Mosque of Rome
|Mosque of Rome|
Outside view taken in 2006.
|Leadership||Chief Imam & Khateeb:
Muhammad Hassan Abdulghaffar
|Architect(s)||Paolo Portoghesi, Vittorio Gigliotti, Sami Mousawi and Nino Tozzo|
|Architectural style||Islamic architecture|
|Construction cost||€40 million|
|Minaret height||43 m|
The Mosque of Rome (Italian: Moschea di Roma), situated in Parioli, is the largest mosque outside the Islamic world, Russia and India. It has an area of 30,000 m2 (320,000 sq ft) and can accommodate more than 12,000 people. The building is located in the Acqua Acetosa area, at the foot of the Monti Parioli, north of the city. Being the Western world's biggest mosque, it is the seat of the Italian Islamic Cultural Centre (Italian: Centro Culturale Islamico d'Italia).
In addition to being a meeting place for religious activities, it provides cultural and social services variously connecting Muslims together. It also holds teachings, wedding ceremonies, funeral services, exegesis, exhibitions, conventions, and other essential events.
The mosque was jointly founded by the exiled Prince Muhammad Hasan of Afghanistan and his wife, Princess Razia and was financed by Faisal of Saudi Arabia, head of the Saudi royal family, as well as Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. The project was designed and directed by Paolo Portoghesi, Vittorio Gigliotti and Sami Mousawi.
Its planning took more than ten years: the Roman City Council donated the land in 1974, but the first stone was laid only in 1984, in the presence of then President of the Italian Republic Sandro Pertini, with its inauguration on 21 June 1995.
There was some opposition to the building of a mosque but much of this dissipated when Pope John Paul II gave his blessing for the project. One issue that had to be agreed was the height of the minaret and its effect on the Rome skyline. In the end the issue was resolved by shortening slightly the height of the minaret to be below that of the dome of St Peter’s by approximately one meter.
The structure is intended to be integrated into the surrounding green area, with a mix of modern structural design and omnipresent curves. Lights and shades are blended in order to create a meditative climate, and the choice of materials, like travertino and cotto, evoke traditional Roman architectural styles. The interior decor is mainly made of glazed tiles with light colors, with the recurrent Qur'anic theme "God is Light".
The interiors are decorated with simple yet beautiful mosaics creating more optical effects and the floor is covered by an extremely soft Persian carpet with geometrical patterns as well. The main prayer area can accommodate up to 2,500 worshipers. Above this are galleries that are reserved for female worshipers. The main prayer hall it topped by a large central dome over 20 metres in diameter, which is surrounded by 16 smaller domes. The complex also includes an educational area with classroom and a library, a conference centre with a large auditorium, and an area where exhibitions are held.
The outcome is a fascinating architecture made of repetitious designs and amazing geometric patterns, where an important role is played by the light aimed to create a meditative atmosphere and various tricks of light as well.
The mosque contains several palm-shaped columns, which represent the connection between Allah and the single devotee.
The current Imam of the mosque is the Egyptian Muhammad Hassan Abdulghaffar; Abd Allah Ridwan is in charge of the Cultural Centre, to which the management of the complex is entrusted. Former Imams include:
- 1983–1993: Muhammad Nur al-Din Isma'il
- 1993–2006: Mahmud Hammad Shwayta
- Stefan Grundmann (1996). The Architecture of Rome. Edition Axel Menges. p. 384. ISBN 978-3930698608.
- Maggi, Marco Casamonti ; Alessandra Coppa ; photography of Moreno (2002). The Mosque of Rome: Paolo Portoghesi. Milan: F. Motta. ISBN 88-7179-375-7.
- Buyers, Christopher (August 2009). "The Barakzai Dynasty - Nasser-Zia, Rahmani, Ziai, Ziyai - Genealogy". Royal Ark website. Christopher Buyers. Retrieved 2010-07-09.
- Coppa Alessandra, La moschea di Roma di Paolo Portoghesi, Federico Motta Editore, 2003. ISBN 88-7179-375-7