Although it is allegedly based off the shape of a Bedouin tent, the Faisal Mosque looks more like an interstellar space port. Employing modern architecture, higher-level geometry and a reference to the holiest site in Mecca, the Faisal Mosque is a unique confluence of Islamic inspiration across generations.
Construction began on the mosque in 1976, after the late King Faisal bin Abdul-Aziz put up $120 million of his Saudi fortune to have it built in Islamabad. Although it is the 4th largest mosque on earth and covers a whopping 54,000 square feet, the mosque’s design is truly the most intriguing.
When first conceived, the mosque was met with great animosity from the traditional community. Without a typical dome, the mosque instead is shaped like a Bedouin tent, surrounded by four gigantic minarets. Stabbing 260 feet into the air, the minarets were designed in a perfect one-to-one ratio with the base, to create an invisible cube that alludes to the Kabaa.
All totaled, the mosque and its courtyard can hold nearly 300,000 worshippers. Situated against the majestic Margalla Hills and dominating the landscape of Pakistan’s capital, the Faisal Mosque is a sight that cannot be missed on a visit to Pakistan.