Donkey Crossing

Welcome to Donkey Crossing! Donkey Crossing is an on-line account of one Limey and one Yank living one Dream. From September 2006 until the end of 2007, we plan to visit friends and family on five continents and immerse ourselves into various cultures, natural phenomena and ways of life. We hope you enjoy our tales and visit often! Cheers, Jason and Rachel Napoli

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

No Gin Joint, But A Darn Nice Mosque!
The Hassan II Mosque: Atlantic Ocean, Casablanca
The locals call it Casa, I call it Casablahblah. Although we've never seen the movie, and therefore had no real romantic expectations for the famed city, Casablanca left a very uninspiring impression on us. We were warned by locals and fellow travellers not to bother with a visit, however we wanted to be proactive in getting our Mauritanian visas, and ended up spending a few nights in the city.
Being best known, up until the mid-80s, as the only major city in the country without a grand attraction, King Hassan II decided to build a landmark that would draw Muslims and non-Muslims from around the world. Taking seven years to build, with nearly 2,500 master craftsmen on duty around the clock, the king's vision produced one of the grandest houses of worship in the world.

A small sample of the 48 Murano glass chandeliers hanging in the mosque

Official estimates have the cost of the mosque at $800,000,000. Many locals and scholars have the extraordinary price at three to four times that. No surprise there's a slight bone of contention for the hundreds of families displaced from the land the mosque stands on with absolutely no compensation.

A view looking up to the exclusive ladies deck. Men and women are not allowed to pray together in a mosque.

The marble foyer leading to the ablution rooms used for the traditional bathing ritual before Friday prayer.

Look at the big door (and the small man standing in front of it)!

Although our visit to Casablanca was a bit disappointing, we certainly enjoyed visiting one of the few mosques in the world that is open to non-Muslims.

Casablanca offers some impressive art deco architecture as well, but we found the most outstanding aspects of the city to be the hundreds of ice cream parlors, the Hassan II mosque and the fresh fish and oysters being served straight from the boats. Delicieux!


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