The sacred Hassan II Mosque was designed by Michel Pinseau, a French architect, in honor of King Hassan II. It is world’s largest religious edifice since Mecca that can accommodate 25,000 worshippers inside and a throng of 80,000 more on its courtyard. The structure is marked by the world’s tallest minaret, all of 210 meters, which is visible night and day from miles around Morocco.
The structure definitely gave Casablanca a landmark. That much can be gathered when King Hassan II said, “I wish Casablanca to be endowed with a large, fine building of which it can be proud until the end of time … I want to build this mosque on the water, because God’s throne is on the water. Therefore, the faithful who go there to pray, to praise the creator on firm soil, can contemplate God’s sky and ocean.”
This Casablanca architectural and historical landmark gave the place cultural interest. The sight of this majestic, traditional Moroccan but modernized religious is now a landmark that gives pride to its people as it is admired by international tourists. But the building of this religious monument was controversial. The massive structure, modern touches and artisan work cost Casablancans between 500 and 800 million dollars, an amount which could have been used to finance other things for the Casablanca. A significant number of impoverished families also lost their homes when a large area has to be cleared to give way to this controversial monument.
In a way, King Hassan II has not failed in his mission. Today, this religious center in Northern Africa built along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, is a tourist destination for all. What interesting facts do you need to know about it? Travel Advisor Tips shares these7 Interesting Facts About Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca:
- It is the second largest mosque and third largest religious building in the entire world. It only ranks second to Mecca. Its minaret is even taller than Mecca.
- Most Casablanca Morocco hotels offer a view of the mosque. With its size, it is easy for the hotels around the area to give your room a visual of the grand structure. It took all of seven years of round-the-clock work to complete it by thousands of construction laborers and artisans.
- The Hassan II mosque can hold up to twenty five thousand people, and the complex covers over nine hectares. The balcony allocated for women worshippers can easily hold 5,000 and the courtyard another 80,000.
- There are guided tours for people visiting the mosque. Even non-Muslims can come in, provided they come at specific schedules so as not to interfere with the religious rites and observe certain etiquette. The exquisite tile work and the beautiful Murano chandeliers are just a few aspects which make this tour worth the cost.
- The daily cleaning and maintenance of Hassan II Mosque requires 200 workers. It also needs additional cost to be maintained from the salt water damage being located along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean.
- The mosque is currently the major attraction offered in vacation packages to Morocco. The minaret of the mosque has two laser beams which point the way to mecca.
- The modern touches in Hassan II mosque include a heated floor, electrically operated doors and a glass floor that allows viewing of the ocean below. The roof can also open up to allow al fresco ambiance when the weather is good.
In addition, the Mosque is “earthquake-proof.” With earthquakes being a common event in Morocco, the architect made sure it can withstand the natural ground tremors.
If you’ll visit Morocco, Hassan II will definitely be in your bucket list; no visit here can be complete seeing this Casablanca attraction. Make sure you are wearing a pair of socks because you will not be allowed to enter with your footwear and that you are wearing appropriate clothing. For women, it is best to bring along a scarf or bandana to cover your head. Observe the dress code and the other etiquette/cultural nuances to avoid offending the locals and the Islamic culture.