Saturday, May 10, 2008



Casablanca, or Casa as the locals name it, is linked to one of my favourite movies: the unforgettable Casablanca with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, as well as Sam to play it again, as time goes by... It still has Morocco most important airport and there is a connection to Lisbon with Royal Air Maroc... And though Rick Blaine is no longer there, I couldn't miss it... So there was a short stop in Casa on the way from Rabat to Marrakech. Mainly to visit the immense Hassan II mosque, but also to enjoy some drinks in front of the Atlantic and to remember the famous quote: «Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship...»!

"HASSAN II MOSQUE - On July 9, 1980, date of King Hassan II's birthday, he declared: «I wish Casablanca to be endowed with a large, fine building of which it can be proud until the end of time... I want to build this mosque on the water, because God's throne is on the water». Designed by French architect Michel Pinseau and built by Bouygues at a spectacular location on a platform over the Atlantic Ocean, the construction began in July 1986 to be concluded on King's 60th birthday in 1989, but it ended up being finished only in August 30, 1993"

"ATRIUM - The Hassan II Mosque is the second largest in the world (after the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca) covering 20,000 square metres with room for 25,000 worshippers at the same time. A further 80,000 can be accommodated in the mosque's courtyard. It was built to withstand earthquakes, has a heated floor (part of which is glass to allow worshippers to kneel directly over the sea) and a sliding roof that opens on special occasions"

"PORTAL - The mosque, equipped with electric doors, is, together with the old Tin Mal Mosque, one of the two only mosques in Morocco open to non-Muslims. Over 6,000 Moroccan craftsmen and artisans were employed for five years to work the materials into the intricate decorations that embellish the structure. The walls are made up of concrete clad with marble and the style of the Mosque displays strong Moorish influences, bringing to mind the Alhambra and the Mesquita of Cordoba in Spain. Horseshoe arches prevail both outside and inside"

"MINARET - At 210 metres (689 ft), the Mosque's minaret is the tallest structure in Morocco, the tallest minaret in the world and the tallest religious building. Visible day and night, the laser lights that at night point in the direction of Mecca can be seen from miles out at sea. It seems that, at least outside Morocco, the view is that Casa’s people have mixed feelings about the Mosque: on one hand, they are proud of the monument that dominates the city; on the other, they are aware that the expense (up to USD 800 million, raised entirely from, some say, less-than-voluntary, public subscription) was huge! At least, it seems that the massive fundraising had a positive side-effect: it temporarily reduced Morocco's money supply and brought down inflation..."

"MURANO GLASS - The outstanding glass chandeliers, differently from almost everything else, were imported. They came from Murano, quite close to Venice, Italy"

"INSIDE you'll see the gleaming newness and tremendous wealth in a stark contrast against the nearby quarters of Casablanca. Nearly all the materials of the Mosque are from Morocco, with the sole exceptions of the imported white granite columns and glass chandeliers, both from Italy. The marble is from Agadir, the cedar wood is from the Middle Atlas and the granite comes from Tafraoute. There is a huge women's gallery, which is beautifully carved of dark wood and the prayer area in the back is carpeted in red"

“INTERIOR – Incredibly beautiful mosaics, stone and marble floors and columns, sculpted plaster moulds, carved and painted wood ceilings, domes of carved wood and intricate stucco make the Hassan II Mosque one of the most beautiful mosques in the world. When construction passed its deadline, 1,400 men worked by day and 1,000 worked by night to bring the vast project to completion"

"FOUNTAINS - Downstairs, beneath the Mosque, there are Turkish-style baths, including a large communal bath, and fountains for the ablutions. Amazing is that, according to the locals, Americans and Germans always want to know the actual cost of the Mosque..."

"BEACH - Casablanca has a nice and long Atlantic Ocean beach"

"VIEW from the beach towards the city"



Anonymous said...

Hi Folks! This post is dedicated to Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergmanl and all those who loved to see the unforgettable movie! Hope you enjoy and look forward to reading your comments!

Miss Kim said...

Oh Gil! You've outdone yourself!

The colours, the patterns, the light! It is truly a place that overwhelms the senses.

Breathtaking isn't it?

Lara said...

unforgettable indeed... how else?! have a great weekend and thanks for visiting my page!

Anonymous said...

Greetings from the Black Sea, Istanbul, Safranbolu, Yalta, Odessa, Sevastopol and Constanta :))
And I have hundreds of snap shots, I hope, I will remember at least most of them, where they are taken!
sultans have had gold enough to build all those huge palaces and mosques there in Morocco and also in Istanbul. and they are worth seeing, indeed.
I have three posts now in my blog from our journey.

alicesg said...

Very beautiful and lovely built buildings. The weather seems hazy. Here wishing your wife a Happy Mother's Day. :)

Azer Mantessa said...


nice pictures but i notice something strange on the outdoor ... not many people.

have a nice weekend.

leo said...

oh Gil, this is absolutely stunning!! I always wanna visit Morocco and seeing all these photos Rabat, Casa etc confirm it. Beautiful. Hopefully one day. Thank you ever so much for visiting me and leaving amusing comment. Have a good weekend.

Anonymous said...

I like the spas a lot! Thank you for the excursion

Noushy Syah said...

The mosque is massive with beautiful Italian chandeliers! Beautifully interior decos.Fabulous! wonder The Americans and others are anxious to know the real cost of the mosque!!

Another gr8 place for holidaying!
Happy Sunday!

Nikon said...

Great shots, Gil - amazing detail & composition to these shots. I love the tiles & mosaics and the gleam of the interior shots.
You are so lucky to have the letters of transit :-)

Tinsie said...

WOW! The mosque is amazing (although it must have cost an obsene amount of money for a place of worship!!!) but I personally wish I was sitting by those pools on a hot sunny day. Total bliss :-)

alok said...

Amazing pics :)

BTW, i found your blog very intresting.

annulla said...

Great photos of an amazingly beautiful place. I've always wanted to go there. Y'know, for the waters.

Blather From Brooklyn

S-V-H said...

Casablanca is a dream! And of course, we all enjoyed that movie whne Humphrey told to Ingrid: "schau mir in die Augen, Kleines"! (sorry, I only know the words in English..:-)

Nice post, Gil!

kyh said...

Look at those carvings and intricate reliefs! How breathtaking! It's a shimmering pearl at the heart of a desert oasis!

And u've been to so many places! Will add u to my blogroll so that i'll get to dig into your archives when i get some free time! ;)

indicaspecies said...

Exquisite and elegant photographs!

The movie is an all time classic. :)

Beefybob7 said...

Hi Gil,

Great photos.

You know I like beach pics. Great.

Steve Buser said...

Fascinating tour

Anonymous said...

I love the last picture the most!

As for the place... WOW!~

PeterParis said...

Whether you believe in a religion or not, one thing is sure: The religious architecture has given us some of the most beatiful buildings (not mentioning all other types of art - paintings, sculptures, music...)!
Special thanks for this homage to Humphrey and Ingrid!

Olivier said...

les minarets sont superbes, et j'adore les photos de l'intérieur, de vrais bijoux.
As tu rencontré Ingrid Bergman ?

ANNA-LYS said...

Hello my Friend,
It took me 4 times to get into the comment box, due to that You show to many posts at the same time, with many pixels. here in Sweden we use mobile internet connection and they can't take a large amount at the same time ... just thought I will tell You why I am not visiting You that often.

And now for the content.
I love Your pics, they show a rich flavour of different patterns and in separate and unique materials, amazing!


Ingrid Bergman


Indrani said...

Just the pictures leave a lasting effect, I wonder what it will be in real. Loved the Chandelier shot the most.
And the last picture... unique perspective. There was some semi-transparent sunscreen I guess. or... is it my imagination.(shaking my head)

Thanks Gil for visiting my site. Have a great week ahead.

JB's Big and Small Worlds said...

Very beautiful photos. What great travels!

MedaM said...

Of course that I remember of Casablanca with Bogart and Bergman; good old movies!
This is another fantastic post of yours full of beautiful and interesting photos.

Unknown said...

Hi, how I wish I could go, the pictures are fabulous :)

Marguerite-marie said...

c'est tout simplement magnifique!!!j'aime en particuleir les reflets. Merci de nous servir de guide.

Dalicia said...

my brother is a fan of this movie!!!!! good job with the indoor shots. it's hard to get the proper lighting. don't you think so???

love the details of the was the food?

lv2scpbk said...

1st off, I love the height of the photo you took of the tallest building, I think was called, "Minaret" if I'm correct. And, the ceiling is wonderful with the fountain photo under it. Also, wish I were there at the swimming area, it looks relaxing.

Shionge said...

Hiya....reminds of the song of Casablanca too. This looks like such a sacred place which is so charming, very nice ;D

julia said...

Bogart is one thing but these mind boggling sights are extraordinary. I love Arabic style done here for a special purpose. We publish photos in the accepted style but all the same I'm a strange one: so much is over the top nowdays, in the jungles of an improvished counrty in Asia will be found new non stop ostentation in glorious tiles and marble - when really small, natural is beautiful!

Lakshmi said...

Looks so larger than life, especially the 4th pic...I like the movie too..

hpy said...

A masterpiece of arabic art.

Dick said...

It's an amazing place, I like the chandeliers. Beautiful pictures.

SusuPetal said...

Nice to see the Mosque finished. I was in Casa for the first time in 1989, when the building of the Mosque had only begun. Never seen it finished in live.

Anonymous said...

Very nice photography here. I like all of the pictures, some better than others. But that is normal.

Anonymous said...

Hi everybody! Must confess that I thought Casablanca would have much more fans than those that actually commented here; wishful thinking…


So envious about the Black Sea…
My view is that, though the Casablanca mosque is huge, the mosques in Istanbul are more attractive!

Alice SG,
The mosque was built on a platform over the sea, no wonder the hazy weather…

Morning pictures and the mosque is a bit out of the main road…



Noushy Syah,
Always enquiring the price is somehow a disease that reveals a mentality: everything has a price and the most important is actually its price… ;(

Letters of transit? ;))

It used to surprise me to see a pool by the sea; now it’s much more difficult to be surprised… ;)

Thanks for your landing here and for the first time comment! You’re welcome to come back and comment as often as you wish…

Waters whatever, a nice pretext for the trip… ;))

“Here’s looking at you, kid”, that’s the original quotation!

Thanks for your first time comment here; glad that you liked!

I knew you were a Casablanca fan…

That Casablanca beach was a bit weird; it looked like a North Sea beach somewhere near Scheveningen… ;)))


Bangalore Photoblog,
Thanks; another nice comment from a new visitor… ;)

You’re quite right! There are wonderful works of art somehow linked to religion for some thousands of years…
Couldn’t miss the couple in Casablanca; furthermore the airplane was leaving to Lisbon… ;))

C’est vrai que l’intérieur de la mosquée est superbe…
Malheureusement Ilsa Lund était partie… ;))

Anna-Lys Bergman,
Sorry dear! Thought that broad band was running better in Scandinavia… ;;)))
Anyhow, reduced the posts to three per page… and removed the word verification! So, no excuse to not comment… ;))

You’re absolutely right about the sunscreen…


I suspected you were a Casablanca fan… ;))

The city or the movie? ;))

C’est vrai que la photo a été réussie…

Not an easy task those interior pictures… Just a drink and a cake at the stopover; no real food there… ;))

Thanks! The Minaret is huge: 200 metres high… ;)

As time goes by is unforgettable!

Difficult the balance between the man-made splendour and the natural beauty… ;)

The minaret is the tallest in the world!

Quite right!

You’re a Murano fan… ;)

Time to get back, no? Make a stopover in Lisbon… ;))

Thanks! Great to see you here! More than showing some beautiful pictures (which I don’t have, except in very few cases), the proposal is to make available a design of the visited spot… ;))

Nihal said...

Gil, exactly!
''...the mosques in Istanbul are more attractive!''
A BUNCH OF THANKS to you from Istanbul for your lovely comment, how true!

PS I shall be back for reading in detail your latest articles. You know it was another busy week for us, why? Well, we were hosting Her Majesty, Royal Couple...:)
Of course, editor-in-chief was on duty;)

Have a great weekend,


Anonymous said...

No need to thank; justice was made and nothing more... ;)
So Elizabeth took Philip for the second time to Turkey: amazing... ;))
You're welcome back, in-chief!

Joy said...

Gil, now I am truly jealous! You've been to Casablanca! I didn't like the way the movie ended though.

But it looks like such a mysterious place and I would love to explore it. You do fire up my imagination through your photos!

Thanks for visiting Norwich Daily Photo and leaving your comments.

A Pinay In England
Your Love Coach
I, Woman

Anonymous said...

Didn't you like the end? It's probably my favourite quote: «Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship..."