There are certain things about Muslim countries that always hold true: there will be five calls to prayer each day; women will be dressed conservatively, sometimes with only their eyes showing; there will be little alcohol available, and no pork. Oh, and there will be loads of mosques to visit.
Not so in Morocco! An old law from the French colonial period forbade non-Muslims from entering mosques. When the Moroccans regained their independence in 1947, the law stayed in place and has ever since. There are two exceptions, however. Non-muslims may visit Tin Mal Mosque about 60 miles outside Marrakech, and Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca. We visited this one on our whirlwind trip through Casablanca, and I’ve put together a few things to help you make the most of your visit!
Tours happen at specific times to accommodate Muslim prayer times, so you will have to make sure to get there at a designated tour time. Those times are 9:00am, 10:00am, 11:00am, and 3:00pm Saturday-Thursday. On Fridays (the Muslim holy day), tours are at 9:00am, 10:00am, and 11:00am. Tour times subject to change.
The Hassan II Mosque is impossible to miss, and all the locals know where it is. However, there is incredible construction happening in Casablanca! You can certainly take a taxi, but if you prefer to walk as we did, put “Mediatheque Hassan II Mosque” into your GPS for the ticket office.
When we visited in September 2019, admission was 120 MAD (approx. $12 USD) for the Mosque tour and 30 MAD (approx. &3 USD) for the museum. However, the combined ticket was only 140 MAD (approx. $14 USD). Cost subject to change.
Pro Tip: It was difficult for us to get change, and of course the ATMs want to give you large bills! But this is one place where we did not have a problem making change. Pay with a 200 MAD note and get some coins back!
Length of Tour
Allow one hour for the tour, but arrive at least 10 minutes early and spend 20-30 minutes exploring the museum after the tour. So, plan to spend about an hour and a half or so at the mosque.
There are two Western-style toilets in the museum and ticket office. Inside the Mosque there were only squat-style toilets that I saw, so plan accordingly! As always, bring your own tissues as some public restrooms do not provide toilet paper, and there may be an attendant expecting a tip, so have some coins on hand just in case.
Know Before You Go
Women are not required to cover their heads.
All other mosques I’ve visited have required women to cover their heads, if not more of their bodies as well. I was very surprised that this was not a requirement here!
You will have to take off your shoes.
Bags are provided to allow for easy carrying; you won’t leave through the same door you entered, so you will need to keep your shoes with you.
Tours are offered in a variety of languages.
We took the English tour, of course, but tours are also offered in Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Arabic! Tours may also be offered in other languages, so just ask if you prefer one that is not listed here.
Photos are permitted.
However, you are required to turn off your flash, and no video recording is allowed.
Do not hold hands!
Steve and I just automatically hold hands. We’re adorable that way. But public displays of affection are generally frowned upon in conservative countries like Morocco. We truly didn’t mean to be offensive, and our tour guide was nice about it, but he did ask us quietly not to hold hands inside the Mosque. Whoops!
Read on: How to Respectfully Visit a Mosque
Highlights of the Tour
The tour was definitely worthwhile, and not just because it’s one of the only things to do in Casablanca! Here are some of the best parts:
- This is the third largest mosque in the world, surpassed only by the Great Mosque in Mecca and the Al-Masjid an-Nabawi Mosque, also in Saudia Arabia.
- The minaret is the tallest in the world with 1,400 stairs to the top!
- It took only six years to build (between 1987 and 1993), and it can accommodate up to 25,000 worshippers inside at once.
- Most of the materials in the building came from Morocco.
- All the paint colors you see came from natural herbs, spices, and plants.
- It was built partially over the water, so there are stunning views both of the Mosque and from the Mosque!
- The architecture inside is a work of art, so take advantage of the ability to take photos!
- There is a long path down the middle of the Mosque for the King to walk down when he comes to worship at the Mosque.
- Your tour will end at the beautiful wash rooms downstairs where worshippers bathe their hands, face, ears, arms, and feet before prayers.
Have you visited a mosque before? Comment below!
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