Hassan Tower or Tour Hassan (Arabic: صومعة حسان) is the minaret of an incomplete mosque in Rabat, Morocco. Begun in 1195, the tower was intended to be the largest minaret in the world along with the mosque, also intended to be the world’s largest. In 1199, sultan Yacoub al-Mansour died, and construction on the mosque stopped. The tower only reached 44m (140ft), about half of its intended 86m (260ft) height. The rest of the mosque was also left incomplete, with only the beginnings of several walls and 200 columns being constructed.
Instead of stairs, the tower is ascended by ramps. The minaret’s ramps would have allowed the muezzin to ride a horse to the top of the tower to issue the call to prayer.
Yacoub al-Mansour was a member of the Almohad Dynasty, a berber, muslim empire in West Africa and Spain. The tower, according to tradition, was designed by an architect named Jabir who used similar a similar design plan for Hassan’s sister tower, the Giralda in Seville, Spain. Both of the towers were modeled on the minaret of another one of Jabir’s designs, the Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakech. Renaissance Spaniards later added a western style top to the Giralda, which was converted from a minaret to a bell tower for the Seville Cathedral after the Reconquista.
The tower, along with the remains of the mosque and the modern Mausoleum of Mohammed V, forms the most important historical and tourist complex in Rabat.