Today we drove from Chefchaouen (located on top quarter of the map) to El Jadida which is on the coast, just south of Casablanca.
We stopped in Casablanca for lunch before heading to the Mosque Hassan II. This photo was taken on the street near where we parked. I should add that the driving in Casablanca was crazy (also in Fes). Drivers were going all over the place in these traffic circles and the roads were very busy with cars constantly honking. We did drive by Rick's Cafe which was designed to recreate the bar made famous by Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Berman in the classic movie Casablanca. However, I didn't actually see it. The bar scenes in the movie were filmed on Warners' Burbank lot in Hollywood recycling sets from previous productions. However, Rick's cafe in Casablanca closely replicates the one in the movie. We didn't spend any time in Casablanca except for a stop at the famous Mosque.
This was our fist look at the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca. It is the largest mosque in Africa and the fifth largest in the world. At 210 meters (690 feet) in height, the minaret is the tallest religious structure in the world. Completed in 1883, the minaret is 60 stories high topped by a laser, the light from which is directed towards Mecca. The walls are of hand crafted marble and the roof is retractable. A maximum of 105,000 worshippers can gather together for prayer.
We went on a tour of the mosque. It was stunning inside. I have to admit that I heard little of what the tour guide was saying as I was busy photographing and didn't even try to keep up to the guide.
The work on the mosque started on July 12, 1986 and took seven years to complete at a cost of approximately 585 million euro. Much of the financing was by public subscription since twelve million people donated to the cause. In addition to public donations and those from businesses and Arab countries( such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia), western countries provided construction loans.
The shot was taken looking up at the ceiling.
After our tour of the mosque, we spent some time walking around the buildings.
The mosque stands on a promontory looking out to the Atlantic Ocean.
After leaving Casablanca, we drove to El Jadida where we spent the night. Early next morning, I went to the roof of our hotel to photograph the sunrise.
El Jadida is a port city on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, located 106 km south of the city of Casablanca. It has a population of about 195,000. The city was seized by the Portuguese in 1502. The Portuguese build a citadel in 1514 and a larger fortification in 1541. The city was controlled by the Portuguese until 1769 when they abandoned their last territory in Morocco.
Our first stop in El Jadida was the Portuguese cistern. Cisterns were meant to store drinking water in case of a siege. This one was built by the Portuguese in the 15th and 16th centuries. Expanded since 1514, this former warehouse (possibly an armory) was converted into a cistern in the 16th century. This place was like a large dungeon but very colorful. You can see the thin layer of water on the floor which creates a natural mirror reflecting the ceiling. This cistern was used by Orson Wells to film the riot scene in his "Othello".
The underground chamber, measures 34 meters by 34 meters and was constructed with five rows of five stone pillars.
After leaving the cistern we continued on to the water.
The Fortress of Mazagan was built by the Portuguese in 1502.
After spending the morning here, our group left the town for our destination of the coastal town of Essaouira- see map on top of the page.