Hassan Tower is the Eiffel Tower of Rabat. Aside from both being towers, it’s the city’s best-known landmark and they’re both emblematic of their respective cities. If you think Paris you think Eiffel Tower. If you think London you think Big Ben. You might not know it yet but when you think Rabat, you’ll think Hassan Tower.
History of Hassan Tower
The incomplete Hassan Tower stands at 44 meters high,strategically placed to be imposing and tower over the city it’s pretty hard to miss. I didn’t know exactly what to expect when we went there. I had been about a week in Rabat and decided to visit a tourist attraction and Hassan Tower was the obvious choice. Everyone we spoke to suggested it to us.
Hassan Tower is the minaret of an incomplete mosque. It was intended to be one of the world’s largest. It was commissioned by Abu Yusuf Yaqub al-Mansur, the third Caliph of the Almohad Caliphate in 1195. Progress was halted when the Caliph died in 1199. The minaret now stands at half of its intended height and the mosque incomplete.
The seemingly hundreds of pillars help you imagine the intended size of the mosque that never came to fruition- If you can find a short pillar they make for a great picture too!
As I have mentioned in my post about my first impressions of Rabat’s Medina the entire city of Rabat is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In addition to this Hassan Tower has specific recognition as a World Heritage Site as well! It’s a heritage site within a heritage site.
Mausoleum of Mohammed V
On the site of Hassan Tower is the mausoleum of Mohammed V which was completed in 1971. Mohammad V, former sultan and late King of Morocco Mohammed V was buried there following him his two sons, late King Hassan II and Prince Abdallah. The mausoleum is intricately designed with many distinctive and beautiful patterns. The stunning building has a pure white facade with a green tiled roof. Green of course signifying Islam.
Inside the mausoleum itself, the intricacy of the designs double and you can’t help but gawk at the minuscule intricacies that surround you in tiles and engravings. You can walk around a balcony looking down at the resting place of these members of the Moroccan family.
As I have said, Hassan Tower is one of the major tourist sites in Rabat alongside the mausoleum of Mohammed V, however, there are no leaflets with information to explain to you the history of the place. You should bring your guidebook or do some research beforehand!
When I spoke to some of my Moroccan friends, they told us to see Hassan Tower. However, at the same time they were dismissive about how interesting it would be. As they pointed out to me it is just a tower and the mausoleum without much tourist facilities. But I think like many amazing historical and beautiful places, locals can take it for granted.
When you enter through one of the main gates to the tower, you’ll be walking past many Moroccan guards, some even on white horses. You will get a sense of the historic importance of Hassan Tower and the modern significance of the mausoleum of Mohammed V.
If you are planning on visiting Hassan Tower and the mausoleum of Mohammad V, feel free to ask me questions. I took way too many photos for this post so for more check out my Instagram!
–The Student Explorer