Thursday, 18 November 2010

9 Nov 2010 - Casablanca

Casablanca is best known for the 1942 movie of the same name starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.  In fact, as our guide was quick to tell us, it was made entirely in Hollywood with no filming in Morocco at all.   The city is the capital of Morocco and is famous for the Hassan II Mosque.   This is the largest Mosque in Morocco, and the fifth largest in the world.   It is also open to the public, at a charge.   Entrance cost 6 euro for locals and 12 euro for tourists.

According to our guide there is not much else to do in Casablanca, though he might have said this because we did not have time to do more than a coach tour of the city followed by a visit to the Mosque.   It is a very impressive building and a good location for a group photograph.

It is also the ideal setting for our “we have been to Casablanca” photograph!

There was the usual shambles getting tickets and hanging around for our Mosque guide.  However he was well worth the wait.  Unlike Hassan, our tour guide, he spoke very good English and had a real gift for making the tour interesting.   We all had to wear our badges to prove we had paid, but not sure why Bob had to wear his on his forehead.

The tour took about an hour, and most of what we were told has long since gone.  But I do remember that it can hold 25,000 worshippers at one time.   I was also impressed by the size of the building where everything is on a grand style.  It is very modern and has a heated floor, electric doors, and a sliding roof.

There is a large washing area for worshippers beneath the Mosque
The Mosque is built on reclaimed land; almost half of the surface of the mosque lies over the Atlantic water.

 After our tour we were allowed a few minutes to explore the outside area, which is equally impressive

It was cooler than we had expected of Morocco in November, and we were glad that we had brought our jackets with us

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