24 February 2016

Meandering in Morocco: Grande Mosquée Hassan II

Casablanca was my last stop. On October 3, I finally reached my final city in Morocco. The day after, I was scheduled to fly back to Europe. But before I did that, I went to the coast, to visit the largest mosque in Morocco, the Grande Mosquée Hassan II.

This is a monumental building. It is the largest mosque in Morocco, the 7th largest in the world, and it has the tallest minaret. There's even a laser beam flashing out from the top of the minaret, and the beam faces Mecca. Truly, it's a grandiose affair.

One big difference of this mosque is that non-Muslims are allowed to visit it, outside of prayer times of course. You can buy a ticket from the ticket office located in the basement, and you can enter the grandiose and palatial building and admire the architecture all by yourself. That is exactly what I did. The photos above show you how the exterior looks like.

The photos above are taken from the inside. There were plenty of tour groups visiting the mosque, but due to its immense size, it never felt crowded. I never felt like I was trying to find a quiet space from the throngs of tourists, because seriously, there were plenty of open spaces. After all, 25,000 people can fit inside the prayer hall alone.

One wonders, how much does this building cost? It definitely isn't cheap. Plenty of people donated money to build this thing through public subscription. There were also contributions by other countries, as well as construction loans. I cannot say nor evaluate if the effort was worth it or not, but it definitely is stunning, and if you're an architecture fan, this is definitely something to see before leaving Casablanca.

So this marks the end of my Moroccan travelogue. Three weeks in the country was long, yet I enjoyed every bit of it. This was my first foray into Africa, but it will definitely not be the last. Stay tuned, as I have a travelogue from a different part of the world that is ready to begin in the next update!

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