The newly constructed Turkish mosque in Midrand, a suburb of Johannesburg, is steadily becoming a tourist attraction with thousands of visitors flocking to take a closer look at its elegant style typical of the Ottoman Empire. According to the site project manager and engineer, Orhan Celik, , the spectacular mosque, school and shops on the massive project is the brain child of 74 year old, Ali Katircioglu, a prominent Turkish businessman, who came to South Africa four years ago. Orhan said the mosque has already drawn much interest in the Midrand area. “On Sundays we receive about 500 visitors who come to tour our mosque.” He said 10% of their visitors are non-Muslims who have generally been impressed with the structural design of the building. The extraordinary mosque is clearly visible on the Pretoria freeway with its shiny dome and four minarets reaching 55m into the sky visible at least from 5km away.
Inside the mosque one of the most stunning features is the authentic Turkish calligraphy on both the walls and ceiling. Most people VOC spoke to at the site on Sunday said they believe the Midrand mosque could be one of the most beautiful mosques on the continent. The project which consists of a mosque, a school, health center and shops is expected to be officially opened early next year. “We are putting the final touches on the project and we hope by early next year it will be ready for use,” Celik reported. Asked why the proprietor chose to bring this project to South Africa, he explained: “Initially Mr Ali wanted to build this project in the United States, but a good friend of his in the US advised him to bring the project down to South Africa.” Taking this advice, Katircioglu flew to Johannesburg, bought the land and met with former president Nelson Mandela, who requested that he also add a health center in the complex, which he promptly agreed to. According to Clik, Katircioglu built the project with the sole purpose of benefiting humanity.
Nizamiye Mosque – Largest Masjid in Southern Hemisphere
Nizamiye Masjid often called the Nizamiye Mosque, is a mosque situated in the city of Midrand, Johannesburg. It is the biggest mosque of sub-Saharan Africa,occupying 10 hectares of land. On special occasions the mosque is lit up in luminescent green and purple at night. Up to 3 000 people can be accommodated per service in the central men’s prayer area and women’s gallery. There are five wudhu facilities in one of the court yards The mosque complex has a school that is open to the general public but will require that scholars observe Islam. The school will open on 16 January 2012 and is expected to accommodate 850 pupils. Renowned educator Isakh Turan has been appointed the school’s principle.
The mosque complex also has a community center with several halls and a medical clinic that is open to the public. A cemetery, islamic university and shops are under construction at the complex. Building, which began in October 2009 was completed in 2012 by 200 workers. The basic plan of the masjid was adopted from the 16th century Ottoman Selimiye Mosque in Edirne, Turkey which was designed by Mimar Sinan. Nizamiye Masjid was scaled to the Selimiye Mosque by a ratio of 80%. The plans for the mosque were designed in Turkey while a South African architect was used to adapt the design to South African building standards. The Mosque has a main dome that is 31m high and 24m wide, it also has a further 4 half domes and 21 smaller domes. The dome is covered with 48 tons of lead. The dome is hand painted and is a reflection of the custom made carpet below it. There are 4 minarets that are 55m high, they have stairs that go up to three platforms. There are 232 stained glass windows.