The 10 most beautiful mosques in the world

La Grande Mosquée

Muslim places of worship are true architectural gems. Discover the 10 most beautiful mosques in the world in this inspirational guide!

Minarets, domes, madrassas, muezzins… These are the words used to describe mosques, the religious edifices that celebrate the Muslim faith. Since the first mosque was founded in Mecca in the 630s, Al-Masjid al-Haram, the world now boasts over 3.85 million of them. Mosques are renowned for showcasing a variety of ancestral crafts: Persian carpets, Moroccan zellige, and Umayyad wood carvings. If you love aesthetics, but also history, then this guide to the world’s most beautiful mosques is for you!

1. Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi

Mosquée Cheikh Zayed, Abu Dhabi

Photo credit: Shutterstock – photo_designer

This modern edifice, named after the first president of the United Arab Emirates, has a firm place at the top of the list of the world’s most beautiful mosques. Firstly, the reflecting pools surrounding the Sheikh Zayed Mosque make its exterior absolutely enchanting. Secondly, the mosque’s golden hues reflect the sun’s rays during the day and the moon’s glow at night.

Finally, the Sheikh Zayed Mosque boasts a gigantic chandelier, as well as the world’s largest hand-woven carpet. It’s a place of material and spiritual wealth that’s a must-see once in a lifetime.

2. Hassan II Mosque, Morocco

Mosquée Hassan II

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Ruslan Kalnitsky

This sumptuous mosque in Casablanca is one of the most beautiful in the world. Its architect, Michel Pinseau, designed the building in the mid-80s during the reign of King Hassan II.

Its minaret reaches skyward, and its 20,000 m2 esplanade near the ocean welcomes several thousand tourists and worshippers every year. Inside, the mosque’s various rooms are adorned with marble, zellige and carved wood. The must-see part of the Hassan II Mosque? The perfectly symmetrical prayer hall, supported by 78 pillars! The prayer hall also has a fully opening roof.

It is also the only mosque in Morocco that can be visited by non-Muslims. Opening times depend on prayer times and are available on the Hassan II Mosque Foundation website.

3. Nasir ol-Molk Mosque, Iran

Mosquée Nasir ol-Molk

Photo credit: Shutterstock – TripDeeDee Photo

Head to Shiraz, in the Iranian province of Fars, to discover one of the world’s most beautiful mosques. Nasir ol-Molk, also known as the Rose Mosque, is a Shiite mosque dating back to 1888. It is most famous for its incredible stained glass windows! Indeed, colorful stained glass windows adorn the mosque, forming a veritable kaleidoscope when the sun’s rays cross the façade. You’ll find yourself in a jumble of rosy colors.

Whether you’re a believer or not, you’ll find this place of worship an intense spiritual force. So sink your bare feet into the Persian rugs, and treat yourself to a meditation session under this luminous palette. And to enjoy the enchanting light, we recommend you visit in the morning.

4. Saint Sophia Mosque, Turkey

Mosquée Sainte-Sophie

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Filip Fuxa

If you’re a history buff, then explore this magnificent Ottoman relic in the ancient city of Constantinople, now Istanbul. Saint Sophia was originally a basilica founded in 548.

Then, when the Ottomans took the city of Constantinople in 1453, the basilica was transformed into a mosque. So, not only its history, but also its incredible Byzantine architecture, domes and immense columns contribute to making this one of the most beautiful mosques in the world. It’s also one of the most visited places of worship in Turkey!

So if you’re planning to explore every last detail of the mosaics, especially those on the Imperial Gate, allow a few hours to spare.

5. The Blue Mosque, Turkey

La Mosquée Bleue

Photo credit: Shutterstock – NORTHERN IMAGERY

Let’s stay in Istanbul, where you can also discover the famous Blue Mosque, also known as Sultanahmet. This popular place of worship, once the starting point of the pilgrimage to Mecca, amazes visitors with its architecture. It boasts six minarets and a multitude of domes. The interior is covered with ceramics and calligraphy of verses from the Koran.

In the evening, when the muezzin calls for prayer, the mosque lights up in front of the faithful who have come to meditate. It’s a beautiful moment of spiritual grace!

6. Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem

Mosquée Al-Aqsa

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Anna Kucherova

This mosque is one of the oldest holy places in our history! It lies to the south of the Temple Mount, and is one of the religious buildings on the Esplanade of the Mosques, alongside the Dome of the Rock and the Wailing Wall for Jewish worship.

Its history dates back to 679, when a caliph orchestrated its construction on the site where the Prophet is said to have ascended to heaven, to begin a nocturnal journey to Mecca. Its architecture is traditional, representative of Islamic buildings, with carved wood from the Umayyad period forming plant motifs.

Through the ages, Al-Aqsa has also encountered many political and geopolitical obstacles… right up to the present day! You can still admire the mosque from the outside, as its interior is reserved for worshippers.

7. Qolsharif Mosque, Russia

Mosquée Qolsharif

Photo credit: Shutterstock – aiko3p

Qolsharif, one of the world’s most beautiful mosques, is located in Kazan, in the Russian republic of Tatarstan. Ivan the Terrible destroyed the edifice in 1552, shortly after the mosque’s construction. It wasn’t until 1996 that Qolsharif was rebuilt within the walls of the Kazan Kremlin.

After its inauguration in 2005, the mosque became a place of worship for the faithful, and a place of visit for non-believers. Its turquoise-blue domes attract visitors from all over the world to capture their beauty. The mosque also serves as a museum tracing the history of Islam.

8. Great Mosque of Xi’an, China

Grande Mosquée de Xi’an

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Cezary Wojtkowski

You’ll be amazed by its style. One of the world’s most beautiful mosques, it bears no resemblance to traditional Islamic aesthetics. On the contrary, Xi’an, located in the city of the same name, combines Muslim worship with traditional Chinese architecture. The Tang Empire orchestrated its construction in 742, but the official form of the mosque dates back to 1392. It was thus one of the starting points of the Silk Road, and above all a symbol of the intermingling of cultures.

Xi’an opens its doors to all visitors, who can explore its entire 12,000 m2.

9. Ubudiah Mosque, Malaysia

Mosquée Ubudiah

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Tuah Roslan

Head for the royal city of Kuala Kangsar to discover Ubudiah, a majestic mosque with golden domes. Ubudiah is inspired by the Indo-Saracenic architectural style, but with a European touch: Italian marble.

It was the Sultan of Perak, who ruled the kingdom at the beginning of the 20th century, who ordered the construction of this religious edifice. After years of illness, he decided to thank his God by creating Ubudiah. And at a total cost of… $24,000! Quite a substantial sum at the time.

Only the faithful will have access to the interior of the mosque. However, its architecture is well worth a visit if you’re in the area.

10. Jama Masjid Mosque, India

Mosquée Jama Masjid

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Mikadun

Known as the Great Mosque of Delhi, Jama Masjid is an important place of worship for the Muslim community in India. The beauty of this building lies above all in its history. Built in 1656, Jama Masjid follows the architectural plan characteristic of theMughal Empire: large courtyard, prayer hall with « bulbous » domes, and a rectangular portal called Pishtâk. The red sandstone covering the facades and the two minarets have survived to tell the story of this imperial past.

It may not be the most glamorous, but Jama Masjid deserves its place among the world’s most beautiful mosques. It is indeed an important historical site, which you can visit during a stay in India.

So, are you impressed by these places of worship? What do you think of the world’s most beautiful mosques? Tell us what you think!