The Islamic Cultural Center and Masjid of Rome
The Islamic Cultural Center and Masjid of Rome is one of the largest mosques in Europe and can accommodate 12,000 people which is important since many Muslims have relocated to Rome over the past few decades. It's the only mosque in the very Catholic Rome, and it is quite exquisite. In addition to being a place of worship, it is also a location that offers cultural and social activities such as wedding ceremonies, funeral services, conventions and other events. Plus, this mosque and Islamic Cultural Center has become a place that connects Shia and Sunni Muslims. It is a very important and prominent structure for Muslims throughout Europe.
The mosque and cultural center is situated in a park-like setting at the base of the well-to-do Parioli district, very close to a multitude of sports complexes along Acqua Acetosa, which, when translated, means "very good water."
To get to the Mosque of Rome from the center of the city, take the train just outside Piazza del Popolo (Metro A from Termini to Flaminio/Popolo) to the Campo Sportivi stop and head back towards the city, towards the minaret, which you can see from that spot. Via Rome Hotels you can find hotel rooms near the Mosque of Rome.
The Mosque was established by the then exiled Prince Muhammad Hasan of Afghanistan and his wife, Princess Razia Begum,. It was financed by Faisal of Saudi Arabia and designed by Paolo Portoghesi, Vittorio Gigliotti and Sami Mousawi. The construction of the Mosque took more than a decade to complete and more than 20 years, from the time the land was acquired. In fact, the land was donated by the Roman City Council in 1974 but no construction began until 1984. It was first opened on June 21, 1995.
Since its opening, the Mosque has been at the center of much news coverage, appearing in a great number of international publications. In one particular article about the Mosque, James Steele wrote that Italian architect Portoghesi felt there was no better symbol than the tree with which to express the diversity inherent in the unity of Islam, which is why he implemented the palm tree-like columns into the Mosque's design. "The roots, trunk, branches and leaves of the tree, like the various countries in which Islam prevails, are all different, and yet work together as a complete organism." The Mosque is a wonderful combination of Roman and traditional Islamic elements, conveying the heart of Islam in a beautiful way.