As my travel in Pakistan has been full of surprises, I had to discover in a evening one of the most beautiful sacred places in the world: Faisal Mosque.
As the Faisal Mosque is located on an elevated area of land against a picturesque backdrop of the Margalla Hills, this enviable location represents the mosque’s great importance and allows it to be seen from miles around day and night.
The mosque’s architecture is strikingly modern and unique, lacking both the traditional domes and arches of most other mosques around the world.
The shape of the Faisal Mosque is an eight-sided concrete shell inspired by a desert Beduoin’s tent and the cubic Ka’ba in Mecca, flanked by four unusual minarets inspired by Turkish architecture. The architect later explained his thinking to design school students.
The interior of the main tent-shaped hall is covered in white marble and decorated with mosaics, calligraphy by the Pakistani artist Sadeqain, and a spectacular Turkish-style chandelier.
The prayer hall can accommodate 10,000 worshippers. (There is room for an additional 24,000 in the porticoes and 40,000 in the courtyard.)
The mausoleum of General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, whose 1988 funeral at the site was the largest in the history of Pakistan, is located adjacent to the mosque.