For Muslims worldwide, mosques have existed for more than a millennium and are sacred places of worship. Not only do they hold incredible religious and cultural value, but the architecture of these mosques are jaw-droppingly beautiful, and most of the ones on our list often have visitors from all over the world coming by just for a peek.
Many of these majestic places of worship were built not only for Muslims to come and pray at, but also to showcase Islam’s legacy and glory. Domes, minarets, and expansive halls are some of the similarities seen in the design and architecture of mosques around the world, though each one often has its own unique local identity. Without further ado, here are only a handful of the world’s most beautiful mosques.
1. Hassan II Mosque, Morocco
The Hassan II Mosque is Morocco’s largest and seventh biggest in the world. Located in Casablanca since 1993, its minarets are the tallest in the world, standing at 210 metres high, and it’s also one of the few mosques in the world that allows non-Muslim visitors. However, the visits to this beautiful monument have to be guided tours.
2. Blue Mosque, Turkey
This functioning mosque in Istanbul, Turkey, is one of the many mosques worldwide that attracts visitors and is famous for being a prominent building important to the Ottoman Empire and the city of Istanbul. Built sometime in 1609, the Blue Mosque gained its name from all the blue Iznik tiles used in its interior. Its elegant curves and giant courtyards never cease to amaze its visitors.
3. Al-Haram Mosque, Saudi Arabia
Perhaps the most famous and prominent mosque of them all, the Al-Haram Mosque is the largest in the world, and many Muslims worldwide perform their Hajj (the annual Islamic pilgrimage) here. So big is this mosque that it can accommodate up to 4 million people, and it surrounds the Ka’ba.
4. Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, Iran
One country with plenty of beautiful mosques is none other than Iran, and one of the most famous is the Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, which is said to have been built between 1602 and 1619. This mosque is undoubtedly a masterpiece of Iranian architecture. Everything about its exterior and interior is exquisite — from sharp edges that make up its majestic entryways to its seven-colour tiles with inscriptions from the Quran, names of Imams, and poetry.
5. Sheikh Zayed Mosque, United Arab Emirates
Featuring 82 domes, over 1,000 columns, 24 carat gold-gilded chandeliers, and the world’s largest hand-knotted carpet, the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi is truly a sight to be seen. This mosque is as opulent as the city it’s in and a massive ode to the religious tastes of the royal family.
6. Nasir al-Mulk Mosque, Iran
Built during the Qajar period (1789-1925) at the request of Mirza Hassan Ali Khan Nasir al-Mulk, this dreamlike mosque is often nicknamed the Pink Mosque. Adorned with stained glass windows, this mosque treats its guests to an incredible kaleidoscope of colours. The entrance itself will wow you with tiles in shades of white, pink, yellow, azure, and blue, and with its wooden doors, the entrance is truly a unique feature. There’s also a courtyard with a shallow pool that seems to be a favourite photo spot for visitors.
7. Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Al-Aqsa Mosque in old Jerusalem is considered to be the third holiest site of Islamic pilgrimage. Legend tells that Prophet Muhammad was transported here from Al-Haram mosque before his ascension to heaven. On the inside, this mosque features many halls and aisles, all common characteristics of a mosque. But its exterior is jaw-dropping with inscriptions, blue and turquoise tiles, and its gold dome.
8. Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Mosque, Malaysia
This list wouldn’t be complete unless we included one of our own — none other than the Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Mosque in the suburb of Shah Alam in Selangor. This impressive monument is not only the largest mosque in Malaysia, but the second largest in Southeast Asia. Its most prominent feature being a large blue and silver dome. At any one time, this mosque can host up to 24,000 worshippers.