We land in Casablanca to begin our Moroccan adventure. After a long flight from Australia we enjoy a well earned night’s rest at Villa Mandarine on the outskirts of Rabat. The hotel is very Moroccan, beautiful courtyards within and lovely gardens to sit or stroll among. The hospitality is warm and welcoming.
Next day we set off to visit the Hassan II mosque in Casablanca. The mosque is the largest in Morocco, and a spectacular sight. The minaret stands 20 metres tall, making it visible from many different vantage points. Up to 25,000 people can worship inside the mosque and around 80,000 can do so outside.
The mosque really is a thing of beauty. Constructed of materials sourced mostly in Morocco, from the marble to the cedarwood. The adornments that have been imported are two marble pillars from Carrara, Italy and the chandeliers are made from Venetian glass and produced in Murano, Italy.
Stepping inside takes your breath away, the light pouring in through the glass windows, the craftsmanship of the Moroccan artisans, including the intricately carved cedarwood, and of course the mosaic tiles are stunning. The ablution area (for cleansing before worship) is located downstairs and boasts marble water fountains, mosaic pillars and plaster work which acts as a natural dehumidifier.
The hammam area is equally impressive, with it’s intricately tiled pool. There is one bathing area for women an identical area for men. The hammam area will be open for Muslim and non-Muslim people to enjoy, however to date it has never been used. The guide said that perhaps next year it will be open, inshallah (God willing).
The mosque is definitely worth a visit, and a must see if you visit Casablanca.