November 2, 2011

0026 MOROCCO - The biggest mosque of Africa

"Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow but soon and for the rest of your life", told Humphrey Bogart (Rick Blaine) to Ingrid Bergman (Ilsa Lund). There is someone between 20 and 120 years on this planet who doesn’t know what I mean? I don’t think so. "Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friends."

Well, yes, you guessed it, yesterday I received a postcard from Casablanca. Even if it’s the first one came to my address from Morocco, I'm not going to talk today not about the fascinating history of The Western Kingdom (al-al-Maghribiyyah Mamlakat) or about the revolt in February this year, not even about the soccer player Zakaria Zerouali, who died after he swallowed three packs of paracetamol in 24 hours. I don’t have the mood now. I will speak only about the mosque in the image.

Slaoui, my new pal from the postcrossing who sent the postcard, write that the Hassan II Mosque is "the biggest mosque of Africa". How I’m natural born skeptic, I ransacked a little on the Internet and I found that he is right (even if I was a little confused when I noted that terms such as "biggest" and "largest" are sometimes differently interpreted from site to site). Hassan II Mosque can host 105,000 worshipers (25,000 inside and 80,000 outside), cover 20,000 m2 and occupies the sixth place in the world. I feel dizzy thinking that the largest, Masjid al-Haram from Mecca, Saudi Arabia, can host 820,000 worshipers and occupies 400,000 m2. But the inclusion of not covered areas in these evaluations doesn't seem to me very fair.

I couldn’t control my curiosity and I looked for something about the churchs. Things are complicated in this case and I don’t want to handle it now. In few words, the lists are different depending on the used criteria (area, volume, length, width, height, and capacity). So the largest isn’t necesssarily the tallest, the tallest isn’t the most spacious, the most spacious isn’t the longest and so on.

Let’s return to Hassan II Mosque. Designed by the French architect Michel Pinseau and built by Bouygues S.A. in 7 years (1986-1993) it has strong Moorish influence and its minaret rises to 210 m (the world's tallest). During the most intense period of construction, 1,400 men worked during the day and another 1,100 during the night and 10,000 artists and craftsmen participated. Impressive.

About the stamp
The stamp, issued on December 3, 2010, and designed by L. Edfouf, is the first dedicated to the 7th art (namely to the 10th edition of Marrakech International Film Festival) by the moroccan mail company Barid Al Maghrib.

sender: Slaoui Mehdi (direct swap)
sent from Casablanca (Morocco), on 26.10.2011


  1. Note that all Moroccans have contributed to the financing of this gigantic project. It was almost mandatory

  2. Of course, the mosque is due to the Moroccans. I didn't want to be understood something else. I wanted simply to say that the mosque was designed by a French architect and built by a French construction company. That and nothing more. In fact I have now corrected, to avoid any confusion. Thanks for the comment.