By: Salma Khalifa

1. The Blue Mosque
(Sultan Ahmed Mosque),
Istanbul, Turkey

  1. The breathtaking Sultan Ahmed Mosque, more popularly known as Istanbul’s Blue Mosque, was constructed between 1609 and 1616 during the rule of Ahmed I. Its Külliye* contains Ahmed’s tomb, a school and a hospice.The name of the Blue Mosque comes from the fact that the interior has walls of hand-painted blue tiles, and when the sun sets, the mosque is bathed in blue light highlighting the its five main domes, six minarets and eight secondary domes. It sits next to the Hagia Sophia, another popular tourist site.* A Külliye is an Ottoman architectural concept that designates a complex with a central mosque and a series of ancillary buildings surrounding it.
  2. Sultan Ahmed Mosque,
    Istanbul, Turkey
    1. TheHassan II Mosque, 
      (Grande Mosquée Hassan II),
      Casablanca, Morocco

    Being Morocco’s largest mosque, as well as the 13th largest in the world, which also sports the world’s tallest minaret at 210 metres (689 ft), the Grand Mosque Hassan II is an awe-inspiring structure, and a truly unique and beautiful mosque.

    It was completed in 1993 and designed by Michel Pinseau. The minaret is 60 stories high topped by a laser, which is directed right towards Makkah. The mosque stands on a beautiful promontory looking out to the Atlantic Ocean, making the view absolutely awe-inspiring.
    What is truly remarkable about this mosque is that the walls are of handcrafted marble and the roof is retractable. A maximum of 105,000 worshippers can gather together for prayer: 25,000 inside the mosque hall and another 80,000 on the mosque’s outside grounds.

  3.  The Hassan II Mosque,
    Casablanca, Morocco


    1. Faisal Mosque,
      Islamabad, Pakistan

    Located on the foothills of Margalla Hills in Islamabad, this mosque is a major tourist attraction, and is referred to as a contemporary and influential feature of Islamic architecture.

    The name of the mosque comes from the Saudi Arabian King Faisal, who gave a $120 million grant for the mosque to be constructed. The unconventional design devised by Turkish architect Vedat Dalokay, was selected as the winner of an intense international competition back in 1969.

    Without a typical dome, the mosque is shaped like a Bedouin tent, surrounded by four 260 feet (79 m) tall minarets. The design features eight-sided shell shaped, sloping roofs forming a triangular worship hall, which can hold 10,000 worshippers, while the surrounding porticoes and the courtyard can hold up-to 200,000 more.

  4. Faisal Mosque,
    Islamabad, Pakistan
    1. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque,
      Abu Dhabi, UAE

    The largest mosque of the United Arab Emirates, The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, was launched by the late president His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who wished to establish a structure that would unite the rich cultural diversity of the Islamic world with the historical and modern values of architecture and art.

    His final resting place is located on the grounds beside the same mosque. The mosque was constructed from 1996 to 2007. The building complex measures approximately 290 m (960 ft) by 420 m (1,380 ft), covering an area of more than 12 hectares (30 acres), exclusive of exterior landscaping and vehicle parking.

    As the country’s grand mosque, it is the key place of worship for Friday gathering and Eid prayers. Shockingly, during Eid more than 41,000 people may visit it every year.

  5. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque,
    Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates


    1. The Pink Mosque,
      (Nasir-Ol-Molk Mosque),
      Shiraz, Iran

    This traditional and vibrant mosque is located in Shiraz, Iran, at the district of Gowad-e-Arabān, near Shāh Chérāgh Mosque.

    The mosque includes extensive colored glass in its facade, and showcases other traditional elements such as the Panj Kāse (five concaved) design. It is popularly known as the Pink Mosque, because of its incredibly pink themed interior design, which is extremely rare for most mosques.

    The mosque was built during the Qajar era, and is still in use.
    It was built from 1876 to 1888, by the order of Mirzā Hasan Ali (Nasir ol Molk), a Qajar ruler.The designers were Mohammad Hasan-e-Memār, an Iranian architect, and Mohammad Rezā Kāshi-Sāz-e-Širāzi.

  6. Nasir-Ol-Molk Mosque,
    Shiraz, Iran


    1. Islamski Centar,
      Rijeka, Croatia

    Islamic centre and mosque, The Rijeka Islamic Centre, with a 23 meter-high minaret, covers more than 10,000 square meters, and cost about 10 million Euros. The complex serves the functions of a mosque, a multipurpose hall, a teaching room, kindergarten, library, and also has other offices. The cornerstone was laid on October 3, 2009.

    A key feature of the mosque’s reputation is that it is ‘The first mosque on the Adriatic, since the Ottomans left the coast 500 years ago’.

    The Mosque’s dome has five separate parts that visually create one single unique dome.
    The designer of the dome, Dušan Džamonja is said to have taken inspiration from Ottoman mosques on Mediterranean shores. It is said, ‘with his sculptural approach he gave the new meaning to the old theme.’

  7. Islamski Center,
    Rijeka, Croatia
    1. TheQolşärif Mosque,
      Kazan, Russia

    At the time of its construction in the 16th century – this was one of the largest mosques in Russia, and in Europe outside of Istanbul, until it was destroyed by ‘Ivan the Terrible’, merely 20 minutes after it was complete in the year 1552, only to be rebuilt later in 1996.

    It was named after Qolşärif, religious Imam of Khanate of Kazan, who proudly served at the mosque. It is believed that the building featured minarets, both in the form of cupolas and tents. Its design was traditional for Volga Bulgaria, although elements of early Renaissance and Ottoman architecture could have been used as well.

    Its inauguration on July 24, 2005, marked the beginning of celebrations dedicated to the Millennium of Kazan. It can accommodate approximately 6,000 worshipers.

    The Qolşärif Mosque,
    Kazan, Russia
    1. Malacca Straits Mosque,
      Malacca Island, Malaysia

    The famous floating mosque of Pulau Melaka, is popular among locals by the name of Masjid Selat Melaka. Found at a man-made Island, the beautiful structure and place of worship is found at the shoreline of the Strait and at the water level of the ocean.
    When the water levels are high, the mosque appears to be floating, which gives it its highly unique feature.

    The construction work of the mosque started in 2003 and was completed in 2006. The opening ceremony was performed on 24 November 2006, by the Supreme Ruler of Malaysia ‘Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Syed Putra Jamalullail’.

    Another feature of this beautiful mosque is its 30-meter-high minaret, which additionally works as a beacon, going about as an aide for watercrafts, boats and air ships, making this structure both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

  8. Malacca Straits Mosque,
    Malaccan Islands, Malaysia


    1. Al-Masjid an-Nabawi,
      Madinah, Kingdom of Saudia Arabia

    The mosque established and originally built by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), situated in the city of Madinah in Saudi Arabia. Al-Masjid an-Nabawi was the third mosque built in the history of Islam and is now one of the largest mosques in the world. The second-holiest site in Islam.

    Initially, the actual mosque built by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was a small, simple open-air building, which served as a community center, a court, and a religious school. There was a raised platform for the people who taught the Quran.
    After the age of the Prophet (PBUH), Rulers that came era after era greatly expanded and decorated it generously.

    In 1909, it became the first place in the Arabian Peninsula to have electrical lights.
    This mosque is located in what was traditionally the center of Madinah, with many hotels and old markets nearby. Many pilgrims who perform the Hajj go on to Madinah to visit the mosque due to its connections to the life of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

  9. Al Masjid An Nabawi,
    Madinah, Kingdom of Saudia Arabia


    1. Masjid – Al – Haram,
      Makkah, Kingdom of Saudia Arabia

    The most unique, beautiful and iconic of all mosques can only be the Masjid – Al – Haram, in Makkah, which is the largest and oldest mosque in the world. Muslims all over the world pray facing this mosque in Makkah, making this the most important place of worship in all Islamic History.
    During Hajj – the annual pilgrimage to Makkah and one of the largest gatherings in the world – up to two million worshipers can be accommodated here.

    In 2007, the mosque underwent a fourth expansion project, which is estimated to last until 2020. The Late King Abdullah Ibn Abdulaziz planned to increase the mosque’s capacity to 2 million. Unfortunately, the King died in 2015, and his successor, King Salman, is likely to continue renovations.

    In 2016, it was estimated that this mosque had cost about 100 billion dollars.

  10. Masjid – Al – Haram, Makkah,
    Kingdom of Saudia Arabia

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