade of the endless arcades and archways projecting outwards from the main structure. Their hyperactive grandchildren ran pell-mell through the archways, screeching and shouting as they went. As the adults quietly exited the mosque, the children dashed through robes and legs looking for their parents. It reminded me of my own trips to church with my family; mother and father solemnly focused on the task at hand, while my sister and I fiddled and paid no attention. Many families come in from the countryside in order to pray here at least once, and with beaches and shopping nearby, most make a day out of this pilgrimage. The mosque is a gathering place for local families as well. I was there on a weekday, so the number of faithful fell far short of the 25,000 worshippers it can supposedly hold.
As the intense sunlight finally eased and the laser pointing toward Mecca was lit, families sat together along the ramparts bordering the huge plaza laid out before the mosque. At the far end of the esplanade –- at least 200 meters from the mosque entrance -- teenage boys played a game of pick-up soccer. The tide had gone out by then, and other boys and older men jumped from rock to rock in the tidal pools below the mosque, filling their buckets with what appeared to be mussels.
Enjoying the tranquility of this place was a wonderful experience. The only sad note is that it is clear that certain features of the plaza and the mosque are already in disrepair after only 15 years of wear. One would hope that the government is in a position to maintain such a cultural treasure -- even if it can never be fully shared with the non-Muslim world.
From journal Casablanca-Gateway to a Kingdom
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
November 6, 2004
Being the third largest mosque after Mecca and Medina, this awesome building is perched on the precipice of a cliff, with part of it hanging over the sea. Inspired by the Koran, which says that "the throne of God was built on water," this project was ingenious as the symbol of a developing Atlantic nation because, for centuries, the Arabs were plagued with the Sea of Obscurity-Atlantic Ocean-associating it with invaders, colonists, and weak tribes driven back from the heartlands of Morocco. But with the rise of Casablanca as the country's economic powerhouse, the Moroccans are finally focusing on the coast.
Work began on the mosque in 1980, being built right over the sea on the site of a former municipal swimming pool south of the city. Financed largely by donations at an estimated cost of $800 million, the astronomical cost is matched by designs of a gigantic scale, covering a total area of 24,000 square yards. The prayer hall can accommodate 250,000 worshippers with space for another 80,000 pilgrims on the esplanade. A laser beam, indicating the direction of Mecca, shines as far as 22 miles from atop one of the world’s tallest minarets. Visible from anywhere in the city, it is topped by three gilded balls on its roof that are the size of a football pitch.
As the brainchild of French architect, Michel Pinseau, the mosque has tones of ochre and green (the traditional colour associated with Islam). It was inaugurated on August 30, 1993 in commemoration of the 60th birthday of the former Moroccan king, Hassan II.
Beyond the massive doors of the mosque, the interior shimmers with polished marble floors, granite columns, and Moorish arches topped with cedar-panelled cupolas. The intricately decorated roof is lit by pale green Bohemian crystal chandeliers and can be opened to flood the hall with light. Just about every square inch is precisely carved, painted and chiselled by the best of the best of Moroccan artisans. Over 2,500 men worked on two separate shifts to complete its construction. The mosque has a retractable roof and a heated floor, and the seating area for the women seems to levitate above the main floor. You can see through the floor to the fountains and baths below.
A cultural centre, with a library, museum, and Muslim schools, adjoins the main building. The creation of this vast complex was followed by an extensive program of urban development in which whole areas in the immediate vicinity were demolished and a wide access road was constructed.
From journal You must remember this...
September 30, 2004
There are benches on both sides of the mosque and a nice place to sit and take a bite while you're waiting for the tour to start. There is no shade, but the temperature is tempered by the breezes blowing in from the ocean. And occasionally you can hear the whistles of police officers who swarm the grounds.
Having purchased your ticket and been appointed a guide (according to the language you have indicated you'd like the tour to be conducted in), you will be informed where and when to gather for your guided tour. Our English-speaking tour guide was able to explain not just the architecture well but also gave us an insight into the religion. The tours are also conducted in French. And there is a concession for students. Photography is allowed inside but not filming with a video camera.
Before entering the mosque, you are encouraged to cleanse your hands and face at one of the many colourful, mosaic fountains outside the mosque on the esplanade.
At the entrance into the building proper, you will be given a sticker which identifies that you are part of a group tour which is stamped with a number and the date of the tour. After which you will be given plastic bags to store your shoes, as you will be walking barefoot throughout the interior.
On the guided tour, which will take about 1.5 hours, the guide will walk you through the many prayer halls and huge ablution chambers that can accommodate 500 people at any one time. Especially on Fridays, when it is compulsory for the men to go for noon prayers. The prayer halls are divided into an area for men, and an area for women upstairs with windows so they can see the religious master ~ faqih.
Part of the building is built over the cliff and certain areas of the great hall has transparent glass flooring, from where you are able to see through to the ocean below.
At the end of the tour, you are expected to tip the guide, we gave ours US$2 per person. But of course, as always, it is up to your own discretion.
And if you'd like you can take the elevator up the minaret but that costs extra.
Halifax, Nova Scotia
January 21, 2004
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.
Note: Tours (mandatory) 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.
From journal On the Road to Morocco
by Barb B
Napa, CA and Hereford, AZ , Arizona
November 13, 2000
This immense mosque was commissioned, as a gift, to King Hassan II for his sixtieth birthday, in 1989. The largest mosque outside Saudi Arabia, it can accommodate an astonishing 25,000 worshippers inside and an additional 80,000 outside on the esplanade. The structure is so large; that the Basilica of St. Peter's in Rome could fit inside its handcrafted marble walls. With a 650-foot minaret, it is the tallest religious structure in the world
An Eastern-facing laser, atop the minaret, indicates the direction of Mecca. Since we are not Muslims, we were not allowed inside the mosque. However, our guide told us that a museum, steam baths, a library, and Koran school and conference facilities are all located inside.
This immense architectural marvel set so sensationally at the water's edge, not only provides a stunning shrine, but also echoes the Koran verse 'Allah has his throne on the water.'
From journal Play it again, Sam