Hassan II Mosque: the architectural jewel open to the sea and the sky

It was inaugurated on 30 August 1993, an event that coincided with the commemoration of the Prophet's birth 
Mezquita Hassan II, Casablanca, Marruecos - PHOTO/ATALAYAR/GUILLERMO LÓPEZ
Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca, Morocco - PHOTO/ATALAYAR/GUILLERMO LÓPEZ
  1. Building idea and location
  2. Architecture and design of the mosque
  3. Moroccan building materials
  4. National contribution and Moroccan solidarity
  5. The mosque, the highlight of an integrated cultural complex
  6. World records and rankings

Named after the late King Hassan II, the mosque is half on the waters of the Atlantic and half on land.  

It was inaugurated on 30 August 1993, an event that coincided with the commemoration of the Prophet's birth and was covered by more than 800 reporters and journalists from all over the world. 

Mezquita Hassan II, Casablanca, Marruecos – PHOTO/ATALAYAR/GUILLERMO LÓPEZ
Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca, Morocco - PHOTO/ATALAYAR/GUILLERMO LÓPEZ

Building idea and location

The idea of building the mosque dates back to King Hassan II's first official visit to Casablanca after his accession to the throne in 1961, when he decided to launch the project of a great mosque on the water, inspired by the Quranic verse 'and his throne was on the water' (Hud - 7); in order to recall the greatness of God who created the sea and the sky.      

The construction of this mosque in Casablanca is part of a broad vision of development and restructuring of the economic capital, adorning it with a spiritual monument similar to the Karaouine in Fez, the Hassan Tower in Rabat and the Koutoubia in Marrakech.

On 11 July 1986, the first brick of the mosque was laid on the Atlantic coast. King Hassan II wanted to highlight, through this architectural masterpiece, the importance and value of the mosque in Morocco throughout history, as well as the promotion and preservation of authentic Moroccan heritage.

The Hassan II Mosque is located on Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah Street in Casablanca, a 20-minute walk from the Casablanca-Port train station

Mezquita Hassan II, Casablanca, Marruecos – PHOTO/ATALAYAR/GUILLERMO LÓPEZ
Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca, Morocco - PHOTO/ATALAYAR/GUILLERMO LÓPEZ

Architecture and design of the mosque

The Hassan II Mosque was designed by the French architect Michel Pinseau, who had lived in Casablanca for more than 20 years and studied Moroccan Islamic architecture, drawing inspiration from the style of the Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakesh, the old part of the Hassan Mosque in Rabat and the Seville Mosque. 

With a total surface area of 172,600 m2, the mosque has: 

  • The second highest minaret in the world, with a 30-kilometre laser beam and a beacon for ships arriving in the port of Casablanca. 
  • A roof that can be opened for ventilation. 
  •  An open-air courtyard with huge marble and wooden doors. 
  • A 3,000 m2 traditional bath: steam baths, Turkish baths and massage rooms for relaxation. 
  • A prayer hall with a capacity of 25,000. 
  • A minaret corridor of about 625 square metres in size, equipped from the inside with a 12-person lift, allowing you to reach the top of the minaret in less than a minute. 
  • An ablution courtyard located in the basement of the mosque, which can accommodate 1,400 people, 41 fountains and 600 taps. 
  •  A movable roof that opens and closes automatically in 5 minutes to transform its centre into a sunny courtyard similar to ancient Andalusian buildings.
Mezquita Hassan II, Casablanca, Marruecos – PHOTO/ATALAYAR/GUILLERMO LÓPEZ
Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca, Morocco - PHOTO/ATALAYAR/GUILLERMO LÓPEZ

Moroccan building materials

Thousands of workers, technical professionals and craftsmen from all regions of Morocco worked day and night alongside the architects to create this architectural jewel. The master craftsmen brought to life the beauty and splendour of Moroccan architecture.  

All the building materials used in the construction of the mosque came from Morocco, such as wood, plaster, copper, marble, mosaic and various stains, with the exception of white granite columns and 50 glass chandeliers imported from Murano in Italy.  

One of the challenges facing the construction at the time was the burial and filling of the marine area using highly resistant materials, ensuring the durability and stability of the building, 300,000 cubic metres of concrete and 40,000 tonnes of steel.

Mezquita Hassan II, Casablanca, Marruecos – PHOTO/ATALAYAR/GUILLERMO LÓPEZ
Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca, Morocco - PHOTO/ATALAYAR/GUILLERMO LÓPEZ

National contribution and Moroccan solidarity

The realisation of this prestigious monument was financed through the participation of the Moroccan people who voluntarily did not hesitate to respond to the royal call, each according to his means and generosity. 

On the occasion of the Youth Festival on 9 July 1988, the national contribution process for the construction of the mosque was announced, which could start from one dirham. On 21 July of the same year, Hassan II inaugurated the contribution at the Royal Palace of Skhirat, making a financial donation of some 400,000 euros and signing other cheques on behalf of several members of the Royal Family. 

The donations from 12 million Moroccans amounted to some 3 million euros over 40 days, with each donor receiving a receipt for the amount of their contribution and a commemorative certificate with a photo of the mosque. The mosque cost almost 500 million euros.

Mezquita Hassan II, Casablanca, Marruecos – PHOTO/ATALAYAR/GUILLERMO LÓPEZ
Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca, Morocco - PHOTO/ATALAYAR/GUILLERMO LÓPEZ

The mosque, the highlight of an integrated cultural complex

The mosque is unique in Moroccan architecture for its location, size and originality of design, with its 200-metre high minaret, while its ancillary buildings form an integrated cultural complex consisting of four areas including an underground car park and technical spaces, in addition to: 

  • School of Islamic Sciences, Religious and Arabic Studies. 
  • Hassan II Museum, inaugurated in 2012 by King Mohammed VI. 
  • Academy of Traditional Arts, built in 2012, is a space for engineers interested in scientific research in the field of traditional arts and the architectural heritage of Morocco. 
  • Media Library, launched by King Mohammed VI in 2010 with an electronic catalogue, comprising a documentary archive in different languages. 

In 2009, the Hassan II Mosque Foundation was created, under the honorary presidency of the King, which is responsible for the administration and management of the different areas of the mosque.

Mezquita Hassan II, Casablanca, Marruecos – PHOTO/ATALAYAR/GUILLERMO LÓPEZ
Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca, Morocco - PHOTO/ATALAYAR/GUILLERMO LÓPEZ

World records and rankings

  • Visited every year by some 300,000 foreign tourists. 
  • Use of the world's strongest cement in its construction.  
  • The first of the 10 most beautiful mosques in the world, according to the tourism agency Civitatis 2022. 
  • A collection of antiquities belonging to the Hassan II Mosque Museum classified on the National Heritage List. 
  • The fourth most beautiful mosque in the world after the Great Mosque of Mecca, the Prophet's Mosque and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, according to the Wonderlist ranking site in 2014. 
  • The world's longest lighthouse in the Guinness World Records 2013. 
  • The experts adopted a unique form of aluminium plastered bricks in order to ensure high efficiency, and lighter than traditional bricks with baked clay. 
  • The restoration works were carried out in four phases, from April 2005 to August 2008, by a group of experts, at a total cost of 10 million euros. 
  • In 2019, an artificial nesting box was set up on one of the floors of the minaret of the Hassan II mosque to attract falcons and combat the proliferation of pigeons. This project is the first of its kind in Morocco and the Arab world.