The places of Muslim worship are real architectural gems. Discover the biggest and most beautiful mosques in the world through this inspiring guide!
Minarets and domes are the primary pillars of Muslim architecture, but the true experience lies in visiting these places and absorbing the true significance and intricacies of these places of worship that symbolize heaven on earth. The size of the mosques is usually understood by the capacity of worshippers it can accommodate. Mosques around the world are renowned for highlighting the various Islamic craftsmanship: Persian rugs, Moroccan zellige, and woodcuts from the Umayyads. If like us you love history, culture, and aesthetics, then this guide is just the thing for you.
Masjid al-Haram Mecca, Saudi Arabia
Masjid al-Haram is the most beautiful Mosque not only in Saudi Arabia and the Arabian peninsula but in the whole wide world. The name itself reveals the piousness and the sanctity of it, Al-Masjid al-Haram i.e. “The sacred mosque”; It encompasses the holiest shrine of Islam- The Kaaba. Evary Muslim person should do a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in his life time.
The astounding structure of the Kaaba and the sparkling golden Arabic- Koranic verses inscribed on the black curtains leave every spectator mesmerized.
The station of Prophet Abraham, The Zamzam well, the Safa and Marwah sites, and most importantly, the Eastern cornerstone, popularly known as The Black stone, are some of the places where different rituals of the Muslim faith are performed and are what adds beauty and honor to its grandeur.
Surrounded by luxury hotels, it hosts millions of pilgrims every year during Hajj and umrah.
Capacity – four million
Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi
Named after the first president of the United Arab Emirates, this site definitely has its place at the top of the most beautiful mosques in the world. It reached completion around the year 2007.
The reflective water pools that surround the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi make its exterior absolutely magical. The golden tones of the mosque reflect the rays of the sun during the day and the moonlight at night. The archways have Moorish influence, and their minarets are classic Arab. The Sheikh Zayed Mosque has a gigantic chandelier though not the biggest one (as this one is in a Mosque in Oman), and the largest handwoven carpet in the world.
It is a place of unmissable views and spiritual wealth that is open to visitors at all times. It also contains a library serving a broad language base including French, Spanish, Italian, etc.
Its a must see if you are visiting Abu Dhabi.
Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque – Muscat
While the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque may not have been built with beautiful architecture in mind, it is still a gorgeous and unique place. It was constructed around 1977 to honor of then-Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said, who became ruler when he overthrew his father’s regime in 1970 (facts about Oman)The mosque has four minarets that are over 60 meters tall, which can be seen from far away.
The interior is full of artwork as well – everything from paintings on the wall to intricate Persian carpets on the floor. In fact, there are more than 3500 pieces of art within this single building! Some visitors say that what makes this such an incredible sight is less about its architectural beauty and more about the feeling of spirituality and peace that one gets when inside.
Inside you can find the biggest chandelier in the world, it is made from Swarovski crystal. its height is 12 meters (inside you can find a staircase needed to change bulbs) it weighs over 13 tonnes and is made from 18000 crystals.
Capacity – 25000
Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca Morocco
Hassan II Mosque is located in Casablanca Morocco and is one of the most opulent in the world. Its minaret borders the sky, and its 20,000 m2 pathway along the Atlantic Ocean ocean welcomes several thousand tourists and worshipers every year. Inside, the different rooms of the mosque are adorned with marble, zellige, and carved wood. Part of the floor is glass and overlooks the sea. King Hassan II requested these rephrasing verse from Quoran “I want to build this mosque on the water because God’s throne is on the water…”
The truly spectacular part of the Hassan II Mosque is the perfectly symmetrical humongous prayer room which is supported by 78 pillars and has a convertible roof. It is the only mosque in Morocco that can be visited by non-Muslims in Morocco, although the policy is to open it to non-Muslims only during non-prayer times.
It’s one of the biggest mosques in Africa.
The Largest Mosque in the World, Imam Reza Shrine – Mashhad
Imam Reza Shrine in Mashhad, Iran, is a complex which contains the mausoleum of Imam Reza. It is the largest mosque in the world by area. This complex accommodates a number of different buildings including another mosque, a museum, a library, four seminaries, a cemetery, a university, vast prayer halls, amongst others.
There are two Museums in the Imam Reza shrine limits, Astan Quds Museum and Quran Museum. The former is a truly stunning museum and might be the best in Iran. Rugs and golden covers for the Tomb are all unique and date back to the 11 and 13th centuries, a perfect place for people who love a mix of scenic beauty and history.
Capacity – 700000
Nasir ol-Molk Mosque, Iran
One of the most beautiful mosques dating back to 1888 is the Nasir ol molk mosque in the Fars province of Iran, also known as the pink mosque. The reason is its stained glass windows that create a surreal effect of a real kaleidoscope when the sun’s rays pass through the facade, which creates a mishmash of pink colors. Everyone can enjoy and experience the serenity of this spiritual place especially with the Sufi whirling practice that will take you on a spiritual journey. The ideal time to experience the true beauty of the mosque would be early morning when the sun rays hit the facade.
The Taj-ul-Masajid is located in the central Indian town of Bhopal. The name translates to ‘The Crown of Mosques,’ and the magnificent minarets reflect just that. The masjid was built by Sultan Shah Jehan Begum of Bhopal and not only is the mosque the largest in the country, but it also happens to be the second-largest mosque in Asia. Made of red stone, Taj-Ul-Masajid adorns enormous domes, a spectacular hallway, and elegant minarets.
Al-Masjid an-Nabawi – Medina
The second most important mosque In Islam, and one of the largest in the world, Al-Masjid an-Nabawi holds great significance as it is the tomb of Prophet Mohammed which is adorned by a green dome and an adjacent minaret. The size and the grandeur of this mosque are truly a sight to behold.
No matter how many times you visit, the mosque will never cease to amaze. The green dome towers into the sky and is adorned with a minaret that can be seen for miles around on clear days. It houses one of Islam’s most sacred places-the tomb of Prophet Mohammed which was built in 622 AD as his final resting place after he passed away from battle wounds sustained during an at tack by some opponents in Medina who were seeking revenge against him because they believed themselves wrongly treated. Many Pilgrimages visit Medina before going to Mecca.
Hagia Sophia, Turkey
Hagia Sophia is first a basilica founded in 548 in the ancient city of Constantinople, now Istanbul. It survived Cesars, kings and earthquakes. When the Ottoman took the city of Constantinople in 1453, the basilica was transformed into a mosque. Its history with its incredible Byzantine architecture, its cupolas, and its immense columns contribute to making this mosque one of the most beautiful mosques around the world. It is also one of the most visited places of worship in Turkey.
The Blue Mosque, Turkey
Another reason to visit Istanbul is the Blue Mosque, also called Sultanahmet. A former gathering point for pilgrims traveling towards mecca. With two minarets and a multitude of domes, the blue mosque astonishes its visitors with its architecture. The interior is covered with ceramics and calligraphy using koranic verses. In the evening, as it lights up to call everyone for prayer it becomes even more beautiful against the dark sky of the night. It is a beautiful experience of spiritual bliss.
Faisal Mosque is the fifth largest mosque in the world, located in Islamabad, Pakistan. It is named after King Faisal of Saudi Arabia who commissioned over twenty-eight million dollars to build this mosque. It features a contemporary design consisting of eight sides of the concrete shell and is inspired by a Bedouin tent. It is an architectural beauty. Definitely one of the most beautiful buildings in Pakistan and a famous tourist spot.
Badshahi mosque was built during the reign of the Mughal Emporer Aurangzeb somewhere between 1658 to 1707. It is currently the fifth largest mosque in the world. It stands tall as a reminder of the Mughal achievements and rule like no other monument in Lahore. Near the entrance of the mosque lies the tomb of the revered Mohammed Iqbal the architect of the Pakistan moment.
Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem
It is one of the oldest holy places in Islamic history. It is located south of the Temple Mount, and is one of the structures in the Esplanade des Mosques, along with the Dome of the Rock and the Western Wall for the worship of the Jews. The design is traditional, representative of Islamic ideology with carved wood from the Umayyad period, forming plant motifs.
Throughout the ages, Al-Aqsa also encountered many political and geopolitical obstacles … Until today! You can always come and admire the mosque from the outside, but sadly the interior is reserved for the Muslim community.
Qolsharif Mosque, Russia
Qolsharif is one of the most beautiful mosques in the world and is located in Kazan in Russia. Ivan the Terrible destroyed it in 1552, shortly after the construction of the mosque, and in the year 1996, the reconstruction of Qolsharif began. From 2005, the mosque became a place of worship for the Muslim community. Its turquoise blue domes attract visitors from all over the world who come to capture their beauty. The mosque also serves as a museum that traces the history of Islam.
Great Mosque of Xi’an, China
This beautiful mosque is not built with the traditional Islamic aesthetic. On the contrary, Xi’an, located in the eponymous city, combines Muslim worship with traditional Chinese architecture. The Tang empire orchestrated its construction in 742, but the official form of the mosque dates in the year 1392. It was a starting point of the silk road and above all a symbol of the mixing of cultures.
Ubudiah Mosque, Malaysia
Ubudiah, a majestic mosque with golden domes. Ubudiah is inspired by the Indo-Saracen architectural style, with an Italian marble finish. During the reign of the sultan of perek in the twentieth century he fell ill and when he recovered, he ordered the construction of this great mosque as a tribute to Allah. A timeless piece created for a mere twenty-four thousand dollars, a must-visit if you are ever in that area.
Jama Masjid Mosque, India
Known as the Grand Mosque of Delhi, Jama Masjid is an important place of worship for the Muslim community in India. The beauty of this building lies above all in its history. Indeed, built in 1656, it follows the architectural plan of the Mughal Dynasty: a large courtyard, prayer room with large circular domes, but also a rectangular portal named Pishtâk. The minarets and facades are covered in red stone. It may not be the flashiest, but the Jama Masjid deserves its place among the most beautiful mosques in the world. It is indeed an important historical place, which you can visit during a stay in India.
Istiqlal Mosque, Jakarta, Indonesia
Indonesia’s largest mosque the istiqlal mosque is a sacred place of worship and rituals and alongside that, it is also a center for conferences, lectures, and seminars. With a capacity of around two hundred thousand, it was built to commemorate Indonesian independence. The architecture is unique, consisting of seven gates named after the names of God in Islam. The ablution area is located on the ground floor and the main prayer area is situated on the first floor, which is not an orthodox style. Muslim travelers usually like to experience praying in one of the largest mosques in the world and people tend to count this as a must-visit when in Jakarta Indonesia. This mosque lures you with its beauty, even as you catch a glimpse of it from afar!
Mosques are regarded as houses of Allah and are located throughout the world, one can and should visit as many as possible to understand and appreciate the unity of human begins and to understand Islam as a peaceful religion.
The world is full of beautiful and amazing places, but few can compare to the beauty found in mosques. These buildings represent some of the most stunning examples of architecture that mankind has ever created. In your travels, don’t forget to visit a mosque near you!