Not quite like the movie :-O
Casablanca Travel Blog› entry 8 of 15 › view all entries
Another early start in Marrakech, and having done a recce to the station first time, we got a Grande Taxi to the station at 8-15. Headed to the ticket office and had no problems getting tickets for the 1st class compartments on the 9am to Casablanca. Reading up before we went this had been recommended, and it was a fairly pleasant 3 hours to Casa Voyageurs station. It was the only time we managed to get 1st class, and would find out sooner rather than later that there is a good reason for doing it this way. Train was late by about 45 minutes arriving at Casa Voyageurs.
Our hotel was near the Casa Port station, but it looked like almost 2 hours before a connecting train would come through, so we got a taxi down to the Novotel.
Walked along the road around the front of the port, and came across Ricks Cafe. Alright it has nothing to with the movie, and is opportunistic, but we just had to :-) . Carried on walking towards the mosque and the area round about it wasn't exactly picturesque (understatement).
Up at the mosque though it was stunning. Walked all round the courtyard trying to get it at it's best angle, but it looked fantastic whatever way you looked at it.
One thing though is they are VERY strict on dress code for going into the mosque. Arms have to be covered and legs covered to below the knee. I had already anticipated this, and taken a long sleeved top, so in the pics it's not a towel that I am carrying about :-)
Went off with our guide and on enetering the mosque had to remove our shoes as we were straight into the prayer hall. It really is amazing inside.
The mosgue is built on recalimed land, and when it was completed part of the foundations were knocked away to allow the sea back in, as in part of the Koran there is a passage about 'The Thrown Of Allah Is Over The Water', or something along those lines.
In muslim ritual there is a need to wash before prayer, but with such a large mosque they had to come up with something different. Underneath the prayer hall is a room with 41 fountains that people can use. Also two sets of baths, a Moroccan hammam and a Turkish one.
Tour lasted just over an hour, and was very informative, and the bit I liked was when they explained the times for prayer, and when you hear the calls from the minarets, was the time when the shadow matches the length of the thing casting it. Picked up on that one every time we were walking about after that :-)
Coming out of the mosque, rather than go back round the port, there was an avenue that ran diagonally and looked like it headed to the town centre.
Actaully felt a sense of relief when we got into the middle of it and found a police sentry box and this was the first time that we stopped.
Found the casino and various bars, but decided we would go back to the hotel and eat there, and get set for moving on again next day.
Not a lot going for it apart from the mosque, and I would reckon anyone going there should plan to get in early and see the mosque and then get on their bike to their next destination on the same day. Not many places I would say that about, and no doubt a few locals will challenge that view ;-)