Across the fabric of time, edifices have been built to emulate mankind’s devotion to a super human entity. Works from legendary artists that have dominated history as some of the most beautiful, intriguing, and venerated symbols of humanity’s religious beliefs; Santa Maria del Fiore by Brunelleschi, the Sistine Chapel paintings by Michelangelo and Botticelli, The Jubilee Church by Richard Meier, The Orthodox Church in China and the Anglican Church in Mityana, Uganda.
Seated silent on the Kampala skyline, Gadhafi mosque renamed as Uganda National Mosque with large domes covered in brown mosaic and a minaret rivalling the typical Ugandan ‘sky-scraper’. Gadhafi mosque is a symbol of religious architectural superiority. One of this country’s many tourist destinations and the second largest mosque in Africa, seating about 35,000 believers, Gadhafi mosque is not just size. Seated atop one of Kampala’s hills, Gadhafi mosque offers breath-taking city-wide views, religious artistry, beautiful Islamic embroidery on the inside of the dome and wondrous architectural elements that pay tribute to a great deity.
There is a lot to see, hear, touch, excite for any visitor like it is with any other piece of art. A half ring that arches the main entrance stair hangs in the sky like a mosaic rainbow. While on this ascent to sky, the main entrance peers over the worshiper in a distance hence setting the pace for worship. The plaza that fronts the main entrance is not only a reflection of sky but also a place to reflect as bare feet touch the floor in a sloth that leads you into the main mosque.
Light peers in from many places, but the atmosphere is that of loud reverence. You cannot help but be excited as the carpet fur rubs against your feet, as your eyes wonder at the magnificent domes, the art and the large glass chandeliers they hold. The columns that wear ribbed wood at their feet and become arches as they rise. The interconnection and the distance the eye spans as it wonders about. The stained glass windows that allow light to play about in many colours are all things to marvel about. The main mosque is therefore no usual prayer hall but it bears the grandeur of a roman basilica.
On the west side of the mosque is what makes this building a skyscraper. There stands over 46 meters of minaret, one that overlooks the city. On top of it, you will enjoy a panoramic view of the city, a sure symbol of superiority. This building triumphs at combining different elements or architecture from various parts of the world and still remain a piece of Islamic architecture. The domes, the Moroccan art, the Egyptian chandeliers, the glass stained window and the wooden doors with Zanzibar origin all sit it perfect agreement.
Where others will scream to be heard, the Uganda National Mosques will only regard you in a loud whisper, but it will surely live a mark on your heart as one of Uganda`s most magnificent buildings.
The Uganda National Mosque was commissioned by Idi Amin on whose orders the architect M. A. Karim drew up the plans in barely a month. Construction of the then Old Kampala mosque began in 1972 but came to a halt in 1978 as Amin’s regime came to an end.
The project was re-commissioned in 2004 as a gift from President Muammar Gaddafi, hence the name Gaddafi mosque. It was renamed Uganda National mosque after Muammar Gaddafi passed on.