I’m guessing everyone knows the difference between a church and a mosque. But we’re not here to discuss and comment upon the purpose of the building, we’re here to appreciate its beauty. Mosques are beautiful, sacred places, and with Islam as the fastest growing religion, they can be found throughout the planet, so let’s go down the list of 14 of the world’s most impressive mosques.
14. Al Haram Mosque, Mecca
This is the largest and oldest mosque in the world, and holiest site in Islam. Muslims pray facing Mecca,particularly the Kaaba – a cubed building at the center of the site considered to be the most sacred spot in Islam. During the Hajj – the annual pilgrimage to Mecca – up to two million worshipers come here. Don’t think for a minute that your Gregorian calendar will be useful, since the Islamic calendar is quite different.
13. Al Nabawi Mosque, Medina, Saudi Arabia
The prophet Muhammad used to live here; he had the mosque built on the grounds, and helped build it. He was buried under the green dome at the center of the mosque – the Dome of the Prophet – which is why the Al Nabawi Mosque is the second holiest site in Islam.
12. Dome Of The Rock Mosque, Jerusalem
The Dome of the Rock is ocated in an area of Old Jerusalem, called the Temple Mount; it covers a rock believed by some Muslims and scholars to be the spot from where Muhammed ascended to heaven. However, in Jewish tradition, the rock is understood to be where Abraham prepared to sacrifice his son.
11. The Blue Mosque, Istanbul
Its official name is the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, although it’s known as the Blue Mosque due to the blue tiles decorating the inside walls: 20,000 handmade ceramic tiles, interior chandeliers and ostrich eggs placed on the chandeliers because they repel spiders and help to minimize cobwebs – we’ll just have to verify that one. It is superb, though.
10. Shah Faisal Mosque, Islamabad
Looking like out of the Space Balls movie, this Islamic house of worship is the Faisal Mosque. It was designed in the shape of a Bedouin’s tent, and is the largest mosque in Pakistan. Completed in 1986, this mosque is located at the foot of the Margalla Hills, the westernmost foothills of the Himalayas. It does look unusual, doesn’t it?
9. Suleymaniye Mosque, Istanbul
Suleiman The Magnificent was the longest-reigning sultan in the Ottoman Empire; he spent the majority of the forty four years leading the Ottoman expansion across Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. He was buried in the mosque that bears his name, the largest in Istanbul, alongside his wife, Hurrem Haseki Sultan.
8. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi
This is where the world’s largest carpet is located – I bet you didn’t know that. This is one of the largest mosques in the world; it can accommodate more than 40,000 people. But the unique lighting on the outside walls is interesting, as it projects clouds and gets lighter and darker in relation to the phases of the moon. Nice!
7. Nusrat Djahan Mosque, Copenhagen
Muslims comprise about four percent of the Danish population, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that in 1967 the Nusrat Djahan was built. Located on the outskirts of Copenhagen, this is Denmark’s first mosque and it’s looking mighty interesting, if you ask me.
6. The Great Mosque Of Cordoba, Spain
This was originally a Christian church built by the Visigoths, sometime around 400 AD; however, during the Middle Ages it was made into an Islamic mosque and then later, again a church. Muslims are currently asking the Vatican if they can pray there again too, but that ain’t gonna happen soon. Who is right, I don’t know; I’m only here for the beauty.
5. Bursa Grand Mosque, Turkey
The Bursa Mosque was built with twenty domes and features one of the finest examples of Islamic calligraphy anywhere in the world – on the walls, the columns, on the floor, small plates, big plates. I’m not sure what it all means and why it was written, but t’s now a piece of history. Go figure!
4. Qolsarif Mosque, Russia
Built in the 16th century, the Qolsarif mosque was the largest mosque in Russia and then it was destroyed by Ivan the Terrible during the storming of Kazan. But in 1996 it was rebuilt; sure, it’s mostly a museum, but during the big Muslim celebrations, thousands come. So would I, it’s incredible.
3. Crystal Mosque, Malaysia
This particular mosque was built in 2008 out of steel, glass, and crystal. The Crystal Mosque is considered small on the scale of Islamic houses of worship, since it can only accommodate around 1500 people. But look at that overall design; it’s astonishing!
2. The Great Mosque Of Xi’an, China
Founded in 742, this is the oldest and possibly best known mosque in all of China; I didn’t even know they had those up there. The Great Mosque is unique due to the fact that it is completely Chinese in its architecture and design. Tourists may visit, but this is still actively used as a place of worship by Chinese Muslims. So, please be respectful.
1. Puchong Perdana Mosque, Malaysia
As beautiful as it is, you shouldn’t be surprised this is #1 on our list. Looking like it’s floating on water, this mosque will definitely provide yo with some interesting pics. I don’t have much to give you on it, which is why I’m sending you all on a mission: go find out more and tell us!