Inside the breathtaking mausoleum of Mohammed V in Rabat, Morocco
The Mohammed V Mausoleum, all in white marble, is one of the most beautiful monuments of the Moroccan capital. Designed by an architect of Vietnamese origin, Vo Toan, and built between 1961 and 1969, it is of pure Arab-Andalusian classical style.
Outside, the Mausoleum is built of white Italian marble and covered with a pyramidal roof of green tiles. These tiles are the symbol of Alaouite royalty, and cover many official buildings for 5 centuries, notably in Meknes, capital of the Kingdom under the reign of Moulay Ismail (1672-1727). Inside, the walls are finely carved with Quranic calligraphy and covered with colored mosaics ("zellige"). The dome in Atlas cedar and painted mahogany is particularly remarkable. On the floor below is the sarcophagus containing the remains of Mohammed V, who died in 1961. In the corners, one can also find the tombs of Moulay Abdallah, youngest son of Mohammed V who died in 1983, and of Hassan II, king of Morocco from 1961 to 1999.
Inside the Mausoleum, theologians follow one another night and day to read the Quran. Moroccans regularly come to meditate at the tombs. King Mohammed V, Sultan Mohammed Ben Youssef before independence was a very popular monarch. He is considered by many to be the father of the modern Moroccan nation ("Ab El Watan El Maghribi") and one of the essential architects of independence. In 1944, he supported the Istiqlal, the main movement for Moroccan independence, which earned him exile in Corsica and then in Madagascar. This exile will weld the independence efforts and will cause waves of repeated violence which will bring the return of the sovereign in 1955 and the independence of the Kingdom in 1956.
Mohammed V, back in Morocco, will lead the Friday prayer for the first time on the Esplanade of Hassan tower, which today faces the Mausoleum. Mohammed V is also popular for refusing to apply the anti-Semitic laws of the Vichy regime, thereby protecting the 300 to 400,000 Moroccan Jews. In addition to this illustrious neighborhood, the Mausoleum is ideally located overhanging the mouth of the Bou Regreg river and therefore offers one of the prettiest views in Rabat.