10 Splashy New Mosques Around the World

    With Europe’s grand cathedrals in sundry states of decay and barely a one less than a century old, it may occur to some architecture buffs that when it comes to spiritual sites, mosques occupy the new frontier of the avant-garde. And while Islamic architecture and mosques, like almost any faiths or temple constructions, impose certain design constraints, they also, as we shall see below, challenge the most creative architects to respect the vision and yet think outside the box.

    With too many to choose from, discover ten new or soon-to-be new mosques sure to inspire architecture admirers as much as the faithful.

    Nizamiye Masjid, Midrand, Johannesburg – Photo credit AFP

    DITIB-Zentralmoschee Köln

    Sci-fi or sylvan? Progressive or pastoral? Whatever your take on Cologne’s new Central Mosque, the modern Ottoman look makes quite the impression. The €20 million mosque is a full-blown community centre, with a bazaar, event space and restaurants and, moreover, room for 4,000 worshippers.

    Where to stay: Excelsior Hotel Ernst Cologne

    Cologne City Guide

    Grande Mosquée de Marseille

    The future Grand Mosque of Marseille will be France’s bellwether Islamic temple upon completion. Construction on the massive temple, which will hold up to 14,000 worshippers, begins in 2013.

    Where to stay: Sofitel Marseille Vieux Port Hotel

    Marseille City Guide

    Gungahlin Mosque, Canberra

    The ACT’s Muslim community is not particularly large but significant architectural oomph will make the Gungahlin Mosque in Canberra more than just a regular worship site.

    Where to stay: Hyatt Canberra – A Park Hyatt Hotel

    Canberra City Guide

    The Mosque and Museum of Religious Harmony, Tirana, Albania

    The Bjarke Ingels Group, or BIG, is the iconoclast Copenhagen firm behind arguably Albania’s most prolific and showy architectural project. The Mosque and Museum of Religious Harmony, in capital city Tirana, will strive to showcase the country in a new light.

    Euro Islam Mosque, Penzberg

    Germany’s new crop of mosques is not strictly a big city phenomenon. Take Penzberg, some 55 km outside of Munich, where a cubic design has won several accolades.

    Where to stay: angelo Hotel Munchen Leuchtenbergring

    Munich City Guide

    Islamic Religio-Cultural Center, Ljubljana

    Slovenia’s handsome capital was sans mosque until very recently, when the city’s Muslim community went for broke with a fantastical bit of eye candy that has had a sharp impact on the skyline.

    Where to stay: Best Western Premier Hotel Slon Ljubljana

    Ljubljana City Guide

    Islamic Centre at Clongriffin, Dublin

    Future site of Europe’s largest mosque? The new locality of Clongriffin, in Dublin, Ireland. The €40 million Islamic centre will be a gamechanger for the city’s 40,000 Muslims.

    Where to stay: Westbury Hotel Dublin

    Dublin City Guide

    Deira Mosque, Dubai

    Dubai’s kick at the can will not be subtle, of course, but in this case the laurels will not be for height or breadth but, remarkably, for sustainability. Yes, the world’s first fully eco-friendly mosque will grace the emirate sometime this year.

    Where to stay: Burj Al Arab Hotel Dubai

    Dubai City Guide

    Nizamiye Masjid, Midrand, Johannesburg

    The paragon mosque in Africa may be in Casablanca, Morocco but Joburg’s behemoth Nizamiye Masjid is tops in the southern hemisphere. The tribute to the UNESCO World Heritage Selimiye Mosque in Edirne, Turkey is not avant-garde, per se, but definitely of interest.

    Where to stay: Ten Bompas Hotel Johannesburg

    Johannesburg City Guide

    Park51

    Forget the term “Ground Zero Mosque”. That bit of Republican hyperbole is completely passé. What Park51 will be is a welcome architectural addition to the Lower Manhattan skyline and a vast step up from the old Burlington Coat Factory.

    Where to stay: The Lowell Hotel New York

    New York City Guide

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