A place of worship doesn’t need to be all boring. They can actually be inspirational when it comes to their stunning architecture and interior design, and mosques aren’t even exempted from the buildings that should surprise you. Splashes of color from sunlit stained windows, handmade decorations, and precisely measured walls are some of the things you’ll see in the mosques included in this list that they’ve become not only places for worship, but for tourism too . Let’s take a look.
Nasir al-Mulk Mosque, Shiraz, Iran
Nasir al-Mulk Mosque looks plainly elegant on the outside, but once you step inside the mosque, striking splashes of colors may overwhelm your sight and it gets amazingly better when the sun strikes its multicolored stained glass windows. The mosque was built during the Qajar era by the order of Mirza Hasan Ali Nasir al Molk in 1888. It is also known as the “Pink Mosque” because of the pink tiles used for its interior.
Jamia Sultania Mosque, Lancashire, UK
Jamia Sultania Mosque is one of Lancashire’s oldest mosques established in 1973 in a single terraced house on Bridge Street. In 2013, the mosque opened again after a ten-year renovation with a stunning new architecture and tiled interior. The mosque is now one of the biggest mosques in Lancashire as it can accommodate up to 2000 worshippers. Inside the mosque, you’ll find the mosque marble from Pakistan and Turkey, the chandelier from China, and the handcrafted calligraphy from Pakistan.
Suleymaniye Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey
Suleymaniye Mosque stands on Istanbul’s Third Hill, dominating the Golden Horn which provides a landmark for the entire city. The mosque built between 1550 and 1557, features gardens and a three-sided forecourt with a central domed ablutions fountain. Its imaret (soup kitchen) now houses the Dârüzziyafe Restaurant; a former primary school is now a library; and popular streetside restaurants fill the street that used to have tea houses selling opium. Inside the mosque complex, you can find here the tombs of Süleyman and his wife Haseki Hürrem Sultan (Roxelana).
Shah Mosque (Imam Mosque), Isfahan, Iran
Multicolored mosaic tiles and calligraphic inscriptions decorate the interior of Iran’s Imam Mosque. No wonder it deserves to belong in UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites list and be known as one of the most beautiful sites to see around the world. It is regarded as one of the masterpieces of Persian architecture.
Al-Masjid Al Haram, Mecca, Saudi Arabia
Mecca is Islam’s holiest city and there’s no doubt that its place of worship should deliver its holiness and greatness. Al-Masjid Al Haram, also called the Sacred Mosque and the Grand Mosque, is the largest mosque in the world surrounding Islam’s holiest place, the Kaaba. The primary destination of the Hajjp pilgrimage, Al-Haram’s complex covers an area of 356,800 square meters and can accommodate 820,000 worshippers.
Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem, Israel
The most famous Islamic site in Jerusalem is the Dome of of the Rock, built over a sacred stone believed to be the place from which the Prophet Muhammad ascended into heaven. This oldest Islamic monument is where you can also find the oldest surviving mihrab (niche indicating the direction of Mecca) in the world. Take note of this mosque’s proportions where all dimensions are related to the center circle that surrounds the sacred stone. Each outer wall and the dome’s diameter and height are all exactly 67 feet long.
Mosque of Muhammad Ali, Cairo, Egypt
The Mosque of Muhammad Ali is the most popular Islamic mosque among tourists. Viewing it from a distance gives you a better opportunity in appreciating the mosque. When you go inside the mosque, the central dome is carried on four piers and spherical pendentives, flanked by four half-domes and four smaller domes on each corner. To the west of the complex, you can find the open courtyard.
Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca, Morocco
Visiting Casablanca isn’t complete without seeing Hassan II Mosque boasting its impressive architecture over the Atlantic Ocean. The mosque is known as the world’s third largest mosque which can hold up to 25,000 worshippers or up to 80,000 if people occupy the squares around it. It holds the tallest minaret in the world which measures about 689 feet. At night, lasers shine a beam from the top of the minaret toward Mecca. There’s also a part of the mosque’s floor which is made of glass but this is only allowed for royal use and it’s off-limits to visitors.
Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Muscat, Oman
Magnificent from the inside and out – that’s the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. Built from 300,000 tonnes of Indian sandstone, the entire mosque complex was erected on a rectangular base, with minarets standing on each corner. Visitors are stunned with its wide prayer hall covered with a 4,263-square meter Persian carpet, hand-woven and completed after four years. Another attraction is the mosque’s chandelier made of Swarovski crystals.
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