Shah Faisal Mosque – Pakistan’ largest mosque and one of the greatest mosques situated in the South Asia. It is a well renowned building amongst its peers due to its unique architecture and design. Located in the capital city of Pakistan, Islamabad, Shah Faisal mosque stands proudly against the backdrop of Margalla hills giving a breathtaking view. The construction of the mosque was commissioned by King Shah Faisal Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia upon his visit to Pakistan.
For the final design, an international competition was initiated by the government in which up to forty entries were made. On the fourth day, out of those Turkey won the contract for the designing and in 1976 the construction of the mosque was started in full swing through complete financial assistance from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. After a decade, in 1986 it was completed and opened its doors for the faithful. On the vicinity of the mosque, International Islamic University was also built.
Shah Faisal Mosque is spread over an area of five thousand (5000) square meters and if we include the area on the outside, then it can easily house up to eighty thousand (80,000) followers during prayer times on its grounds. Unlike several other mosques, this one has a very modern look for itself as it is not built along the conventional style. If we look at it from the front, we will notice that it resembles a huge Bedouin Tent with four minarets placed on the sides of it, showcasing strong Arabian influence. Even the minarets showcase immense Turkish influence to their slenderness. These minarets go up to an impressive height of 90 meters. Its façade is covered with white marble hence provides a mesmerizing view at night standing in front of the dark Margalla Hills.
If we walk into the mosque, then we will see a majestic Chandelier gracing the ceiling adding grandeur to the interior of the building. On the walls of the mosque, intricate calligraphy has been embossed showcasing different Quran verses. Upon a closer look, you will see several influences existing within the mosque creating a very balanced blend of Persia, India, Arab and Turkey.
Considering the sheer size of the mosque, it is easy to conclude that a lot of finances went into its construction that sums up to about US $120 million. It is considered to be one of most visited tourist spots in Islamabad and is viewed from several different points in the city such as Monal, Daman e Koh, Blue Area and so on. Shah Faisal Mosque has also been chosen as one of the landmarks of Pakistan to appear on the banknote of Rs. 5000, the largest banknote to be issued by the State Bank considering the amount.