The Hassan II mosque
is situated in Casablanca
, and is one of the largest mosques in the world (the largest in Morocco
). The mosque can contain up to 100,000 people at a time. Its minaret
is, at 210 meters, the highest in the world.
The Hassan II mosque was named after its founder, King Hassan II of Morocco. It was designed by architect Michel Pinseau and inaugurated in 1993. The building is an impressive mixture of new technology and old Islamic art. At the time of building there was some controversy about the wisdom of spending stupendous amounts of money on a mosque, in a country where poverty is still a large problem.
The mosque is mostly constructed from modern materials: aluminum and concrete. These have however been decorated with the traditional cedar wood, marble in different colours and carved plaster. With the exception of the chandeliers, made from Murano glass, all materials come from Morocco itself.
More than 30,000 workers have laboured for more than 50 million hours to construct the mosque. Its location, on the edge of the ocean, as well as its size posed lots of interesting technical problems. The main prayer hall has a wooden roof that can be opened, so that prayer in the open air is possible at special occasions. To reduce the weight of the carved roof, that is traditionally constructed of wood, an aluminum construction was needed.
Under the prayer hall, you can find the ablution rooms for men and women, with marble fountains in the shape of a lotus flower, as well as hammams for men and women.
Unlike most mosques, that are off-limits to non-muslims, the Hassan II mosque can be visited. There are guided tours on all days except Friday.
As words cannot properly express how impressive and beautiful this mosque is, I'd advise you to take a look at http://www.casablanca.org.ma/mosquee/index.html, which has some pictures. It's in French, though.