THE MOST BEAUTIFUL MOSQUES IN THE WORLD - PART 2.
Hassan II mosque, Morocco
The Grande Mosquee Hassan II proudly supports the world's tallest minaret, at 210 metres. The world's third largest mosque, it is the only such building in Morocco that nonMuslims can enter. It stands proud on the seafront in Casablanca, and the seabed is visible through the glass floor in the hall.
Ibn Tulun Mosque, Egypt
Slightly more lowkey but no less beautiful is the Mosque of Ibn Tulun in the Egyptian capital. It was commissioned during the Abbasid era, and although it is believed to be Cairo's oldest mosque, it has undergone several restorations. It featured in the James Bond film, The Spy Who Loved Me.
Al Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem
The third holiest place in Islam is inside the alHaram alSharif, or the Noble Sanctuary, in the Unescolisted Old City of Jerusalem. The AlAqsa mosque -- destroyed by earthquakes and rebuilt several times throughout history -- was used as a palace by the medieval Crusaders, but subsequent Islamic caliphates carried out repairs and restored it as a place of worship.
Jerusalem's Old City is currently under Israeli control, and worship at the Noble Sanctuary is limited to Muslims only, but tension between Palestinians and Israelis mean that restrictions are sometimes imposed on Palestinian access to the site for security reasons.
Al Haram Mosque, Saudi Arabia
The Sacred Mosque, or Great Mosque of Mecca, can accommodate up to four million people, and surrounds the Ka'aba -- a cuboid building that is the holiest place in Islam. It covers 400,800 square metres (99 acres), and has outdoor and indoor praying spaces. The mosque is also home to the Black Stone, set into the Ka'aba's wall by Muhammad before his first revelation, and the MaqEum Ibrahim (Abraham's place of standing). NonMuslims are not permitted to enter Mecca.
AlMasjid anNabawi -- Medina, Saudi Arabia
Built by the Prophet Muhammad circa 622, this is the second holiest site in Islam after the AlHaram Mosque in Mecca. It now houses the tomb of the Prophet Muhammad, inside the Green Dome. It has 10 minarets -- the tallest of which is 105 metres tall -- and a capacity of 600,000, increasing to one million during the annual Hajj period. NonMuslims are not permitted to enter some parts of the Medina.
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