The Hassan II Mosque is located in the cosmopolitan city of Casablanca in west Morocco. The mosque is a modern structure, built between 1980 and 1993, at a cost of around US$800 million. It was built to celebrate the 60th birthday of former Moroccan king Hassan II. Despite being a modern building, it’s an example of stunning traditional Moorish architecture, and is considered by many visitors to be one of the most beautiful buildings in North Africa.
The mosque is situated on a reclaimed coastal platform which juts out into the rough Atlantic sea, meaning the building can be seen for miles around. It’s a spectacular setting when high waves crash around the base of the building, similar to a lighthouse. However its location represents a passage from the Quran which reads “the throne of Allah was over the water”.
The mosque is very large with space for 25,000 people to worship inside its walls, and room for 80,000 more worshipers outside. It’s the fifth largest mosque in the world, and the largest in North Africa. Although not the largest mosque in the world, it has the largest minaret in the world, standing 210 meters or 700 foot high, meaning it’s the tallest religious building in the world. The minaret has a laser on top which points in the direction of Mecca at all times.
The building is visually impressive from the outside, but it’s only when you enter the mosque you understand the scale and how impressive this building is. It took 6000 traditional Moroccan artisans almost 6 years to create the mosaics on the marble floors and walls, and to finish the decorative wooden ceilings. Almost all the materials were sourced locally and came from within Morocco. Although the mosque is a traditional building, it used modern building techniques and can withstand earthquakes and has heated floors and electric doors.
Hassan II Mosque is a truly amazing building and it has deep religious significance for the people of Morocco. Yet it’s one of the few Mosques’ in the world which allows none Muslims to enter and explore. Most of our Morocco tours stop at Hassan II Mosque so on the day you visit please dress appropriately. Men should wear long trousers and shirts, no shorts or tank tops. Women must cover their heads, arms and legs.