This flamboyant building was built at enormous expense to commemorate the 60th birthday of the previous king. Situated on an outcrop overlooking the ocean and with a 210 meter high minaret that serves as a major landmark of the city, it is a showcase of the best Moroccan craftsmanship: hand-carved stone and wood, flooring and marble inlays, golden cedar ceilings and the exquisite zellij (colored ceramic tile) abound. Multilingual guided tours of the interior are organized outside the hours of prayer for the modest visitors.
The Hassan II Mosque is open to all Muslims at daily prayer times and for special Friday services. Non-Muslim visitors may enter the mosque on guided tours, which take place several times a day in English.The most distinctive characteristic of the Hassan II Mosque is its spectacular location (see aerial view below) on a platform over the Atlantic Ocean. Uniquely, part of the mosque's floor is made of glassso worshippers can kneel directly over the sea. Unfortunately, this wonderful feature is mainly for royal use and is off-limits to visitors.Above, an automated sliding roof opens (on special occasions) to the heavens. Thus the faithful of Casablanca can indeed contemplate God's sky and ocean in accordance with Hassan's wishes.
At 689 feet, the Great Mosque's minaret is the tallest structure in Morocco and the tallest minaret in the world. At night, lasers shine a beam from the top of the minaret toward Mecca, "to point the way to God." The building was designed to withstand earthquakes and has a heated floor and electric doors.
There is a huge women's gallery on the right as you face the prayer area, which is beautifully carved of dark wood. The prayer area in the back is spacious and carpeted in red. Downstairs are Turkish-style baths and fountains for washing.