26 September, 2011

Masjid: Mosques of Morocco

Morocco. One of the most wonderful and most fascinating countries on Earth. A country with a long, extraordinary history. Morocco, in the 7th Century, is one of the earliest countries to have received Islam. It is Islam, for centuries, that has shaped the country's and its people's culture, customs, traditions and way of life. It is Islam that has played the leading role since its arrival to the country hundreds of years ago. And, it is Islam that still dominates this wonderful country. Today, almost all Moroccans are Muslims. In every part of Morocco, where there is a settlement, in: villages, towns and cities, there is a mosque. Most old. Some new.

The Hassan Tower and Mosque, Rabat
Began in 1195, the Hassan Mosque and Tower in Rabat, above, were not completed. The sandstone Tower, at about 44 meters, reached only about half of what it was planned to be. The mosque too, was not completed - with only some walls and some columns built. The Hasan Mosque was commissioned by Ya'qub al-Mansur (reg. 1184-1199) in 1195 to serve as the principal congregational mosque of the Almohad empire.......it would have been the second largest mosque in the Islamic world if fully constructed.......The mosque was unfinished at the time of Ya'qub's death four years later in 1199, and his successors abandoned Rabat in favor of the more developed neighboring city Salé. The mosque was never completed and remains in a partially constructed state to this day. Read more here.
The Hassan II Mosque مسجد الحسن الثاني
The King Hassan II Mosque is an Islamic architecture designed by a French man. A masterpiece. Stunning. Splendorous. Most impressive. Awe inspiring. Majestic. Grandiose. These are some of the few superlatives used to describe the mosque. Built between 1986 and 1993, partly in the sea,  this colossal structure in Casablanca, Morocco, is one of the largest mosque in the world. Nothing was spared to build it. It can accommodate 20,000 men and 5,000 women worshipers inside; and 80,000 more on the grounds outside. The ablution area too, has a man's and a woman's area.

The Hassan II Mosque مسجد الحسن الثاني
Built on reclaimed land from the sea, the mosque is built of granite, plaster, marble and wood. Except for the granite columns and the glass chandeliers, all of the materials used in building this grandiose mosque were collected from around Morocco. It stands facing out to the Atlantic Ocean. Its minaret, at 210m. or about 690ft., is reportedly the world's tallest. From the minaret, at nights, a laser beam lights the sky during adhaan time.
The Hassan II Mosque مسجد الحسن الثاني

The Hassan II mosque, was designed and ornately, intricately, built to withstand earthquakes. It has electric doors and a part of the roof can slide open. Thousands of artisans from all around Morocco worked elaborately here, outside and inside, to create this stunningly wonderful mosque.
The Hassan II Mosque مسجد الحسن الثاني
The Hassan II is a work of the finest Middle Eastern, especially Moroccan, art. The mosaics, which Moroccans are greatly renowned for, the majestic columns and curved and painted wood ceilings, the sculpted plaster moldings, the venetian chandeliers and the marble floor - are all of the finest craftsmanship.

The Hassan II Mosque مسجد الحسن الثاني
Its marble floor, a part of which is made of glass, is heated during the cold seasons. The mosque's ground is reportedly 90,000sq.m in size. It has a library, a madrasa and a large car park area. The mosque which is about two kilometers from the center of the city, is open to non-Muslim visitors during certain, fixed hours of the day and during certain days of the week.
Tin Mal Mosque, Amazigh
Built in 12the Century (1153), high up in the Atlas, is one of the most important historical sites in Morocco - the Tin Mal Mosque. It is a popular tourist destination and is about 57 kilometers (36 miles) south of Marrakesh.
Tin Mal Mosque
This mosque and the Hassan II mosque are some of the few mosques in Morocco that are opened at certain, fixed times for non-Muslims to visit - everyday of the week except on Fridays. Located on the Tizi-n-Test Pass, around mid-way between Marrakech and Taroudant, the historical site of Tin Mal provides insight into a fascinating aspect of Morocco’s history – that of the Almohad dynasty. Founded in the early 12th century, the Almohad dynasty went on to conquer a vast region of northern Africa including the area which is now Portugal and Southern Spain, and as far as the northern shoreline of Libya. Tin Mal has great historic significance as it is considered to be the spiritual center of the founder of the Almohad dynasty, Mohamed Ibn Toumert (or Tumart)
Tin Mal Mosque
The prayer hall of the Tin Mal Mosque: Quite extensive renovations have taken place in the mosque, with newer additions, such as some of the supporting pillars, being left undecorated so that visitors can distinguish between the original parts of the mosque and the renovations. Visitors may climb the stairs to the roof for a view of the prayer hall below, where the mihrab indicating the direction of Makkah remains as it was originally constructed. The view of the surrounding countryside is breathtaking and one can imagine a time when dynasties fought for control of this beautiful piece of Africa known as Morocco. Read more about the mosque here.
Kotoubia Mosque, Marakkesh
The Grand Kutubiyya Mosque (جامع الكتبية) is an engineering and architectural masterpiece and one of the finest buildings in Morocco. It is also the largest mosque in Marrakesh. The most striking feature of the mosque is the impressive size of the minaret - sixty-nine meters (two-hundred-and-twenty-one feet) high and about thirteen meters ( about forty-one feet) wide, with six rooms, one above the other.
Kotoubia Mosque, Marakkesh
It can accommodate about 25,000 worshipers at once. Today, while it does not hold the same societal significance that it did upon its construction, the.......Kutubiyya mosque remains a well-preserved example of Almohad religious architecture in Marrakech. Read more here about this very impressive mosque here.
As there was a devastating earthquake in 1960 in the area, most of the mosques in the fishing port of Agadir are new.
Loubnan Mosque, Agadir
Loubnan Mosque or mosquée Liban, is one of the most beautiful Jami'a mosques in Agadir. See map with mosques in Agadir.
Omar ibn Abdel'Aziz Mosque, Oujda
Oujda is an old city very close to Algeria and very close to the Mediterranean Sea. It is also in many ways, different to most other Moroccan cities.
The old part of the beautiful, fishing port of Tetouan on the Mediterranean in Northern Morocco, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tétouan was of particular importance in the Islamic period, from the 8th century onwards, since it served as the main point of contact between Morocco and Andalusia.
Tangier (Sidi Bouabid Mosque) Grand Mosque
Tangier. The city where one of the greatest traveler, explorer and adventurer of all time: Ibn Battuta, was born. Tangier, the White City as it is fondly called. Outside the madinah, in the center, of this very scenic port city, is the Grand Mosque - with a huge, tiled, mosaic, minaret; and as beautiful as the city.
Ben Ayad Mosque, Asilah
South of Tangier is another beautiful, whitewashed city on the coast: Asilah. Several small, beautiful mosques are in this very old city. Walled Asilah is said to be over 3,000 years old. It is only recently - 1978 - that the city, which is surrounded by 15th Century walls, has been rehabilitated; and many of its historic buildings have been restored. Read more here.
In the 17th and 18th centuries, Meknes, for about 55 years, was the capital of Morocco. Like many old settlements in the Muslim world, Meknes is walled and has several gates. The city still has many wonderful old mosques and monuments. And souks. Meknes, too, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Bab Berdieyinne Mosque, Meknes
The tall minaret, made of earth, of the Bab Berdieyinne Mosque (Arabic: بردعين), due to several days of heavy rains, fell and caused a terrible accident in February 2010 - in which several people died; many were injured too. The mosque is old - was constructed in the 18th Century. The minaret is being reconstructed to its old original form.
Bu Inanyia Madrasa, Fez
Bou Inania, is both a mosque, an Islamic madrasa and a large courtyard. This very fine building was built by Sultan Abu Inan between 1351 and 1356. Almost ever part and inch of the Bou Inania has been intricately decorated with impressive doors and windows; curved wood, delicate stucco, scripts and zelliges. During its hey days, the Madrasa was an important center for learning and knowledge. It has been renovated and restored several times. Fez is one of the many old, historical and fascinating cities of Morocco - it is too, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Mosque of Mulai Idris, Fez
Fez or Fes or Fas is regarded as one of the grandest cities of the medieval world. The celebrated Maulai Masjid is one of the oldest mosques in Morocco - reportedly built in the 9th Century by Idris II. The mosque might look simple and nondescript, but it has a long, grand history dating back centuries. Below, in Fez too - is the outstanding Masjid Al'Qarawiyyin. The Mosque.......near the Suq al-'Attarin, or Spice Market of Fez al-Bali, is one of the world's oldest universities, and the largest mosque in Africa. Read more about the mosque here.
Al-Qarawiyyin Mosque, Fez
Morocco. Arab. Berber. Africa. Morocco.  A land of humble and yet a very proud people. A land of one of the most hospitable people. A land of majestic mountains and marvelous deserts. A land that has a topography in many places and has many villages very strikingly similar in appearance to that of Hadhramaut's. A land of Arab, Islamic, Imazighen, Andalusian and European architecture. A land of many old historic buildings. A land of mosques. Some of the oldest and greatest mosques on Earth are in Morocco. Old and new. That is Morocco.