“Explore the majestic architectural wonders of the top 10 biggest mosques globally. Dive into their rich histories, unique designs, and cultural significance. Discover the marvels of Islamic architecture.”
Mosques, known as places of worship in Islam, are architectural marvels that represent the grandeur and beauty of Islamic art. They’re not just spiritual hubs but also often serve as centers of education, culture, and community gatherings. Here’s a countdown to the top 10 largest mosques around the globe:
10. Baitul Mukarram, Bangladesh
Built in the 1960s, Baitul Mukarram is the National Mosque of Bangladesh. Its design is unique, inspired by the Holy Kaaba in Mecca, yet blended with modern architectural elements. Serving as Dhaka’s primary mosque, it stands as a bridge between the contemporary and traditional.
- Location: Dhaka
- Capacity: 30,000
- Area: Not specified
This national mosque of Bangladesh impresses with its modern architecture inspired by the Holy Kaaba in Mecca.
9. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, UAE
A modern architectural wonder completed in 2007, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque was envisioned by the late UAE president, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. His goal was to create a structure that would unite the cultural diversity of the Islamic world. The mosque’s design reflects Mughal, Moorish, and Persian mosque architectures.
- Location: Abu Dhabi
- Capacity: 40,000
- Area: 22,412 square meters
A marvel of modern Islamic architecture, this mosque stands out with its 82 domes, over 1,000 columns, and the world’s largest hand-knotted carpet.
8. Istiqlal Mosque, Indonesia
Inaugurated in 1978, Istiqlal Mosque was built to commemorate Indonesian independence, with “Istiqlal” meaning “independence” in Arabic. It’s a symbol of Indonesia’s freedom and religious vigor. President Soekarno, the initiator, wanted the mosque to stand opposite the Jakarta Cathedral, emphasizing harmony and unity in Indonesia.
- Location: Jakarta
- Capacity: 120,000
- Area: 95,000 square meters
As the largest mosque in Southeast Asia, Istiqlal Mosque is a symbol of Indonesia’s independence and is uniquely designed with a minimalistic style.
7. Badshahi Mosque, Pakistan
Constructed during the reign of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in 1671, the Badshahi Mosque is an epitome of Mughal architecture. For over 300 years, it remained the largest mosque in the world. Its red sandstone exterior and intricate marble inlay work are testaments to the grandeur of the Mughal era.
- Location: Lahore
- Capacity: 100,000
- Area: 276,000 square meters
One of the city’s most iconic landmarks, this mosque was built during the Mughal era and is known for its grand red sandstone structure.
6. Hassan II Mosque, Morocco
Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the Hassan II Mosque was completed in 1993 and serves as a showcase of modern Moroccan architecture. The mosque’s construction commemorated the 60th birthday of the former Moroccan king, Hassan II. Its minaret is the tallest in the world, adorned with a laser that points towards Mecca.
- Location: Casablanca
- Capacity: 105,000
- Area: 90,000 square meters
Standing by the Atlantic Ocean, this mosque boasts the world’s tallest minaret at 210 meters. Its intricate design and seaside location make it a prime tourist attraction.
5. Faisal Mosque, Pakistan
An iconic symbol of Islamabad, the Faisal Mosque was completed in 1986. Funded by King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, it’s a fusion of contemporary design with traditional spiritual essence. The mosque’s unique design, reminiscent of a Bedouin tent, sets it apart from conventional mosque architectures.
- Location: Islamabad
- Capacity: 100,000
- Area: 500,000 square meters
Designed by a Turkish architect, this mosque’s contemporary design sets it apart. Nestled against a backdrop of the Margalla Hills, its unique desert tent shape is an iconic symbol of Islamabad.
4. Imam Reza Shrine, Iran
This vast complex is more than just a mosque; it houses the mausoleum of Imam Reza, the eighth Shia Imam. Dating back to the 9th century, it has undergone numerous enhancements and expansions over the years. Today, it stands as a spiritual center for Shia Muslims and a testament to Persian architectural brilliance.
- Location: Mashhad
- Capacity: 500,000
- Area: 598,657 square meters
More than just a mosque, this complex holds the mausoleum of Imam Reza and is a significant pilgrimage site for Shia Muslims.
3. Al-Masjid an-Nabawi, Saudi Arabia
Originally built by Prophet Muhammad in 622 AD in Medina, Al-Masjid an-Nabawi has been expanded multiple times over the centuries. Recognizable by its Green Dome, it’s where the Prophet is laid to rest. It stands as one of the two holiest sites in Islam.
- Location: Medina
- Capacity: 1 million
- Area: 400,500 square meters
Known as the Prophet’s Mosque, it’s the second holiest site in Islam. The Green Dome over Prophet Muhammad’s tomb is its most distinguishable feature.
2. Istiqlal Mosque, Indonesia
Istiqlal Mosque, located in the heart of Jakarta, Indonesia, is the largest mosque in Southeast Asia and an iconic symbol of Indonesia’s dedication to Islam. Its name, “Istiqlal”, is an Arabic word meaning “independence”, aptly chosen to commemorate Indonesia’s struggle for national freedom.
- Location: Jakarta
- Capacity: 1.2 million
- Area: Over 1 million square meters
Another entry from Indonesia, this mosque is not only immense in size but also holds significant importance as a symbol of the country’s dedication to Islam.
1. Al-Masjid al-Haram (The Holy Mosque), Saudi Arabia
Surrounding the Kaaba, the cubic structure towards which Muslims worldwide pray, Al-Masjid al-Haram in Mecca is the most sacred site in Islam. With roots going back to the time of Abraham, the mosque has seen numerous reconstructions. Today, it stands as a beacon for millions of pilgrims who embark on the Hajj pilgrimage annually.
- Location: Mecca
- Capacity: 4 million during Hajj
- Area: 356,800 square meters
At the heart of the Muslim world, this mosque surrounds the Kaaba, to which millions of Muslims turn during their daily prayers. Annually, it hosts millions of pilgrims during Hajj, representing a once-in-a-lifetime journey for many.
In Conclusion, these mosques, with their majestic structures and vast capacities, serve not just as places of worship but also as monumental symbols of Islamic culture and history. Each one tells a tale of the region’s past and stands as a testament to the architectural marvels of the Muslim world. If you ever get a chance, do visit these magnificent structures to experience their splendor firsthand!
These mosques aren’t just places of worship. They echo tales of history, culture, and architectural evolution from various epochs and regions, making each a marvel in its own right.
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