Leaving the airport we passed through the better
residential part of Casablanca - on purpose. Our guide,
Hassan, wanted us to see the
"rich" part of town
before we journeyed into the rural areas and into the Berber
culture. I got a quick picture of the
U.S. Embassy as we
zipped by in our bus.
The most important and impressive site in
Morocco is the Hassan II
Mosque, the 3rd largest mosque after
Mecca and Medina. It took 6 years to build (1987-1993). About
worship inside and about 80,000 on the plaza outside. The king's entrance
door weighs 75 tons. The mosque has the tallest minaret in
the world at 200 meters. Two-thirds of the mosque is built over water.
There is lots of tile both inside and outside. The central
roof sections open for ventilation.
Mosques are not normally open for visitors(non-Muslins),
we did get a tour of this mosque with an English speaking
guide. The hamman and Roman bath areas are not open to the
public yet. The Jacuzzi area has water, but not open
yet. There are two ablution rooms, one each for males and
females. The one we saw was most impressive with numerous
Close by the mosque, on the Atlantic coast, is
the impressive El
Hank Lighthouse and a nice clean beach.
Our last stop in Casablanca was the
Central or market. From fresh cut flowers to live turtles, fresh meat
and fish, spices, and baked goods made one hungry (or lose your
appetite depending on which side of the market you shopped).
It was then a 90 minute drive to
(92 km) in
a northeast direction. Spring was in the air with
wildflowers along the road and yellow Formosa bushes.