Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca
The Hassan II Mosque is a magnificent building and is a must for anyone visiting Morocco. It stands as the 7th largest mosque in the world and is testament to the skill and craftsmanship of the Moroccan people, beaten in size only by Mecca itself. Although built by the Frenchman Michel Pinseau and built by Bouygues, a large construction company based in Paris, it was built with Morocco in mind. Using materials from local areas; the building is an outstanding reminder that this country is an Islamic one. Its construction took at least 5 years to build and used granite, plaster, marble, wood and other materials to create a building that although modern, was made in much the same way as the older more traditional well known monuments in Morocco. Some materials were imported however, such as the chandeliers and white granite columns from Italy, but the rest were from local areas. The mosaics inside the mosque are intricate with their swirling patterns and colours, and are typical of North African interior design.
Although this religious monument is built to fit in with older and more traditional designs there are some modern touches; it boasts a heated floor, electric doors, lasers which shine out into the night in the direction of Mecca,and an immense glass floor with room for thousands of worshippers. The building also looks out towards the Atlantic and this can be viewed through the glass floor itself. Hassan is so large that it can easily fit 105,000 in all, with 80,000 outside and another 25,000 inside. The building cost upwards of between $500 and $800 million dollars which came largely from donations. A large section of Casablanca had to be destroyed in order to accommodate this colossal monument.
Inside, the interior is quite stunning, the large columns are finished off with ornate mosaics that have been painstakingly applied using the familiar blues, browns, and yellows of Moroccan tiles design. Large marble tables adorn the inner sanctum glistening against the backdrop of marble pillars and geometrically patterned floors. Visually stunning, this colossal building took years to prepare, build, and design, and the hours of craftsmanship that went into this mosque takes your breath away.
The most striking figure of a mosque is usually the minaret, which plays an important part in the monument’s purpose providing a visual focal point for the community and acting as the main area where the call to prayer is made. The Hassan mosques own minaret is no exception; as it takes full advantage of the minarets importance to the Muslim community. Usually a tall tower with a conical crown Hassan’s minaret is 20 metres high and towers majestically over the city below. It also boasts laser beams that shine out at night towards Mecca. Look closer at the patterns on the minaret itself and you see the fleur de lis shapes and red, yellows, and blues applied in what must have been the utmost detail. Towards the top we have the familiar conical crown with the tiled mosaic and below some rich geometric greens.
Taken as a whole Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca is one of the most awe inspiring religious buildings in the world and is well worth spending some time on in order to appreciate its beauty and splendour. Set aside some time to take in all of the Hassan II Mosque, it’ll be well worth the effort.