Although Morocco is becoming a modern country, our spiritual patrimony of Islamic thought has not only been preserved, but . . . we propose to extend it! King Hasan II of Morocco, 1977
Completed in 1993, the Hassan II Mosque located in Casablanca, Morocco is the second largest Mosque in the world and has one of the tallest minarets in the world. According to Roberson (2014), the Mosque is well known for its stunning location, tremendous size, cutting-edge technology, and historic appearance. Whilst Nnamdi Elleh (2002) argues that the Mosque was initially set up to support the legitimacy of the monarch-builder who gave it his name: King Hassan II, one will not fail to realise today that it has become a tourist attraction as well as a setting for recreational activities for families.
Sitting on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean, visitors will not only witness the very best Moroccan architecture, but will also get a splendid view of the Ocean. The building of the Mosque was religiously inspired keeping in mind the Qur’anic verse, ‘and His Throne had been upon water’ [11:7]. The Mosque is the largest in Africa and holds up to 105,000 worshippers. Once inside, visitors can make their way down to the basement where they can see the water from the ocean through the glass floor.
One of the most striking aspects is its historic appearance. It is a rectangular, hypostyle structure (in which columns support the roof) with a square-plan minaret. The exterior is decorated with geometric and floral designs reminiscent of those found on historic mosques and formed from similar materials such as zellij tile work, carved stone, wood, and metalwork. The roof is topped with green tiles, like those found at the royal palaces and historic mosques, although they are made from aluminium rather than clay (Holod and Khan 1997: 61).
Advice For Visitors
To see the interior visitors must be ‘decently and respectfully dressed’ (knees and upper arms need to be covered); women do not require a headscarf. Hour-long tours are conducted in French, English, German and Spanish, and take place in the prayer hall, subterranean ablutions rooms and never-used hammam (lonelyplanet.com, 2019). Tours are required if you are not a Muslim.
Roberson, J. (2014). The Changing Face of Morocco under King Hassan II. Mediterranean Studies, 22(1), p.57.
Elleh, N. (2002). Architecture and power in Africa. Westport, CT: Praeger.
Holod, R. and Khan, H. (1997). The contemporary mosque: architects, clients and designs since the 1950s. New York: Rizzoli.
Lonelyplanet.com. (2019). Hassan II Mosque | Casablanca, Morocco Attractions. [online] Available at: https://www.lonelyplanet.com/morocco/casablanca/attractions/hassan-ii-mosque/a/poi-sig/1379578/1331580 [Accessed 20 Jun. 2019].