The Explorer

Submitted by Ibrahim Wilson on the 2024 Winter LLCU program in Morocco…

Week One: Exploring Casablanca and Rabat

Visiting the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca was a profound introduction to Morroco’s rich culture and religious heritage.

My journey in Morocco began with a visit to the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca. Situated on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, this architectural marvel is not only the largest mosque in Africa but also the third largest. As we stood beneath the towering minaret, the intricate details of the mosque. Inside, the prayer hall can accommodate up to 100,000 including the outside and inside. Learning that the mosque was completed in 1993 and named after King Hassan II added a layer of historical significance to our experience. It was a profound introduction to Morocco’s rich cultural and religious heritage.

Our journey continued to Rabat, where we explored the city’s historical treasures. The Unfinished Mosque, formally known as the Hassan Tower and located adjacent to the mausoleum of King Mohammed V, stood as a testament to the city’s rich architectural history. The massive minaret, intended to be the largest in the world. Beyond the monuments, Rabat’s vibrant streets offered a scope of cultural experiences. We immersed ourselves in the local markets, savoring the aroma of traditional spices and marveling at the craftsmanship of local artisans. The warmth of the people and their eagerness to share their culture made our stay in Rabat an unforgettable experience.

Week Two: Tangier with Our Host Family

Now in Tangier, we find ourselves welcomed into the heart of Moroccan hospitality – our host family’s home. The city, perched on the Strait of Gibraltar, is a gateway between Europe and Africa, and its unique blend of cultures is palpable. The narrow streets of the Medina, the old town, are alive with the sounds of vendors and the vibrant colors of local crafts.

The Unfinished Mosque in Rabat is formally known as the Hassan Tower.

Our days are filled with exploration, from wandering through the historic Kasbah to delving into the city’s rich history at the Tangier American Legation Museum, and Jewish temples. Every step unfolds a new chapter, and the diversity of influences in Tangier’s architecture, from Moorish to European, is a testament to its complex past. My host family provides an intimate understanding of Moroccan daily life. The aromas of homemade couscous and tagine waft through the air, and conversations over mint tea offer insights into the customs and traditions that define Moroccan culture.

In just two weeks, Morocco has opened its doors, revealing a tapestry of experiences that range from awe-inspiring monuments to the warmth of local hospitality. As we continue to explore Tangier and delve into the intricacies of its history, the journey promises to be a rich tapestry woven with the threads of Morocco’s past and present. (Submitted on January 14, 2024)