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Most Beautiful Mosques in the World

Most Beautiful Mosques in the World

Mosque is an integral part of Islamic society. Where ever we have Muslim Communities, we see Mosques. Even real estate developers in Islamic countries build beautiful Mosques in housings projects. Since the construction of Masjid-E-Nabwi by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), we can see evolution of Mosque Architecture. Modern designs of Mosques are the efforts of centuries by architects, builders, engineers, craftsmen and artists.

Islamic Civilization saw its splendor from 1450-1800, which is also known as pre-modern era. Pre-Modern Era saw the emergence of new celebrities. Before pre modern era only Kings, Queens, Ministers and Generals were hailed as the celebrities. But pre modern era saw the emergence of Doctors, Engineers, Architects, Artists and Scholars as celebrities. The great celebrities of this era are Michael Anglo of Italy, Mimar Sinan of Turkey, Ustad Ahmed Lahori of sub-continent and Kamal-UD-Din Behzad of Iran.

Three greatest empires of the world during pre-modern era were Ottoman Empire, Mughal Empire and Safavid Empire. All of these were the most modern, powerful and wealthy empires of their times. These three great empires were the land based empires and are also known as Gun Powder Empires due to the massive use of cannons and handguns.

All of these empires left great cultural and architectural legacy. What these empires built is still copied and idolized. The modern Mosques around the world are just the modern versions of what Ottomans, Safavids and Mughals left. There are 1000’s of beautiful Mosques around the world, but we will only discuss the 10 most influential Mosques built by three great empires that are the masterpieces of Architecture.

Blue Mosque or Sultan Ahmet Mosque Istanbul, Turkey

Blue Mosque Sultan Ahmet Mosque Istanbul Turkey

Commissioned by: Sultan Ahmed 1

Architect: Sedefkar Mehmed Aga

Date of commission: 1609

Date of completion: 1606

Materials: Cut Stone, Granite, Marble & Tiles

Blue Mosque or Sultanahmet Mosque was built by Ottoman Sultan Ahmed 1. The mosque is called as Blue Mosque due to the use of blue tiles in the mosque. After the disastrous treaty with Austria and Iran, who both tried to break up Ottoman Empire, Sultan Ahmet 1 commissioned the mosque as thanks giving for empire’s survival. Blue Mosque is generally considered as the most beautiful Mosque of the world due to its symmetry, beautiful domes and 6 minarets. Blue Mosque, Masjid-E-Haram and Masjid-E-Nabvi are the three mosques that are mostly knitted on the prayer rugs. Blue Mosque can accommodate 10,000 worshipers. Sabanci Mosque Adana has architectural inspiration from Blue Mosque.

Jama Masjid Delhi, India

Jama Masjid Delhi India

Commissioned by: Emperor Shah Jahan 1

Architect: Ustad Amhed Lahori (Disputed)

Date of commission: 1644

Date of completion: 1656

Materials: Bricks, Red Sand Stone & White Marble

During mid-17th century, Shah Jahan started the construction of a new capital city, Shah Jahan Abad, Lal Qila. In the new capital, Shah Jahan also commissioned the grand Jama Masjid. Jama Masjid is famous for its grandeur and monumental scale. Jama Masjid has square plan, main prayer chamber and vast courtyard. Main prayer chamber is on one side of the square, whereas three entrances are on other 3 sides. The main prayer chamber has two minarets and four canopies can be seen on all four corners of the mosque. Jama Masjid can accommodate 25,000 worshipers. Taj-UL-Masjid Bhopal has architectural inspiration from Jama Masjid Delhi.

Selimiye Mosque Edirne, Turkey

Selimiye Mosque Edirne Turkey

Commissioned by: Sultan Selim 2

Architect: Mimar Sinan

Date of commission: 1569

Date of completion: 1575

Materials: Cut Stone, Granite, Marble & Tiles

Sultan Selim 2 commissioned the grand Mosque in the old Ottoman capital Edirne. According to Mimar Sinan, Selimiye Mosque was his masterpiece work. Selimiye Mosque had the largest dome in the world at that time. The four tall minarets of Selimiye Mosque are equally striking that frame the main prayer chamber. This mosque is widely copied in the world. Shah Faisal Mosque Pakistan, Nizamiya Mosque Turkey and Mimar Sinan Mosque Turkey have architectural inspiration from Selimiye Mosque.

Badshahi Mosque Lahore, Pakistan

Badshahi Masjid Lahore Pakistan

Commissioned by: Emperor Alamgir 1

Architect: Fadai Khan Koka (Koka means foster brother as Fadai Khan was the foster brother of Emperors Alamgir 1)

Date of commission: 1671

Date of completion: 1673

Materials: Bricks, Red Sand Stone & White Marble

Since the governance of Ayaz, Lahore was one of the major Islamic centers in sub-continent. To further create the Islamic presence in Lahore, the 6th Mughal Emperor Alamgir 1 AKA Aurangzeb commissioned the grand Jama Masjid in Lahore. Badshahi Mosque is the most famous landmark building of Lahore and Pakistan. Badshahi Mosque is the largest Mughal structure. Mosque’s plan is similar to that of Jama Masjid Delhi. The main prayer chamber can accommodate 5000 worshipers and 95,000 in the vast courtyard. Badshahi Masjid was the largest Mosque of the world from 1673 to 1986, when it was surpassed by Faisal Mosque Islamabad, Pakistan. The main prayer chamber has three domes. Central dome is the largest dome of Mughal Empire and even small domes are larger than the famous dome of Taj Mahal. The most striking features of the Mosque are the 4 tall minarets on 4 corners of the Mosque. The strength of the structure can be imagined that during Sikh Civil War of 1841, guns were lifted to top of the minarets to fire the fort. During Sikh Civil War Minarets canopies were demolished. Later, British Government destroyed the wall facing Lahore Fort, so that the mosque should not be used as a garrison against British forces. The restoration work of Mosque started in 1939 and completed in 2000. Now Badshahi Masjid is almost fully restored to the original form. Sheikh Zayed Mosque Dubai has architectural inspiration from Badshahi Mosque.

Yeni Mosque, New Mosque or Valide Sultan Mosque Istanbul, Turkey

Yeni Mosque Sultan Valide Mosque Istanbul Turkey

Commissioned by: Sultana Safiya (Mother of Sultan Muhammad 3) & Sultan Turhan Hatice (Mother of Sultan Muhammad 4)

Architect: Davut Agha & Mustafa Agha

Date of commission: 1597

Date of completion: 1665

Materials: Cut Stone, Granite, Marble & Tiles

Yeni Mosque or New Mosque is the imperial Mosque in Istanbul. It was commissioned by the mother of Sultan Muhammad 3 in 1597 to control the ever growing influence of Jews in that area. As this Mosque was commissioned by Sultan Mother, this is why it is also known as Valide Sultan Mosque. Unfortunately construction work was not completed due to government changes and economic conditions of the empire. Later in 1660 mother of Sultan Muhammad 4 started the construction work and mosque was opened in 1665. At that time it was called as New Valide Sultan Mosque and later just as New Mosque or Yeni Camii. The Mosque has beautiful design that resembles the style of Shehzade Mosque built in 1539 by Mimar Sinan. Mosque can be distinguished by its beautiful symmetry and 2 minarets. Fatih Mosque Istanbul has architectural inspiration from New Mosque.

Wazir Khan Mosque Lahore, Pakistan

Wazir Khan Mosque Lahore Pakistan

Commissioned by: Emperor Shah Jahan 1

Architect: Unknown / Wazir Khan / Ustad Ahmad Lahori

Date of commission: 1634

Date of completion: 1635

Materials: Red Bricks, Tiles & Sandstone

Wazir Khan Mosque was commissioned by Emperor Shah Jahan 1 and was constructed by Wazir Khan the governor of Punjab. Wazir Khan Mosque is considered as one of the most decorated Mosques of the world. Mosques interior and exteriors are decorated in floral patterns and beautiful calligraphy. The Mosque can accommodate 5000 worshipers and was the largest mosque of Lahore before the construction of Badshahi Masjid. UNESCO and Walled City Lahore are restoring the mosque to its formal glory as restoration work is in full swing. Bahria Grand Mosque Lahore, Pakistan has architectural inspiration from Wazir Khan Mosque.

Sultan Bayezid 2 Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey

Sultan Bayezid 2 Mosque Istanbul Turkey

Commissioned by: Sultan Bayezid 2

Architect: Unknown

Date of commission: 1501

Date of completion: 1506

Materials: Cut Stone, Granite, Marble & Tiles

Sultan Bayezid 2 Mosque is now the original oldest mosque in Istanbul as Sultan Fatih Mosque was destroyed by the earthquake and was re-built in 1770’s on same design as Yani Mosque Istanbul. Sultan Bayezid 2 Mosque was commissioned by the 8th Ottoman Sultan and second Muslim ruler of Istanbul, Sultan Bayezid 2. The mosque set the example of main prayer chamber, beautiful courtyard,domes and pencil shape minarets that were later widely copied in Ottoman Mosques. Shahzade Mosque Istanbul has architectural inspiration from Sultan Bayezid 2 Mosque.

Shah Jahan Mosque Thatta, Pakistan


Commissioned by: Emperor Shah Jahan 1

Architect: Unknown

Date of commission: 1644

Date of completion: 1647

Materials: Red Bricks & Tiles

Shah Jahan Mosque Thatta is generally considered as the most beautiful Mosque of Province Sindh, Pakistan. Mosque has no minarets but main prayer chamber and central courtyard. The mosque is built of local materials like red bricks and beautiful blue / green tiles. Like Wazir Khan Masjid Lahore, Shah Jahan Masjid Thatta has beautiful interiors. Islamic / geometric patterns have been used in the interiors. Different areas and domes have different interior styles but color scheme is the same. Numerous Mosques in Sindh have architectural inspiration from Shah Jahan Mosque Thatta.

Shah Mosque or Imam Mosque Isfahan, Iran

Shan Mosque Imam Mosque Isfahan Iran

Commissioned by: Shah Abbas 1

Architect: Sheikh-E-Bahai

Date of commission: 1611

Date of completion: 1629

Materials: Bricks & Tiles

Shah Abbas the great moved his capital from Qazvin to Isfahan in 1598. Shah Abbas the great commissioned the grand mosque in the new capital of Safavid Empire. After the Iranian Revolution in 1979, Mosque’s name was changed to Imam Mosque and this is why it is now also called as Imam Mosque. Unlike the monumental scale of Mughal and Ottoman Mosques, Shah had more aspiration for aesthetics and interiors. The Mosque architecture is highly inspired from Taimurid Architecture of Central Asia. The most prominent feature of the mosque is the decorated main entrance gate. The blue and green tiles are extensively used in Shah Mosque. Numerous Mosques in Iran have architectural inspiration from Shah Mosque Isfahan.

Pink Mosque or Nasir-ol-Molk Mosque Shiraz, Iran

Pink Mosque Iran

Commissioned by: Nasir-ol-Molk

Architect: Mohammad Hasan-E-Mimar

Date of commission: 1876

Date of completion: 1888

Materials: Colored Glass, Bricks & Tiles

Pink Mosque or Nasir-ol-Molk Mosque in Shiraz was commissioned by Nasir-ol-Molk. Nasir-ol-Molk is generally known as the minister of Shah Naseer-UD-Din Qajar. The mosque was built in the late 19th century from 1876-1888. The most striking feature of the mosque is the extensive use of colored glasses in windows and doors. When light passes through glasses, it gives the pink color feeling. This is why that the mosque is known as Pink Mosque. Pink Mosque has no monumental scale but very beautiful interiors. Pink Mosque like many Persian Palaces is one of the most beautiful buildings of 19th century Iran. Numerous Mosques in Iran have architectural inspiration from Pink Mosque Shiraz, Iran.

Lahore Fort Paint Wall

(4) Comments

  1. Saima

    on   said 

    Stunning blog post
    I have read many blogs about mosques but this is the best. Empires have buildings that show their past glory.
    Saltanat e usmania was impressive empire. So was mughal empie

    • Saima
      Many thanks
      Every Masjid is beautiful for faithfuls. But I have just described the Mosques that are very influential and are copied by MODERN ARCHITECTS.

      OTTOMAN EMPIRE / Saltanat E Osmania

      Was the longest superpower in history from 1389-1832
      Ottomans are famous for two major achievements



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