The Worlds Most Magnificent Mosques
Mosques are beautiful, sacred places, and with Islam as the fastest growing religion.
1. Blue Mosque Istanbul Turkey
Istanbuls most photogenic building was the grand project of Sultan Ahmet I (r 1603 17), whose tomb is located on the north side of the site facing Sultanahmet Park. The mosques wonderfully curvaceous exterior features a cascade of domes and six slender minarets. Blue iznik tiles adorn the interior and give the building its unofficial but commonly used name.
2. Kubah Mas Mosque Depok Indonesia
Throughout history, religious architecture has been flamboyant and overstated. Cathedrals, temples and synagogues form some of our richest architectural heritage, designed to win hearts and minds with shows of lavish wealth and unrivalled levels of craftsmanship. Islam can certainly hold its own in this game and Indonesia is home to one of the worlds flashiest examples. Known as the Golden Dome mosque, Kubah Mas was constructed in 2001 and funded entirely by a private benefactor. It features floors of the finest Italian granite, crystal chandeliers and domes of 24 carat gold to some this mosque might have a touch of the emperors new clothes about it, but the effect is breathtaking nonetheless.
3. Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque Famagusta Cyprus
Cyprus is a land of contrasts, torn between Greek and Turkish lineage. This 14th century mosque is actually in Turkish Famagusta, known locally as Gazima?usa, and it used to be a cathedral. Consecrated as St Nicholas in 1328, at first glance this seems like a classical French structure with ornate design and rich tracery detail. But whats this? Look to the sky and somethings missing. The soaring limestone towers that once graced the western elevation are no longer destroyed during the Ottoman Empire and subsequently replaced with a single incongruous minaret. Little original decor remains, save a solitary stained glass window high in the front facade.
4. Al Haram Mosque Mecca Saudi Arabia
This is the big one. Every year millions of Muslims travel to Saudi Arabia in the worlds largest gathering of humanity. The haj, Islams sacred pilgrimage, defines the city of Mecca and the Al Haram Mosque is like no other on earth. The name simply means The Great Mosque, and its almost unimaginably large the complex accommodates 800,000 worshippers on a regular basis and up to four million during haj. Centrally located is the Kaaba, the sacred building towards which all Muslims pray and around which devotees process hypnotically at the peak of the pilgrimage.
5. Djenn Mosque Mali
The mosque in the island bound Mali town of Djenn seduces travelers with the mud brick hue of its fortress like exterior and the large supporting cast of wooden beams that protrude through the walls into the brilliance of the African sun. So captivating is this earthen marvel, the worlds largest mud brick structure, that itll make little difference to your experience to learn that the current building only dates from 1907. It was modeled on the Grande Mosqu e erected on the same site in 1280; the original building fell into ruin in the 19th century.
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