Hassan II Mosque
Good for: grandeur, islamic architecture, mosaics
- Blvd Sidi Mohammed ben Abdallah Casablanca
- tel, info: 022 48 28 86
- guided tours: adult/student/child DH120.00/DH60.00/DH30.00
- guided tours: Sat-Thu 09:00, 10:00, 11:00 & 14:00
Lonely Planet review for Hassan II Mosque
The crowning achievement of King Hassan II, this phenomenal building is the world's third-largest mosque. It was built to commemorate the former king's 60th birthday and rises above the ocean on a rocky outcrop reclaimed from the sea. It's a vast building that can hold 25,000 worshippers and accommodate a further 80,000 in its courtyards.
Designed by French architect Michel Pinseau, the mosque is topped by a soaring 210m (689ft)minaret, which shines a laser beam towards Mecca by night. In addition to this high-tech call to prayer, the mosque also has a centrally heated floor, electric doors, a retractable roof and a section of glass flooring allowing the faithful to see the Atlantic washing the rocks below.
Above all though, it is the vast size and elaborate decoration of the prayer hall that is most striking. Large enough to house Paris' Notre Dame or Rome's St Peter's, it is blanketed in astonishing woodcarving, zellij (tile work) and stucco moulding.
The project cost more than half a billion dollars and was paid for largely by public subscription. Although most Moroccans, particularly those from Casablanca, are very proud of their modern monument others believe this vast sum might have been better spent. In particular, resentment lingers among the slum dwellers who were evicted without compensation from the area around the mosque.