Friday, July 8, 2011

The first day...a whirlwhind in Casablanca

Wow...what a whirlwhind of a day.  We arrived in Casablanca at approximately 8 am on Thursday morning.  This was definitely not a day of rest for us, and I didn't even have the energy to write down my thoughts until Friday.

After retrieving our bags, we met our guide for the trip, Omar.  He has already proven to be a wealth of knowledge.  Everywhere we go, he can give us historical background, political background, explanations of Islam and specific terms of flowers, tress, etc.   I am so glad he is with us.  Omar led us to the mini-bus we have (15 seats for us + 2 seats for Omar and the chauffeur.)  We immediately went to take a tour of the Mosque in Casablanca.

The Mosquee (Hassan II Mosque) was built between 1987 and 1993. The Moroccan people all contributed to the building of this mosque.  In fact, they were charged a tax each year to contribute to its construction as long as they were employed.  Over 2,500 construction workers and 10,000 artisans worked on the mosque.  It is incredibly beautiful.  One interesting tidbit is that some ares were created simply to show tourists and are not actually functionally in use.  The area of the mosque where people pray can hold at least 25,000 people.  The women kneel upstairs in the balconies, and the men kneel on the ground floor of the prayer room.  The mosque is the tallest religious building in the world, the largest mosque in Morocco and the third largest mosque in the world after Mecca and Medina.  It has a lot of modern touches such as a heated floor and a retractable roof, but the artisinal work reminds one of traditional Moroccan art.  I cannot describe how beautiful this building is...So I will try to add just a couple of pictures to give you an idea.  Oh, I also forgot to mention that 2/3 of the mosque faces the ocean!

The top of the mosque:
Inside the Hassen II Mosque:

1 comment:

  1. Can't wait to see pictures - it sounds awesome! I'm also totally interested in the food you are eating!