There’s more to Casablanca‘s Hassan II Mosque than just the distinction as seventh largest mosque in the world.
Here are some interesting facts for travelers planning to make Hassan II Mosque part of their Casablanca itinerary.
- The mosque was completed just recently (1993) after 7 years of construction work by round-the-clock effort of thousands of workers — 1,400 by day and another 1,100 by night, to be exact. This was more than twice the intended development time of three years. Most of the workers were master-craftsmen, working marble from Agadir, cedar from the Middle Atlas, granite from Tafraoute, and glass from Murano in Venice, the only imported building material along with its chandeliers and white granite columns.
- Hassan II may not be the largest of them all, but its minaret — at 210 meters / 689 feet — is the world’s tallest. On top of it are laser beams which point towards Mecca helping worshippers position themselves more precisely during prayers.
- About half of the Hassan II mosque is directly over the Atlantic Ocean and equipped with glass floors, so worshippers can see the Ocean below them. The mosque has a capacity of 105,000 worshippers, with space for 25,000 of them directly over the water.
- The idea behind the mosque’s construction above water came from the desire and dream of King Hassan II of Morocco who was inspired by a quote in the Quran: “His was over the waters” [Hud, 11:7], meaning the throne of Allah.
- The mosque is open to non-Muslims. However, only guided tours is the only way for non-muslims to enter and view the open space at specific times. The tour includes views of the retractable roof, prayer halls and Turkish bath. Detailed tile and decorative works can be observed during the course of the mosque tour.
- Earthquakes are not uncommon in Morocco, so considerable planning by French architect Michael Pinseau and his team was made to ensure the mosque withstands these tremors. Modern features include heated floors, retractable roof, which is opened during favorable weather, and electric doors.
- With its large coverage, about nine hectares, cleaning of Hassan II mosque requires two hundred workers doing the job every single day. This does not include workers paid to do maintenance works and minor repairs.
- The mosque can hold up to 25,000 people. A balcony for women can accommodate 5,000 and the main floor allows another 20,000. But its courtyard is large enough to hold another 80,000 worshippers.
- Hassan mosque is large enough to be visible from aircraft cabins when landing or taking off at Casablanca airport.