|Address:||Boulevard de la Corniche, Casablanca 20000, Morocco. The mosque is about 20 miles (33 km) north of Casablanca Mohammed V International Airport. I was charged 300 dirham (about U.S. $33) when I took a taxi from the city center to the airport at 5 a.m. The taxi fare should be cheaper during the day, but during the day I would attempt the train. I didn’t take the train as I was coming from Rabat (the capital city) and I was in a hurry to get to the mosque before sunset, so I can’t write about the train experience.|
|Admission:||120 dirham (about U.S. $13)|
|Hours:||9 a.m. to 4 p.m.|
I’m a man of science, not a scholar of the arts. But I dare to say I love Islamic art. Why? Probably because it exhibits geometric patterns (often repeated, sometimes aperiodic). The intricate and complex patterns I see in Islamic art remind me of M. C. Escher who in the 20th century employed tessellations, both in ordinary Euclidean geometry and in hyperbolic geometry, for artistic effect.
Hassan II Mosque (مسجد الحسن الثاني) is the largest in Morocco and was completed in 1993. Its minaret (منارة, literally “lighthouse”) is 689 ft (210 m) tall, making it the world’s tallest religious structure; it is 60 stories high. A laser beam is fitted at the top with a range of 19 miles (30 km), oriented towards Mecca.
I learned that handcrafted marble was used by artisans to form geometric patterns. Isn’t that incredible?
Standing on a promontory looking out to the Atlantic Ocean, the Hassan II Mosque illustrates Islamic architecture at its best. It was designed by Michel Pinseau, a French architect, who tried to blend Islamic and Moroccan elements. It is not difficult to see Moorish influences in this urban design. Taking the train from Rabat, I arrived in Casablanca at 4:10 p.m., and the mosque is closed to the public at 4 p.m. Too bad, I could have seen the interior of this gorgeous structure.