The state religion in the North African country of Morocco is Islam. For that reason, impressive mosques are not hard to find in many Moroccan cities. The largest mosque in Morocco is the Hassan II mosque. It is located in the city of Casablanca. The mosque took seven years to build. More than 6,000 local craftsmen helped build it! It was completed in 1993. The mosque was named after King Hassan II, a former king of Morocco. It has the second-tallest minaret in the world. A minaret is a tall, skinny tower with a balcony, attached to a mosque. A crier, called a muezzin, uses the balcony to call Muslims to prayer five times a day.
The mosque’s location has important religious symbolism. It is built directly on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. King Hassan II chose this location because of a verse in the Qur’an. The Qur’an is the main sacred text in Islam. This verse states that God’s (Allah’s) throne was built upon the water. Part of this mosque hangs directly over the ocean. Outside, the mosque offers beautiful ocean views to thousands of worshippers.
The Hassan II mosque mixes classic Moroccan architecture with modern features. Almost all of the building materials are local to Morocco. Artisans carved cedar wood from Morocco’s Atlas Mountains. Builders carved designs into pink granite from Agadir, a city in southwestern Morocco. They also built fountains in the shape of lotus flowers with local marble. These craftsmen placed multi-colored tiles in complicated geometric patterns on the walls of the mosque. This type of Moroccan tile work is called zellige.
The Hassan II mosque also has modern elements. The mosque has heated floors. It has a roof that opens up so worshippers can see the sky. The mosque was also built to survive earthquakes. The large minaret even has lasers that shine in the direction of Mecca. Mecca is a city in Saudi Arabia. Muslims consider Mecca to be the holiest city of Islam.
The Hassan II mosque and its courtyard fit about 105,000 worshippers. Its unique location and architecture make it a special place for worship.