Most Beautiful Mosques in North Africa

old mosque

Koutoubia Mosque ©mattk1979/Flickr

North Africa is known for its souks, hammam spas, ancient ruins and desert towns. But it is also the place where some of the remarkable works of architecture can be found. And here I am not only talking about the pyramids in Egypt, but also about some of the oldest and most beautiful mosques in the world.

Countries like Morocco, Egypt and Algeria host remarkable works of Moorish and Islamic architecture, together with important historic sites. Here you can find mosques that are 1000 years old, as well as important pilgrimage and academic centers. Take a closer look at these fabulous mosques:

The Great Mosque – Kairouan, Tunisia

This mosque in Tunisia is considered to be Africa’s oldest. Also known as Mosque of Uqba, the religious edifice was built in the 9th century, on the grounds of an even older mosque.  Due to its original architecture, impressive size and remarkable state of preservation, the Great Mosque of Kairouan was given the UNESCO World Heritage Site status.

mosque entrance

Great Mosque of Kairouan ©weetoon66/Flickr

Koutoubia Mosque – Marrakesh, Morocco

The beautifully ornamented minaret of Koutoubia Mosque dominates the old center of Marrakesh, one of Morocco’s old royal cities and a popular tourist destination. This mosque was built in the 13th century and it is still in use today. The 77 meter high minaret made of red sand stone is one of the most outstanding features of the construction. Inside, the mosque hosts a richly ornamented minbar (the Islamic correspondent of the Christian pulpit), an unrivaled piece of Medieval art.

old mosque

Koutoubia Mosque ©mattk1979/Flickr

Aqsunqur Mosque – Cairo, Egypt

This old mosque in Egypt is particularly known for its blue tile decorations, which is why it is also known as the Blue Mosque. It is said that these blue tiles with flowery decorations were imported from as far as Syria. The mosque also serves not only as a place of worship but also as a mausoleum – it is where several emirs (including its founder, Shams ad-Din Aqsunqur) and sultans rest.

Al-Azhar Mosque – Cairo, Egypt

Also in Egypt is Al-Azhar Mosque, a famous pilgrimage site and one of the most beautiful mosques in North Africa. This Eyptian mosque is over 10 centuries old and has witnessed numerous events during its long history, which are reflected by the mosque’s eclectic architectural style. Remarkable about this mosque are its elegant minarets and marble-paved interior courtyard, but, most importantly, its role in Islamic culture. Closely related to the mosque is Al-Azhar University, an academic institution that has spread and enriched Islamic culture for 1000 years.

Egypt mosque

Al-Ahzar Mosque ©amerune/Flickr

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