Religious trips are one of the most common modes of travelling across the world. People indulge in religious spots and establishments related to their faiths on such trips. Be it cathedrals, be it temples, or be them mosques, they not only provide an insight to the religious cultures and traditions, but they are also a symbol of architecture and local heritage. Mosques or also known as Masjids in Arabic are religious places of worship for Muslims. You will find a mosque in every corner of this world, and some of them are breathtaking and awe inspiring.
In this blog we have listed some of the most beautiful mosques around the world, that have attracted attention of travelers across faiths. These mosques are known for their architecture and interiors. If you happen to plan a religious trip then adding them in your itinerary is a must.
1 – Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
If you are visiting Abu Dhabi then a visit to this grand mosque is a must. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is so large that it can accommodate 40,000 visitors at a time. It is the largest mosque in United Arab Emirates, and the third largest mosque in the world. For the construction of this mosque, around 100,000 tons of Macedonian and Greek Marble were used. The construction of this mosque was done between 1996 and 2007. The mosque has influences of Mamluk, Ottoman, and Fatimid style of architecture.
The main prayer hall of the mosque contains the world’s largest carpet, which was hand woven by 1,300 Iranian craftsmen and is made of New Zealand Wool. The interiors of this mosque will take away your breath. The columns inside are studded with precious stones like amethyst, lapis lazuli and jasper. The chandeliers inside the mosque are made from Swaroski crystals and hung by gold plated hooks.
While visiting this mosque you should note that there are guided tours in English and Arabic. The mosque is also open to Non Muslim people which make it a great visit for any traveler.
2 – Umayyad Mosque, Damascus, Syria
It is also known by the name of Great Mosque of Damascus. It is one of the oldest, largest, and holiest mosques of the world. The mosque is also home to a shrine that has head of the John the Baptist who is considered as a prophet by both Christians and Muslims. The mosque was built by thousands of pilgrims that belonged to Coptic, Persian, Indian and Byzantine origin. The prayer hall of the mosque was covered with wooden tiled roof. The façade of the courtyard, and its arcades were covered in marble, mosaic, and even gold in its former glorious times.
The mosque was also home to the world’s largest Golden Mosaic, which spanned an area of 4,000 square meters. The mosque has been rebuilt many a times after its original construction. Back in 2001, the holy pope from Vatican also visited the mosque, to pay tributes to the Holy Shrine of John the Baptist. It was the first time in history that a pope visited a mosque.
The southeastern corner minaret of the mosque is called as Minaret of Jesus, as per the Muslim tradition that it will be where Jesus would be on Judgment Day. Owing to the conflict in Syria, a part of the mosque is destroyed, but the site still is a sight to behold.
3 – Great Mosque of Herat, Herat, Afghanistan
The grand mosque of Heart is located in the old city of Herat in Afghanistan. It is one of the oldest, and largest mosque which is built in the region. The mosque was originally built in the 12th century, and since then has been renovated multiple times. The mosque is known for and gets its unique identity from the distinct bright blue minarets that have intricate tile work. The mosque is known for its historical significance, and has been seat of cultural and religious activities during the Timurid dynasty.
Apart from religious importance, and been a site of offering payers, the Grand Mosque of Heart has also been known for being an educational center of Islamic Laws and Theology. In present times, the entire mosque is covered by intricate tiles, which has been made possible because of its own in house tile workshop, and continuous restoration.
If you happen to visit the city of Herat in Afghanistan, then this mosque is a must visit, that reflects the heritage and architectural style of the old city.
4 – Crystal Mosque, Wan Man, Malaysia
The Crystal Mosque was constructed between 2006 and 2008. The mosque has a distinct exteriors, which you will recognize at just one sight of it. The exteriors of the mosque are built using glass and steel cladding, which gives it the name of Crystal Mosque. During day it reflects the sun light and glistens, while during night it glitters with the different colored lights that adorn it. The minarets of the mosque are built with inspiration from Ottoman-styled slender style of architecture.
The main prayer hall of the mosque is fully air conditioned to keep the interiors cool for the devotees offering prayers. The granite made floor of the prayer hall is covered with carpet which gives it a cozy feel. The main prayer hall has fully laminated glass walls that have Islamic Calligraphy. The best thing about this mosque is that it also has a separate female praying area.
The mosque is truly advanced and hi tech, as it also has a free WIFI which can used by the devotees top read the electronic Quran. You got to visit it, to believe it.
5 – Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca, Morocco
A trip to Casablanca which is the largest city of Morocco is incomplete if you haven’t visited the Hassan Mosque. It is one of the largest mosques in the world, and the largest Mosque in Africa. The construction of this mosque was done between the years of 1989 and 1993. A workforce of around 10,000 craftsmen was put into work in 24 hours shift, to complete this mosque. The material used in the building of the mosque was all procured from Morocco, apart from the chandeliers which were imported from Venice, and the pillars around the Mihrab which were Italian.
The mosque can accommodate around 100,000 people inside its premises. The Casablanca Mosque is also quite hi tech. It boasts of electric heated floors which are delight in times of winters, and also has an electric sliding roof which was built instead of making the mosque air conditioned. It is estimated that around 800 Million Dollars were put into the making of this mosque.
The best thing about this mosque is that it is the only one in Morocco that can be visited by Non Muslims. There are guided tours available in the mosque at fixed times for travelers.
6 – Sultan Ahmed Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey
Sultan Ahmed Mosque or also popularly known as the Blue Mosque of Istanbul, is the most grand Ottoman mosque in entire Turkey. Then construction of the mosque was done between the years of 1609 and 1616. It has got its name of the Blue Mosque because of the 20,000 handmade ceramic Iznik tiles that adorn the interiors of the mosque. The tiles comprise of designs of Rose, Carnation, Tulips and Lily. They are the most beautiful aspects of this mosque, and their beauty is in the detail.
All the mosques of the city have either two or four minarets, but the Blue Mosque has six of them. The reason behind this is a story that the sultan ordered gold minarets for the mosque, which in local language was misunderstood as six minarets. Later when the mosque was completed came the dilemma that only other mosque with six minarets was of Mecca, hence Sultan got added another one in the holy mosque of Mecca.
Travelers that have this mosque on their itinerary must take a note that the mosque is open though outside the prayer times. So make your plans accordingly.
7 – Masjed e Jameh, Isfahan, Iran
Masjed e Jameh is one of the oldest religious sites of Iran. This magnificent mosque has a unique place in the Islamic Heritage across the world as it symbolizes the advancement of Islamic Architecture through times. It is built on the basis of a late Sassanid monument. The façade of the mosque can be traced back to the Seljuk era. However majority of the renovation and construction of the mosque was done in the Safavid and Buyid dynasties.
The mosque reflects Byzantium and Classical art forms, and is built in the Razi Persian Style of architecture. It has a four iwan courtyard centered layout, a style which was adopted by mosques built later in Central Asia. It was built in the eighth century, and has seen many construction patches throughout history.
Inside the mosque there is double shelled ribbed Nezam al-Molk dome which is also known as the Southern Dome and has laid foundation to later religious structures construction. Inside the mosque you will also find stucco work, and tile work, with motif, religious writings, that makes it beautiful.
8 – The Al Haram Mosque, Makkah, Saudi Arabia
Al Haram Mosque of Makkah is one of the most important religious sites of the world. The site is visited by Millions of devotees every year for Hajj and Umrah. In the holy Quran this mosque is mentioned as the first place of worship of Allah. It is spread across a whopping area of 400,800 square meters. It is also known as the forbidden mosque, because fighting inside the premises is strictly forbidden. It is inside this mosque that holy Kaaba and the sacred black stone are located.
Inside the premises you will also find other prominent spots of Islamic religion which are Maqam Ibrahim and Zamzam. It is also inside the premises of this mosque that you will find the hills of Safa and Marwa. This mosque can accommodate a whopping four million of devotees at a time.
The mosque has a total of nine minarets, and there are 210 gates in the mosque that facilitates the movements of devotees.
9 – Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Muscat, Oman
Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque opened its door for the people in 2001. It was built to commemorate the 30 years of rule of Qaboos bin Said Al Said, who was the Sultan of Oman. It took six years in the construction of this mosque. The mosque is built in the Islamic, Middle Eastern and Omani style of architecture. For the construction of this mosque, 30,000 tons of pink sandstone was imported from India, along with granite and white marble.
The mosque has a total of five minarets, which symbolizes the five pillars of Islam namely, giving of alms, profession of faith, prayers, fasting and pilgrimage. The minarets of the mosque are 90 meters tall making it the tallest structures of the country. The mosque premises can hold up to 20,000 devotees.
The chandelier which is hung in the main prayer hall of the mosque was once the largest chandelier of the world. This gold plated chandelier has 600,000 Swarovski crystals and is made of 1122 bulbs.
Travel is a religion to all!