The inside of the mosque is really ornate. Women and men pray separately. 5000 women can be accommodated in the balcony and 20000 men on the ground floor.
These pools in the picture have glass bottoms and your can see down to the ablutions chamber below. When the roof is open, the water reflects the sky.
In the columns around the hall, 360 speakers are camouflaged into the stonework.
The Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca claims to be the 3rd biggest mosque in the world.
It minaret (tower like part) is 210m high. 25,000 people fit inside to pray and 80,000 can fit on the courtyard outside. Muslims pray on a prayermat, so they need more than standing room. This mosque can accommodate more people than Croke Park!
Hassan II Mosque is relatively new. It took 6 years to build and was completed in 1997. It had 6000 workers employed and they worked 24 hours a day by having 2 shifts.
The mosque is named after King Hassan II. He decided to build it to commemorate his own 60th birthday. King Hassan II died just 2 years after the mosque was completed.
The mosque juts into the sea. This is a man made peninsula because the Quran says that Gods throne was built upon water.
Another interesting part if you look at the first photo is that the roof can open. There is no air conditioning in the mosque so during the summer, especially if the mosque is full inside, the roof slides open.
For winter time when it's cooler, the mosque floor is heated.
The ceilings are made of cedar wood because it is the best wood to use on a building beside the sea. There are intricate designs carved into the wood.
My first thought when I walked off the plane was of course - It's roasting! Morocco is actually an hour behind Ireland until the clocks change on the 19th of July for daylight saving. It is currently 10:30pm and it is a whopping 29° Celsius!
My next impression was the driving. I had arranged an airport pickup with my hotel and there he was waiting for me in arrivals. We hit off for the short spin to the hotel on the crazy Moroccan highways. There are probably more scooters than cars, each scooter carrying at least one passenger. The general rules of these roads are :
If there's a space - go for it
2 lanes means an automatic road race
Indicator lights are unnecessary decorations
It isn't quite India but it's best to focus on the scenery and not think about the other vehicles!
Marrakesh from the (fast) moving car is very orange and sandy. All the buildings seem to be an orangey pink colour. Maybe it's the easiest to maintain with all the sand. We were driving in the suburbs and
Ryad Dar Ouladna is in a newer area of the city. The buildings are spread apart and I only saw two people walking and they were tourists.
It was about 8pm when I arrived at
Ryad Dar Ouladna and the manager offered to drive me into the city if I wanted to eat. The restaurant was closed as it is Ramadan and the staff have their time off at that hour of the evening to eat and relax. Luckily I was not hungry and ready for bed. Due to Ramadan tourists are few. In fact, I am the only guest!
The upside of this was my beautiful suite with a bathroom not much short of a leisure centre!
The indoor dining / bar area
The upstairs with carved wooden doors leading to each suite.
The ensuite bathroom
The suite complete with flat screen TV and balcony.
And my breakfast table this morning beside the pool.
Breakfast was carb heavy, full of tasty sweet breads and pancakes. ( More about food in a later post.)
Luckily the afternoon is too hot to eat and I followed local custom by eating dinner late in the evening.
Overall, great first impressions :
Driving is pure entertainment and at times terrifying
Sweet cakes and pastries for breakfast
The accommodation is amazing and I've gotten a taste of the Ryad/Medina style. It's beautiful.
I'm sorry I can't speak French. English is useless here.
Couscous will probably be my dinner every night.
Ms Treacy is traveling! The journey to Morocco began this morning and will end tonight in
Palais DarOuladna, Marrakech.
The itinerary for the next 3 weeks is as follows :
Palais DarOuladna 2 nights
Busabout Imperial Cities Tour 10 days
Surf Berbere: Surf & Yoga 8 days
And the last 2 nights are open to suggestions I gather along the way.
My guidebook of choice is as always the
Lonely Planet. What I know so far about Morocco courtesy of the Lonely Planet is:
The Tenth Gift Jane Johnson
The Sultan's Wife Jane Johnson
The Salt Road Jane Johnson
A House in Fez Suzanna Clarke
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