SACRED SANCTUARIES: MOSQUES
Conceived in a variety of architectural styles, mosques are spread across the world and have a hundreds of years long history. Cami (Mosque is Turkish) has Arabic roots. It comes from the word “cem” which translates to “to congregate,” and means a place of congregation.
Mescid (masjid), which is a smaller place of worship with an imam and müezzin, comes from the word secd(e) and also means a place of congregation.
Dating back to Andalusia, the Word “mezquita” comes from the Word Mescid. That’s why in English, the Word
“cami” is translated as “mosque”.
As in many places of worship, there are areas for common use in mosques as well. Each of these areas have a different purpose. Mosques are entered through the main door, which is confronted by kiblah and the altar (mihrab). The altar is the place where imams stand. The pulpit (minber) is located right next to it, and it is the place where imams use for his sermon.
Minarets are the places where imams use for the call to prayer. There are numerous balconies on minarets. Muezzin uses those for the call to prayer. Those balconies are called şerefe.
The spacious area right in front of the main entrance of the mosque is called avlu (yard).
Right in the middle of the yard is a şadırvan (water tank with a fountain) which allows access to clean water and takunya (clogs). In gasilhane (where the body of the deceased is washed) there are the bench where the body is washed, cleaning equipments, coffin, and green covers which are used for coffins. The conffin rest is where the coffin is put when the imam leads the funeral prayer.
World’s largest mosque is located in Islamabad, Pakistan. Also one of the most popular mosques in the world, Faisal Mosque spreads across 5000 quare meters of land and has a capacity of 74.000 people. A design contest was held for the mosque in 1969 and among 17 projects from 43 countries, Vedat Dalokay’s design was chosen. The construction of the mosque was completed in 1986 and cost a whopping cost of 120 million dollars.