Grande Mosquée de Paris: Spreading religious harmony for a long time
The best part about spring in Paris is the weather and flowers. The colourful flowers cover trees all over the city in full bloom. And in this colourful background, the hidden gems of Paris become more attractive. One of the attractive hidden gems of Paris is the Grande Mosquée de Paris. This is commonly known as The Great Mosque of Paris.
Location of Grande Mosquée de Paris
It is located in the 5th arrondissement. It is also one of the largest and oldest mosques in France. The mosque has prayer rooms, a garden, a library along with a cafe. Throughout the years, it plays a role in promoting the visibility of Islam in France.
History of the Mosque
On the year 1856, a French prefectorial decree allowed the Ottoman Embassy to construct a special place for the burial of Muslim people. This place was called Pere Lachaise. The place was about 800 square meters in area. There, the Ottoman Turks built a simple structure and started calling it a Mosque. This is because there was no place to give shelter to funerary services and the prayers for the dead. Thus, this was the first mosque built on Parisian land.
In 1883, the building started dilapidating, so the Turkish government decided to reconstruct it. Moreover, an extension was planned. In the year 1914 a more Islamic design with domes and minarets were proposed.
Finally, the Great Mosque was built adjacent to Jardin des Plantes. The first stone was put in 1922. Then the work was completed by Robert Fournez and Charles Heubes. The plan was given by Maurice Tranchant de Lunel. The mosque was built in a Moorish structure. Apart from that, the height of the minaret is 33 meter.
Then, it was inaugurated on the 16th of July, 1926. French president Gaston Doumergue and Sultan Yusef of Morocco were present on that occasion. The Sufi Sheikh Ahmad al-Alawi prayed for the first time in the newly built mosque.
Architecture of Grande Mosquée de Paris
The Grand Mosque of Paris was inspired by el-Qaraouyyin Mosque of Morocco. And the 33 m the long minaret was inspired by the Al-Zaytuna Mosque in Tunisia.
The large Oak entrance door is stylized with Islamic calligraphy and floral motifs.
The Great Mosque of Paris covers an area of 7,500 square meters, and comprises:
- A prayer room whose decoration is inspired by the history of the Muslim world
- A Madrasa or Seminary
- A library
- A conference room
- Gardens covering an area of 3,500 square meters
- A restaurant, cafe, hammam, and shops
The mosque can accommodate up to 1000 people. It allows access to women and gives confessional rooms. It provides access to physically challenged persons also.
Influence in society
The mosque plays an important role in French societal structure. It promotes the visibility and importance of Muslims. Moreover, it preaches the peaceful religion of Islam. The French Foreign minister assigned the mosque to Algeria in 1957.
The main objective of the Grand Mosque of Paris is maintaining positive public relation campaigns to eliminate common Islamic stereotypes that exist in France, and we must say, it is succeeding.
(Written by freelance journalist Shreya T)