The Most Amazing Place to See in Casablanca
It was the day of the Friday prayer. Hundreds of Muslims hurried to the largest mosque in Casablanca – Hassan II, named after the father of current Moroccan King Mohammed VI.
Built on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean, the mosque is a magnificent model of the Muslim art. It was constructed in 1993 and claims to be the largest in Morocco, and the seventh largest in the world. The architecture is unique because it is partially built on the ocean, and the other part is standing on solid ground.
The imposing figure of the minaret rises 210 meters above the numerous arches decorated with fine lace of marble and above the enormous wooden doors. Between the many believers, led by the melodious call of the muezzin coming from the speakers of the mosque, were walking tourists.
We, like all other foreigners were stepping in the crowd with the thought of the mystique moment, and we were touched by the song of the muezzin. Despite that we didn’t understand a word, the Muslim chants influenced us as all other religious hymns can do, whether if they are Christian chants, mantras from the East or African-American gospel.
Unfortunately, we, the outsiders, were not allowed even to reach the steps of the hall. This, understandably, was reserved for Muslim believers. Police vigilantly guarded lest any tourist dare to slip among the crowd. We slightly regret that we couldn’t peek at this moment in the forbidden for us womb of the mosque where we could witness the spiritual communication of thousands of believers with their god. Such moments are always very special, regardless of the religion involved.
The day and the moment were special. No Muslim skip the Friday prayer – among the hundreds of people we saw many groups of two – three young men rushing to the entrance of the mosque with prayer rugs rolled up in their arms; father with his little boy, talking quietly on their way to the mosque; elderly women with headscarves, walking slowly toward the entrance; a group of students led by the teachers; older man, apparently wealthy, staring thoughtfully at the ocean while listening to the mystical music resounding the space around the mosque; a group of young tourists sitting at the fountain in front of the mosque and looking at the the crowd, even they could not get away from this mystic place.
Above all these people the eternal haze was coming slowly with the waves of the ocean and covered with its white coat the coastal boulevard of Casablanca.
While Casablanca is the place that impressed me least in Morocco, the visit of the Hassan II Mosque is one of the places I enjoyed the most. It was most probably the time that played a crucial role. The flows of people coming to the mosque were making the place and the surrounding area alive and meaningful.
No matter what are the reasons, if you come to Casablanca, this is the place you have to visit first. The impressions you will keep from this visit will wipe from your mind the unexceptional look of the rest of the city.