Tour Hassan or Hassan Tower is a 44 meter high tower located in the city of Rabat in Morocco. The tower is a stunning example of Moroccan Almohad architecture and dates from 1195. The tower is actually a minaret of an incomplete Mosque which Sultan al-Mansour started to build. The Sultan hired an architect called Jabir to design this site, and also the famous Giralda Mosque (now Giralda cathedral and bell tower) in Seville (Spain).
In Rabat the Sultan intended to build the biggest and tallest mosque in the world, with the tower reaching 86 meters high along with a mammoth building to house worshipers. The scale and size of the mosque was colossal compared with the population of Rabat at the time, which was no bigger than a small town. The mosque was intended to be a cornerstone of a new Muslim capital city in Morocco, and used as a place of learning and education, not just religious worship. However Sultan Mansour died in 1199 and the project was halted. Further damaged was caused by a huge earthquake in 1755 which destroyed the main hall of the mosque.
Today the tower remains and is considered one of the most important historical buildings in Morocco. There are numerous (over 200) small pillars or columns which mark the area over which the mosque would have been built. Inside the tower, you climb upwards by using ramps not stairs, which again allowed animals to carry heavy stones to the top of the tower to speed up construction. It was intended the Muezzin would ride a horse to the top of the tower when calling prayer times.
The tower attracts numerous visitors each year, and the numerous columns act as a grand reminder of a mosque that was never completed. The site is also located next door to the Mausoleum of Mohammad V and its well worth visiting both sites.
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