July 1, 2008

Hassan II Mosque

The first sightseeing, tourist thing we did in Morocco was visit the Hassan II Mosque. Everything in Morocco is named after Hassan II - the airport in Casablanca, every major thorofare in every city and this mosque. Hassan II is the grandfather of the current king.
This mosque is the only one we entered while in Morocco because it is the only one non-Muslims can enter. But if we were going to see one, this was the one to see. We had a wonderful guide who showed us the mosque, it's many rooms and told us all about the traditions of the Muslim faith.

Construction on the mosque began in 1987 and was completed in 1993. The mosque is open 7 days a week and at capacity it can hold about 25,000 people. It has a giant retractable roof that can open in under three minutes. Given the sheer magnitude of the structure, that is amazing.

Oh, and you also can't wear shoes in it.

Like I said, this was the first place we went, so I was a little camera happy. I've got a lot of photos of the mosque. Like this one:
And these:

As beautiful as the exterior was, no detail was spared in the interior - granite, marble, ornate woodworking, you name it. As our guide pointed out, everything in the mosque was constructed of materials made in Morocco. There was only one exception - the huge, sparkling chandeliers were from Venice.
See the mosque, how pretty....

Our tour of the mosque included the bathing areas. There were separate areas for the men and women to wash. Muslims have a very strict ritual of washing. The hands, the feet, the face are all washed in a certain order and repeated three times... just to make sure they are really clean.
The men's wash area:

The women's room was really just like a giant spa tub. It also was pretty dark, so I only got this one photo.

So yeah, I may have documented every square inch of this mosque, but I couldn't help it. It was out first stop, and I was giddy to be in Morocco. But I mean, can you really blame me - look how pretty!

1 comment:

kelsalynn said...

Where do I begin?

First, it totally grosses me out that everyone walks around without shoes/socks. Do a lot of people have foot funguses (fungi?). Eeew...gross.

Second, LOOOOVVVEEE the color of blueish green that's all over the mosque, it's gorgeous. I'm glad you got a lot of pictures but it probably doesn't do it justice. It looks very antique/traditional/historic and yet it has a retractable roof? go figure.