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Sacred Places: Great Mosques

In this Globe Trekker special on the world’s most  sacred places, we visit some of the  planet’s most spectacular and grandest mosques. Islam, founded in the 7th Century in what is  now Saudi Arabia by the Prophet Muhammad, spread rapidly throughout the Middle  East and into Europe, Africa and Asia.

As the religion took hold, beautiful and dramatic mosques were built by powerful Islamic dynasties and caliphates and some of these fantastic buildings can still be visited today.

Hariri Mosque

The Umayyad Caliphate in Damascus was the first great Moslem Empire and its mosque in the capital, Great Mosque of Damascus, in what is now Syria was a popular staging point in ancient times for pilgrims making The Haj, or pilgrimage, to Mecca.

The Ottoman Empire, particularly under its most famous Sultan, Suleiman the Magnificent, constructed, many fabulous mosques, including the Süleymaniye Mosque, where Suleiman is buried, which is still Istanbul’s largest mosque today.

Many of the Ottoman mosques were built by Sinan, the great Ottoman architect of the age and who was regarded as the Moslem world’s Michaelangelo.

The Safavid dynasty in Persia and the Mughals, who ruled Pakistan and India, also built magnificent mosques which we visit in Isfahan, Lahore and Delhi.

In the 21st Century, Islam is the world’s fastest growing religion. We also explore giant new mosques in Oman, Morocco and Indonesia.


Places Mentioned - Arab Gulf States, Micronesia

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