Mosques or Masjids have been the centre of civilisations throughout the history of Islam. They were regarded as the heartbeat of the town where most activities happened during the glorious era of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Nowadays, except for certain mosques, it is more accepted as a place of worship for Muslims where prayers and other religious undertakings happen.
However, the importance of mosques is never a doubt. Many were built to show Islam’s legacy and glory through its design and architecture. Domes, minarets and prayer halls are some of the more prominent similarities in many mosques around the world but depending on the location, each will have its own unique identity. Below are 21 outstanding mosques around the world you should visit 😍 (in no particular ranking)
P.S. Looking to uncover more mosques? These 15 mosques around the world are proof that Islam embraces diversity!
1. Masjid Al-Haram, Mecca, Saudi Arabia
Credit: @nzrnrosli on Instagram
The mosque all Muslims would know by heart and love to be at! The holiest place in Islam features the most important structure in Islam – the Kaaba which serves as the Qiblah at its heart. This mosque is where all Muslims face when we pray. It’s the subject to ever present renovations and changes to accommodate Muslims from around the world where certain pillars of the Hajj is performed. It’s also the largest mosque in the world and is able to house up to 1.5 million worshippers at any time throughout the year. This number though increases exponentially during the Hajj season.
2. Masjid Nabawi, Medina, Saudi Arabia
Here’s another mosque that all Muslims strive to visit one day – Masjid Nabawi in Medina. It was established and originally built by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) himself and it’s been constantly referred to as the Prophet’s Mosque ❤️
It’s the second holiest mosque after Masjid Al-Haram and can hold around 1 million congregants! Besides praying at this majestic mosque, you’ll also find the tombs of the Prophet (PBUH), and his companions, Abu Bakr and Umar. One of the most famous features of the mosque is its green dome – it’s where the Prophet’s tomb is and originally his wife, Aisha’s house.
3. Sheikh-Lotfollah Mosque, Esfahan, Iran
Known as the ‘mosque of women’ for having a tunnel that was only used by women in the past, the tunnel connected the mosque to the Ali Ghapu palace and enabled women of the court to move in and out of the mosque without being observed.
Credit: Babak on Flickr
Besides its signature blue and turquoise tiles of Esfahan, another excellent feature of the mosque is the dome exterior which is covered with cream tiles that change colours throughout the day from cream to pink 😍
Credit: @gervaislissillour on Instagram
P.S. Check out our contributor’s journey to Iran here.
4. Hazrat Sultan Mosque, Astana, Kazakhstan
One of the largest mosques in Central Asia, the Hazrat Sultan Mosque was constructed in classic Islamic style using traditional Kazakh ornaments. This mosque also has the largest dome in Kazakhstan with four minarets at a height of 77 metres 😱
Credit: @denniswayfaring on Instagram
The mosque’s 40m height also symbolises the age when Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) received the revelation, while the 63m long minarets symbolise the age of his passing.
Credit: @loic8l on Instagram
5. Shah Faisal Masjid, Islamabad, Pakistan
Credit: @usmanmiski on Instagram
Completed in 1986, the Shah Faisal Masjid is the largest mosque in Pakistan and South Asia. It was also once the largest mosque in the world from 1986-1993 before being overtaken by expansions and constructions of mosques elsewhere and is currently the fourth largest mosque in the world. Designed and shaped based on a desert Bedouin’s tent, it functions as Pakistan’s national mosque with its modern Islamic architecture at the forefront.
6. Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque, Brunei
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Located in Bandar Sri Begawan, the capital of Brunei Darussalam, it is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful mosques in South East Asia. Besides a place of worship, it is also a major historical site and a famous tourist attraction. Visitors of Brunei would not want to miss this structure as it dominates the skyline with one of its minarets being the tallest building in Bandar Sri Begawan. Apparently, the Sultan ordered the top storey of a nearby building to be removed, in order for it to not exceed the minaret’s height. It also features a ceremonial stone boat in the lagoon, which is based on a 16th-century royal barge!
P.S. Looking for more places to explore in Brunei? We’ve got just the list you’d need!
7. Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Credit: Dr. Norbert on Flickr
An impressive structure, visible from both bridges that join Abu Dhabi Island to the mainland, this mosque features beautiful gardens and serves as a brilliant landmark to the city. It is also the resting place of its namesake, Sheikh Zayed – the first president of UAE.
Credit: @the_flyaway_girl on Instagram
The mosque features 82 domes, over 1,000 columns, 24-carat gold gilded chandeliers and the world’s largest hand-knotted carpet. It’s able to accommodate 41,000 worshippers and is one of the few mosques in the region that is also open to non-Muslims 😄
8. Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca, Morocco
This marvellous architecture was built to commemorate the former king’s 60th birthday! Along with its 210m minaret, the mosque rises above the ocean in its full galore of being the world’s third largest mosque. It features heated flooring, a retractable roof, a section of glass flooring and also a laser light atop its minaret, pointing to Mecca every single night.
Credit: Milamber on Flickr
It started when King Hassan II stated his wish for the city to “be endowed with a large, fine building of which it can be proud of until the end of time” on his birthday, owing to the fact that Casablanca lacks any historical monument of sorts. Thirteen years later, he inaugurated the Hassan II Mosque which was built on a rocky outcrop of reclaimed land.
#HHWT Tip: Explore Morocco with our 7D6N amazing itinerary!
9. Jama Masjid, Fatehpur Sikri, Agra, India
Credit: Leon Yakov on Flickr
Jama Masjid is one of the largest mosques in India. Built by the Emperor Shah Jahan in the 16th century, it was part of the World Heritage Site, Fatehpur Sikri – the capital of the Mughal Empire for some 10 years. With its beautiful Iranian architecture, Jama Masjid also serves as one of the most visited tourist destinations in Agra. The construction of the mosque marks a transition of Islamic art in India where the blend of Persian and native elements are very much evident.
10. Sultan Ahmed Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey
One of the more recognisable mosques in the world, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque features an exterior with a cascade of domes and six minarets. The blue Iznik tiles which make up the interior gives this mosque its more fashionable and common name – the Blue Mosque. It’s the only mosque in Turkey detailing six minarets and its courtyard is the largest among all Ottoman mosques. Tourists and locals alike normally gather at the park facing the mosque during the Maghrib call of prayer as the athan, combined with the floodlights illuminating the mosque, makes a truly beautiful and hair-raising experience.
P.S. Wondering what to see and do in Istanbul? We’ve got you covered with our guide!
11. Jami-Ul-Alfar Mosque, Colombo, Sri Lanka
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With the blue mosque in Istanbul, there’s also a red mosque in Colombo. In one of the busier commercial districts of Colombo – Pettah, stands this striking and unique structure. Each brick used in the construction of this outstanding piece of architecture is painted red or white and used in contrasting designs – hence, it’s commonly known as the Red Mosque. Its Indo-Saracenic architecture, featuring pomegranate-shaped domes gives this mosque its own character, Some also claim that this building was used as the landmark of Colombo by sailors approaching the port in the past 😁
12. Crystal Mosque, Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia
Credit: Pesan Bonda on Facebook
Within the grounds of the Islamic Heritage Park in Kuala Terengganu, the Crystal Mosque was built on a man-made island. It was officially opened in February 2008 and is the country’s first ‘intelligent’ mosque with built-in IT infrastructure and WiFi connection providing visitors with internet access to read the Quran digitally. Its stunning architecture is made of steel and glass giving the mosque its crystal-like appearance. With the display of lights at night, the mosque truly deserves its reputation of one of the most beautiful mosques having its domes and minarets change colours to pink yellow, green and blue 😍
P.S. These other mosques in Malaysia are worth your visit too!
13. Bibi-Khanym Mosque, Samarkand, Uzbekistan
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Built in the 15th century, the Bibi-Khanym Mosque was one of the largest and gorgeous mosques in the world. In 1897, an earthquake brought down parts of the mosque but slowly and surely, major parts of the mosque have been restored. According to some legends, the mosque was built by Bibi-Khanym, Tamerlane’s favourite wife in order to honour his return from India with the aim of it being the most grandiose creation and structure on Samarkand. It features three domed rooms, covered galleries, 8 minarets (4 restored and 4 yet to be completed), and also an open courtyard with a stone pedestal – a huge Quran stand.
P.S. Bibi-Khanym Mosque is just one of many outstanding places in Uzbekistan – we’ve compiled 10 reasons why this stunning country is worth a visit.
14. Baiturrahman Grand Mosque, Banda Aceh, Indonesia
Displaying unique black domes, made of hardwood shingles combined as tiles, this mosque is one of the better known mosques in Indonesia due to its significance during the 2004 tsunami. Many cited divine intervention as the reason this 130-year-old mosque somehow survived and withstood the disaster when neighbouring structures around the mosque were flattened by the unstoppable swell.
Credit: Johanes on Flickr
Numerous locals took refuge here while the tsunami ravaged the landscape of Banda Aceh. Images of the incident still mesmerise many even to this day. With its design based on the Mughal revival style, today it features 7 domes, 8 minarets and 32 pillars.
15. Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Muscat, Oman
This mosque was a gift from Sultan Qaboos to his nation to mark the 30th year of his reign. The main prayer hall features the world’s second largest hand-loomed Persian carpet measuring 70m x 60m which took 600 women 4 years to weave. It serves as the main mosque in Oman and is the only one open to non-Muslims. Besides the prayer halls, the mosque also features surrounding courtyards and 5 minarets that represent the Five Pillars of Islam ❤️
16. Mashkhur Jusup Central Mosque, Pavlodar, Kazakhstan
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Adorned with an 8-axis star, a dome and 4 minarets, this mosque can be found right in the city centre. Being true to its function as a proper mosque, it also features a school, wedding hall, library, cinema, dining room and also an Islamic culture museum among others. Built primarily form monolithic iron concrete, bricks, metal, marble and aluminium, its architecture became an inspiration and has influenced many urban designs in the country. Certainly, its centrepiece is unique and cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
17. Great Mosque of Xi’an, Xi’an, China
One of the oldest and largest mosques in China, the Xi An mosque was built in 700s AD, during the Ming Dynasty. The tradition says that the Xi An mosque, also known as the Great Mosque, was founded by the son of a prestigious Muslim family who became famous for expelling pirates from the China Sea.
Tourists from all over the world travel to see the mosque for its unique design of mixed architecture, which is traditional Muslim meets Chinese style! 😍
P.S. There’s so much more to see in Xi’an’s Muslim Quarter other than the mosque – check out our guide here.
#HHWT Tip: If you’re visiting Xi’an, be sure to refer to our 5D4N Muslim-friendly itinerary!
18. Seoul Central Mosque, Seoul, South Korea
The Seoul Central Mosque is Seoul’s only mosque and the first one ever built in Korea. Located on top of a hill above the busy neighbourhood of Itaewon, it was completed in 1976 with the help of funds from various Muslim countries and the Korean government. What’s interesting is that lectures conducted at this mosque can be heard in 3 languages – Korean, English and Arabic!
There’s a sign above the entrance of the mosque written in Arabic that reads Allahuakbar meaning “God is great”😊 With tons of halal eateries in the vicinity of the mosque, there is no question as to why Seoul is one of the favourite cities most Muslim travellers love to visit!
#HHWT Tip: Explore Seoul with our 5D4N Muslim-friendly itinerary!
19. Tokyo Camii, Japan
Located in the Oyama-cho district of Shibuya in Tokyo, Tokyo Camii is the largest mosque in Japan. Once you’ve arrived at this mosque, the first thing that will catch your eye is the beautifully designed doors, which features geometrical designs that are similar to Islamic architecture! 😍
P.S. Find out more prayer spaces in Tokyo near attractions with our guide right here.
Credit: Tokyo Camii on Facebook
In the prayer hall, blue carpet covers the floor while rays of sunlight sparkle through the blue stained glass surrounding the hall. The building materials and furnishings that are used in the mosque were brought from Turkey, which explains why the mosque has a Turkish feel to it 😊
If you’re wondering why this mosque is called Tokyo Camii, it’s because the word camii is a Turkish word derived from the Arabic word jami, which means congregational mosque.
P.S. Exploring Tokyo? Don’t miss out on its amazing halal Japanese cuisine using our halal food guide!
20. Badshahi Mosque, Pakistan
Built in 1673, the Badshahi Mosque which is also known as the Emperor’s Mosque is one of the city’s best-known landmarks! The exterior of this mosque is decorated with stone craving and marble inlay on red sandstone and has a similar design to the Jama Masjid in Delhi India.
Credit: Umair Khan on Flickr
The interior of the prayer chamber is decorated with white marble carved with floral designs that are common to Mughal art 😍
Credit: @tanzeela.muhammad on Instagram
21. Education City Mosque, Doha
With its futuristic design, there is no question as to why the Education City Mosque is absolutely unique from any other mosque in the world! The structure of the mosque rests on 5 large columns which represent the five pillars of Islam, with each column featuring a verse from the Quran ❤️
Credit: amina_ahmadi on Instagram
The mosque has a capacity of 1,800 worshippers in its main prayer hall and exterior courtyards with the exterior covered with embossed verses from the Qur’an and hundreds of small round windows perforate the fluid, white, cavernous structure.
Credit: @guingm on Instagram
Know of any other breathtaking mosques around the world that we may have missed out? Share with us in the comments below!