Visiting the Turkish Mosque in Johannesburg
A few months ago on a quick visit to Johannesburg , I insisted that I needed to visit the Turkish Nizamye Mosque.For years I have always driven passed it and marvelled at the beauty.But every time was never right. Determined on this visit I made sure I visited.The Turkish Mosque is indeed an architectural beauty and on entering the premises it is hard not to forget that you are in South Africa and not in Turkey.
The Turkish mosque is situated in Midrand and is said to be the biggest Mosque complex in the Southern Hemisphere.It was modelled on a16th century Mosque Complex in Turkey.The construction started in 2007 and was completed in 2012.Plans for the Turkish Mosque was drawn up in Turkey and adapted by South African architects to meet regulations.
Ali Katircioglu ,a wealthy Turkish businessman planned on building Ottoman styled architecture in places around the world where it was absrnt.Initially the plan was for a US based Mosque but after years of battling red tape the project was moved to South Africa.
The Turkish Nizamiye Mosque complex was inspired by the 11th century Nizamiye madrasah ,a higher education institute system used in Bagdad and other parts of the Islamic world.In the complex there is a mosque,school,exhibition hall,cemetery,clinic and a bazaar.
Having visited Istanbul many moons ago and having had several Turkish friends while I lived in London , I am no stranger to the cultural heritage of the Turkish community .On my visit to Istanbul I was totally mesmerised by the Blue Mosque and recall just sitting outside the mosque even though it was freezing to take in this beautiful site.It was here my love of the Turkish culture ,history ,music and food all started.
My Turkish Mosque Experience :
After parking we headed off to the mosque, I was excited and yet something inside me made me rather emotional all at once. I tend to love exploring places of worship when I travel like the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi and the Ganga Taloa in Mauritius, I tend to get goosebumps and literally want to cry don’t ask why but places of worship really get to me.
As I knew I would be visiting the Mosque ,I had come prepared with a head scarf ,a longish cardigan and loosely fitted clothes.I could not stop taking pictures as we got closer.Before entering the Mosque ,we removed our shoes and put them on the shoes racks provided,switched our phones onto silent mode and covered our heads.
On entering the beautiful Mosque was taken by to Istabul.I stood silently and took in my surroundings while I said some prayers for my loved ones.We explored the Mosque and walked upstairs to what would be the Ladies Prayer section.The view was incredible.I noticed a stack of Islamic prayers books on the window sill.I knew not to touch them but instead took a picture.
As we had entered through a side door we exited into a beautifully ornate courtyard with mosaic work that was literally out of this world Turkish and Arabic inscriptions could be seen all around and the doorways were indeed works of art.I walked into the bookshop and found a selection of Islamic and Turkish books,prayer beads and evil eye trinkets.The selection of books of my favourite poet Rumi left me wanting to by every book.
Feeling peckish ,we headed to the Bazaar.I shopped up a storm in supermarket as there were lots of international products.I love Turkish Food and off we headed off to the bakery for some Turkish indulgence ,I felt like a kid in a candy shop.
I did not want to leave the Turkish Mosque but due to other time commitments we had to leave.But will be back next time I will do the guided tour.
Turkish Mosque Facts :
1.Has 4 minarets.
2.can accomodate 6000 people.
3.On special occasions it is lit up in green and purple lights.
4.The marble,carpets,stained glass and ceramics were all brought from Turkey.
5.32 stained glass windows.
6.21 smaller domes.
Nizamiye School :
1.Opened in 2012 and accommodates 850 pupils.
2.Has a boarding facility for 300 boys.
3.Offers Islamic studies and includes the South African Education system.
4.Classes are taught in English,Arabic and Turkish.
5.The school is open to the public but advises scholars observe Islam due to curriculum.
1.Was added to the property on the request of Nelson Mandela.
2.Health care services in 10 fields are offered.
3.It is open to the general public.
4.It does not have overnight facilities.
1.Has 11 shops.
2.Is very much like a mini version of the Grand Bazaar.
3.For the foodies there is a Turkish supermarket with a great range of products including the most divine Turkish Delight pick n mix.
4.A bakery to sample sweet treats and drink some Turkish Apple Tea.
5.A Barber shop is on site.
6.Turkish carpets ,ornaments and bric a brac can be found in the bazaar.
7.A sit down Turkish restaurant to give one a taste of Turkey is based here.
FAQs On the Turkish Mosque
Q1: What is the mission of Nizamiye Complex?
A1: Nizamiye Complex operates in South Africa and serves its people and neighbouring countries. It conducts quality education in Islamic and modern sciences, offers health services and social and cultural activities.
Q2: What is the vision of Nizamiye Complex?
A2: To become a leading institution built on Islamic and universal values and working to foster these values among the individuals and society and supply correct and valuable information about Islam based authentic resources.
Q3: Are non-muslims allowed to visit Nizamiye Complex? When?
A3: Yes, they are. Nizamiye Complex always welcomes visitors regardless any background, race, gender, and religion.It is appreciated if you organise your visit with our Director of public relations before you come. Except on Fridays, suggested times for non- muslim visitors are as mentioned below:
10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
02:00 p.m. to 04:30 p.m.
Q4: What are the etiquette (manners and custom) of Nizamiye Complex?
A4: However every social institution has etiquette, Nizamiye Complex also has etiquette. These are:
- All visitors are kindly requested to remove their shoes when entering the mosque.
- Ladies are suggested to cover their hair using head scarves that are provided in the wardrobe located next to the ladies ablution area. Moreover they are kindly and humbly requested to wear loose and decent attire when they are in the mosque area. Dresses and gowns are their disposal in the same wardrobe to facilitate this.
- Nizamiye Complex is actively used as a place of worship. Kindly do your utmost to observe silence at the premises to accommodate worshipers. Therefore, do refrain from having loud conversations.(telephonic or not)
The Nizamiye complex is at the corner of Old Pretoria Road and Le Roux Avenue in Midrand. For more information or to schedule a tour, contact Ahmet Coban at 079-029-0488 or email@example.com. You can also follow @NizamiyeJoburg on Twitter.
Be Inspired !