Saudi Arabia is most indubitably a grandiose country with its magnificent architecture and history. Comprised of a population of 90% Arabs and 10% Afro-Arabs, it stretches upon an area of 2,149,690 square kilometres. Harbouring a massive total of 33 million inhabitants and known officially as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), it is the uncontested historical heart of the Muslim faith. So what does this directly translate into if you are a visitor? Well, an abundance of exquisite mosques, of course! So, without further ado, let us see six of them that are completely unmissable!
6. Jawatha Mosque:
It is quite fun to kick off such a list with something that doesn’t stick entirely with what’s to come further. In this case, we are recommending a structure that currently lies in ruin. Sitting 12 kilometres north of Hofuf, within the bounds of the village of Al-Kilabiyah, the Jawatha Mosque is considered the oldest mosque to have been erected in eastern Arabia. Built in the year 629 AD, it is used until this day for prayers – quite a feat for a religious structure in such a condition.
5. King Saud Mosque:
Erected by the world-famous Egyptian master architect Abdel-Wahed El-Wakil and decorating the inner bounds of the Saudi Arabian port-city of Jeddah, the King Saud Mosque is more than worthy to be on this list when considering its grandeur. Relatively new, it was finished in 1987 and stretches upon an area of 9,700 square metres. With the prayer hall as large as 2464 square metres, it reaches a height of 60 metres with its majestic minaret. The dome alone soars at 42 metres and has a diameter of 20. You can find this magnificent religious structure in the Al-Sharafeyyah district of the city!
4. Bay’ah Mosque:
Sitting just outside the Islamic Holy City of Mecca, the Bay’ah Mosque was erected at the orders of Caliph Abu Ja’far al-Mansur in the year 761 and it is a fascinating landmark to lay eyes upon. Its proximity to Mecca, however, may make it unvisitable if you are not a Muslim as people pertaining to other religions are prohibited from entering the city and central Medina as well. Even if you fate might not allow you to get close to it, you should know the historical fact that it was built upon the site where Prophet Muhammad met with the Ansar and where they, in turn, took the pledge of ‘Aqaba.
3. Masjid e Taneem:
Sitting around 8 kilometres away from the Sacred Kaaba, the Masjid e Taneem mosque is an instrumental place for the Muslim faith. Serving as a location (called a Miqat) where pilgrims put on their garments and where they enter a state of Ihram (further research is advised), it, again, is unvisitable by non-Muslim tourists. What’s interesting about it is that people who live in Mecca have to go to this place first before wandering back to the Kaaba. Muslim travellers can also visit the mosque for general prayers at any time.
2. Al-Masjid an-Nabawi:
Considered the second-holiest place in the world by the Muslim faith, the Al-Masjid an-Nabawi mosque was founded by the Prophet Muhammad himself in the year 622. The third mosque ever to be built according to the history of Islam, it combines elements from the Islamic, Ottoman, and Mamluk Revivalist architectural styles. Able to accommodate 600,000 worshippers at any given time, its capacity may increase to 1 million during a Hajj period. With a minaret height of 105 metres (of which it has a massive total of 10), it used to stand adjacent to the Prophet’s house. Be aware though that, again, as a non-Muslim, you cannot gain entry here.
1. Great Mosque of Mecca:
And finally we have gotten to the holiest place according to Islam in the world: the Great Mosque of Mecca. Harbouring the Holy Kaaba and established around the year 2130 by Abraham and his son Ishmael, it can accommodate 900,000 people anytime and up to 4 million during a Hajj season. Boasting a striking total of 9 minarets reaching 89 metres in height, it currently lies under the influence of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. While there is absolutely no chance for you to visit it if you do not pertain to the Muslim faith, you should know that this one is the most extraordinary Middle-Eastern structure that one can imagine both in terms of architecture and of function. If you are a Muslim, however, you will enjoy every moment of your Hajj as this place is grand and majestic – lifelong memories are guaranteed.
Did you enjoy our list? Which of the aforementioned mosques have you visited and what lasting impressions have they left you with? Did you find them extraordinary in any way and if you did, would you breach their bounds again? Tell us all about your experiences below in the comment section and leave nothing out! As always, see you on our next adventure! Safe travels!