Mosques worldwide are perfect examples of awe-inspiring architecture of the Muslims. There are more than 100 beautifully designed mosques around the globe, depicting the widespread Islamic empire all over the world.
Here, we have come up with a list of top 20 most beautiful mosques around the world displaying a rich Islamic heritage which will surely leave you breathless.
1. Al-Haram Mosque – Makkah, Saudi Arabia
According to the Holy Qur’an, Kaaba (The House of Allah) is the first sanctuary built at the time of Prophet Ibrahim (AS) to worship Allah. The Al-Haram mosque or the Grand Mosque of Makkah surrounds the holy Kaaba. Every Muslim is required to face towards the Kaaba five times a day while performing daily prayers. The five pillars of Islam comprise of performing Hajj by visiting the holy Kaaba. The grand mosque also houses other important sites such as Maqam-e-Ibrahim, the Well of Zamzam, and the Black Stone (Hajre Aswad).
It is said that the mosque covers an area of 400,800 square meters (99 acres), including praying areas and congregating 4 million people during Hajj. It is estimated that a larger gathering will take place for Hajj 2019 in Makkah.
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2. Al-Masjid An-Nabawi – Madinah, Saudi Arabia
One of the largest mosques in the world, it is the second holiest site in Islam and visited by Muslims from all around the world. It was originally built adjacent to the Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) house after he migrated from Mecca to Medinah. The mosque has been renovated several times over the years and the dome (al-Qubah al-Khaḍra) located in the south-east corner of the mosque was ultimately painted green. It also includes the graves of the Prophet (pbuh) and his two companions Abu Bakr (RA) and Umar (RA).
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3. Al-Aqsa Mosque – Jerusalem, Palestine
The third holiest site in Islam, the Al-Aqsa Mosque is located on the Haram esh-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary) also known as Temple Mount. It is believed that Allah (SWT) transported Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) from the Sacred Mosque in Makkah (Masjid Al Haram) to the Al-Aqsa Mosque during the Night Journey. Muslims used to offer prayers facing this mosque during the early years of Islam until Allah commanded him to turn towards the Kaaba and pray. The covered prayer hall of the mosque was first built by Umar (RA) and later expanded by Umayyads. The mosque is located in close proximity to the sites significant to Judaism and Christianity.
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4. Hassan II Mosque – Morocco
The Hassan II Mosque in Morocco is the biggest mosque in the country and the 5th largest in the world that was completed in 1993. It has the tallest minarets in the world with a height of 210 meters, ascending up to 60 storeys.
The beauty of the mosque is subjected by the majestic Atlantic Ocean, splashing its waves against the walls.
The walls are handcrafted and the ocean seabed is visible through the mosque’s glass floor. The mosque can approximately gather 105,000 devotees for prayer.
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5. Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque – Brunei
Located in Bandar Seri Begawan, the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque is considered as one of the key landmarks and a major tourist attraction in the city of Brunei.
The building was completed in 1958 and stood as an example of modern-day architecture. Being established on the banks of the Brunei River, the design highlights golden domes, marble minarets, thriving garden, and fountains. The surrounding trees and the floral parks conjure up to make a unique and heavenly setting.
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6. Faisal Mosque Islamabad – Pakistan
One of the largest mosque in Southeast Asia and the fourth largest mosque in the world, the Faisal Mosque in Islamabad was a gift from King Faisal of Saudi Arabia. The mosque shaped like a Bedouin tent features a contemporary design with 8-sided shell shaped sloping roofs forming a triangular worship hall which can hold up to 100,000 worshippers. It was designed by the Turkish architect ‘Vedat Dalokay’ after being selected in an international competition. No doubt, apart from the locals, international visitors also gather to admire the mosque.
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7. Zahir Mosque – Kedah, Malaysia
Located in the heart of the capital city Alor Setar, the Zahir Mosque is grand, old, and a delight of Malaysia. Built in 1912, the architecture was inspired by AZIZI Mosque located in Indonesia. The 261 pillars of the Zahir Mosque spread in an area of only 241 square feet. Five domes adorn the structure of the mosque symbolizing the five key principles of Islam. The mosque holds a Quran reading competition every year, displaying unity and brotherhood. The architectural design is greatly influenced by Malaysian, Indian and Middle Eastern styles. A must visit attraction in Malaysia, Zahir Mosque is a sight to behold.
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8. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque – Abu Dhabi, UAE
One of the most beautiful mosques in the world, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, situated in Abu Dhabi was initiated by the late president of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The ground of the mosque is also the final resting place of the Sheikh. It is the largest mosque in the UAE that can hold up to 40,000 worshippers at a time. The size of the mosque site is equivalent to the size of a football ground. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center offices are located in the west minarets that manage the day-to-day operations of the mosque and also organize several educational & cultural activities besides visitor programs.
The design of the mosque is the fusion of Arab, Moorish and Mughal architecture. Natural materials like gold, marble stone, crystals, and ceramics were used for the construction and design of the Mosque as they possess the qualities of long endurance against wear and tear.
9. Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Mosque- Malaysia
Recognised as the ‘Blue Mosque’, the Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Mosque in Shah Alam is one of the most appealing structures in Malaysia. It boasts the tallest minarets in the world overlooking the Garden of the Islamic Arts.
As you approach the mosque, well-designed calligraphy fills the edges of the main prayer hall and the dome. The exteriors display the traditional Malay design with blue stained-glass evoking spirituality and peace. This mosque exhibits a rich array of Islamic art including paintings, sculptors, and architecture.
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10. Ubudiah Mosque- Malaysia
With a deep meaning – ‘to yield oneself to the will of Allah‘, the Ubudiah Mosque is located in Malaysia and its name was given by the 28th Sultan of Perak when he decided to build the grand gold-domed mosque in 1911. During its construction in 1913, two fighting elephants damaged the Italian marbles by running over it. The mosque was finally completed in 1917. The present glare and design of the mosque highlight an incredible sight and tradition, luring people from all over.
11. Blue Mosque – Istanbul, Turkey
One of the must-visit mosques of the world, the Blue Mosque in Istanbul’s is the most mesmerizing structure that features a cascade of domes and six tall minarets. Bluish tiles beautify the interiors giving a spiritual and hypnotic value to the structure.
The mosque also has a huge courtyard, which is the biggest of all the Ottoman mosques. The interiors are ornamented with thousands of tiles; there are 260 windows and a huge prayer space in the middle. Due to the popularity of the mosque, admission is controlled so that the sanctity is maintained.
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12. Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque – Iran
Situated right in the middle of Esfahan’s gigantic square, locals and visitors are captivated by the stupendous richness of Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque. Established in the 1600s, this mosque has a unique display without a courtyard and a minaret. Visit this mosque during sunset to witness the change of color from cream to pink.
The inner sanctuary is adorned with a patchwork of mosaics with yellow motifs towards the ceiling.
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13. Suleymaniye Mosque – Istanbul, Turkey
Suleymaniye Mosque is the crowning structure and lifeline of Istanbul that was built in the 1500s. It may not be the largest, but it is definitely a beautiful one. Instructed by Suleyman I, the mosque lives up to be magnificent since its inception. The structure features a garden, a fountain and a three-sided court.
The interiors are breathtaking, topped with a Byzantine dome and basilica. The minaret is covered with Iznik tiles. Other designs incorporate vivid stained-glass windows, pearls, velvet carpeted floor, and wonderful calligraphy.
14. Qolsarif (Kul-Sharif) Mosque – Russia
Situated towards Northwest Russia, the Disney-like castle mosque was built in the 16th century with crescent moons. It was named after Kazan’s last Imam and today it stands as one of the largest mosques in Europe and serves as a home to a large collection of books.
It is believed that the mosque had two storeys and eight minarets before Ivan the Terrible captured the city and the mosque was burnt down. The present structure consists of a mosque, a memorial stone, and an administrative building.
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15. Masjid e Jameh – Isfahan, Iran
Positioned right in the center of the old city of Isfahan in Iran, the Masjid-e Jameh shares a common wall with other buildings. This imposing, congregational mosque’s location and design makes it more famous in the city and around. The mosque is the result of repeated renovations and improvements that began in 771 CE. The present design illustrates an intricate sequence of architectural construction and decorations of various Iranian periods that has enlisted this mosque as UNESCO World Heritage since 2012.
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16. Umayyad Mosque – Damascus, Syria
The Grand Mosque of Damascus, known more commonly as the Umayyad Mosque, is one of the largest, oldest, and most impressive mosques in the world with a huge courtyard and a grand prayer hall. You can spot 8th-century mosaics at some places. The imposing minarets date from the time of Al-Walid. It was built on the site of a Christian basilica dedicated to John the Baptist after the Muslim conquest of Damascus in 634. The mosque was destroyed by Timur in 1401 and rebuilt by the Arabs. Although it could not be restored to its unusual grandeur, the mosque is still a remarkable architectural monument.
17. The Great Mosque of Cordoba – Spain
List of most popular mosques of the world would be incomplete without a mention of the great mosque of Cordoba in Spain. Locally known as Mezquita-Catedral, the Great Mosque of Cordoba is one of the oldest structures that still stands from the time Muslims ruled Al-Andalus in the 8th century which included most of Spain, Portugal, and a small part of Southern France. The buildings on the site are as complex as the rich history it portrays. Historians believe that there was a Roman temple dedicated to Janus which was then converted to a Catholic church by invading Visigoths in 572. The church was later turned and completely rebuilt into a mosque by the descendants of the exiled Umayyads.
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18. Crystal Mosque – Malaysia
Counted among world’s most popular mosques, Crystal Mosque is located in the small island of Wan Man in Malaysia. The exterior of the mosque coated with steel, glass, and crystal gives it a unique look which is why it is visited by thousands of tourists all around the year. The mosque took almost two years to be built and was opened to the public on February 8, 2008. The mosque is located on the banks of a river that only adds to its beauty. It can hold about 1500 worshippers at a time.
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19. The Great Mosque of Xi’an – China
One of the most amazing mosques around the world, the great mosque of Xi’an is a treat to sore eyes. It is the largest and one of the oldest mosques in China that were built during the early Ming dynasty. The complex houses more than twenty buildings in its five courtyards covering an area of 12,000 square meters. The architecture of the mosque is inspired by traditional Chinese designs adding Islamic functionality to the structure. Each courtyard has a central building with subsidiary structures and greenery. The mosque is still being used for prayers by the Chinese Muslims.
20. Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque – Muscat, Oman
The imposing structure of the grand mosque of Oman is also included in the list of most famous mosques in the world. It was a gift from Sultan Qaboos to the nation to mark his 30th year of reign. The mosque features the second largest hand-loomed Persian carpet that took almost four years to weave. The prayer hall holds around 20,000 worshippers including the 750 women in a private prayer hall. Visitors are required to dress modestly covering their arms, legs, and hair.
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