Turkey

Turkey's largest mosque attracted 12M people in 2 years

63,000 person-capacity Grand Camlica Mosque symbol of Istanbul city with its Ottoman-Seljuk architectural style

Mücahit Türetken   | 03.05.2021
Turkey's largest mosque attracted 12M people in 2 years

ISTANBUL 

A total of 12 million people visited Turkey’s largest mosque since its inauguration two years ago.

The 63,000-capacity Grand Camlica Mosque, the foundation of which was laid in 2013 on Camlica Hill on the Asian side of Istanbul, has become one of the symbols of the city with its Ottoman-Seljuk architectural style.

Four of the six minarets stand 107.1 meters (352 feet) tall, an acknowledgment of the Seljuk Turks' victory in eastern Manzikert, now Malazgirt, in 1071 against the Byzantine army which opened Anatolia to Turkish settlement.

Its 72-meter (236-foot) high central dome represents 72 nations living in Turkey, while its diameter of 34 meters (112 feet) symbolizes Istanbul’s official license number.

A three-piece finial sits on the main dome, weighing 4.5 tons at a height of 7.77 meters (25 feet). It is the largest of its kind in the world. The 3.12-meter (over 10-foot) wide finial is colored with nanotechnology.

Its 5-meter (16-foot) wide, 6.5-meter (21-foot) high, and 6-ton heavy main gate is one of the largest ones around the world.

There are eight art workshops, an art gallery of 3,500 square meters (37,670 square feet), a library of 3,000 sq. mt. (32,290 sq. ft.), a 1,071-capacity conference hall, and an indoor parking lot for 3,500 vehicles within the mosque’s complex.

5-6,000 worshippers on Fridays

Ergin Kulunk, head of the Istanbul Mosque and Culture Service Units Construction and Sustenance Association, told Anadolu Agency that the project was first announced by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during an opening ceremony in 2012.

He said the mosque met worshippers on March 7, 2019, and it was officially opened with invitees in the same year on May 3.

“We had said that the Grand Camlica Mosque would become one of the new symbols of Istanbul and we saw it happen during the process,” Kulunk said.

Highlighting that the mosque drew great attention from both domestic and foreign tourists with its opening, he said it is among the tourism destinations now.

He said in the first year after the opening, around 10 million people visited the mosque and the number reached 12 million to date despite the pandemic.

“The mosque is the largest in Turkey in terms of capacity,” Kulunk said, adding that 25,000 people can pray indoors at the same time, while its total capacity is 63,000 people including outdoor areas.

Kulunk said around 5-6,000 people pray at the mosque every Friday in compliance with social distancing rules, and added: “Some 8-10,000 people will be able to perform Friday prayers here when we start using the courtyard as the weather gets warmer.”

He said apart from its already-serving facilities such as the library, the complex will also boast a museum soon that combines “traditional and modern logic of Turkey”.

*Writing by Sena Guler

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