Morocco, half desert, half sea, this Arab country in northwest Africa, is far from the continent I remember. Its history and culture take on a different aspect of the African environment, and you suddenly find that this kingdom in north Africa, on the side of the Atlantic ocean, exudes a “non-african” atmosphere with a deep European complexity.
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With the influx of western culture and the encroachment of eastern traditions, many important cities in Morocco have built western-style buildings, including people’s eating habits and dressing, most notably casablanca. Even the mosque of hassan ii was built by a French architect.
The mosque, believed to be one of the largest in the world, was built on the sea by a dream of the king, also known as the mosque of the sea. This is the most famous site in casablanca. Almost every tourist who comes to this city will clock in. It is the only mosque in Morocco that accepts foreign and non-muslim visitors.
Casablanca, Morocco’s largest port city, has a long history but is not as glamorous as tangier in the north. But it also has its own charm, because a movie, a song, it has attracted many people all over the world. Later, a mosque was brought into focus again.
At the end of the 20th century, hassan ii hired a French architect to build the mosque and square, which could accommodate 100,000 people praying at the same time, on a rock peak on the shore of the Atlantic ocean.
With a height of 210 meters, the square column minarets of typical north African style are the tallest buildings in Morocco. The decorations inside the temple and on the square were crafted over the years by 6,000 skilled craftsmen across the country.
Whether it is in the strong sunlight or after the soft dusk, the whole building is very spectacular. The skills of craftsmen, in particular, not only present the essence of Arab culture and islamic art, but also carry forward Morocco’s ancient traditional handicraft history and culture.
As I sat on the steps in front of the horseshoe-shaped cloisters in the setting sun, I looked around or up in admiration of the fine art of architecture in the Arab world.
Although the mosque was criticized in those days for its vast scale and large amount of money, most of which were donated from home and abroad, except for a part funded by the government, people, like me, had to admire the grandeur and delicacy of the building.
It was built on the sea (one third of the area is on the sea) because of a dream of the king in honor of Morocco’s Arab ancestors coming from the sea.
Mosque main hall and open square two parts, all covers an area of 9 hectares, white marble walls carved, inside and outside the hall corridor jade pillars dignified, the shape of the corridor jade pillars and Roman arch is very similar.
But westerners believe that Moroccan architecture is spanish-moorish, a style that arabs brought back from Spain when they were expelled from Europe in the 8th century, and which soon became popular culture in Morocco.
It reached its peak between the 12th and 14th centuries, with the horseshoe arch being one of the most distinctive styles. It is not only present in many fine mosques in Morocco, but also best embodied. The hassan ii mosque is a case in point. But in fact this traditional style is visible in Morocco.
The surrounding cloisters on the piazza are the main design inspiration. While we all know that this traditional style of architecture is one of islamic architecture, it traces its roots to European culture. A large number of western buildings in the kingdom of Morocco are quietly illustrating an obvious phenomenon: this north African kingdom rooted in the land of Africa, its leaves basically rely on the air of Europe to breathe and grow.
But hassan ii mosque is still one of the best views of Moroccan architecture. Its main achievements are derived from Arab culture and islamic art, and it is a representative work of Moroccan architecture.
Decorated with intricate geometric patterns and plant vines, Mosaic murals are hand-crafted throughout the building. Doors, columns and walls are also decorated in elaborate Arabesque designs. No matter enlarged or reduced to details, there are almost no human and animal images in the architecture, which is said to be due to the taboo of idolatry.
Unfortunately, due to time constraints, I did not visit the temple, but it is still a site I strongly recommend. It is the only building in casablanca that can surpass my infatuated with the handmade market. It is hard to forget the artistic atmosphere of this tall building under the sunset of the Atlantic ocean.
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