Shapes, lights and patterns of Rome’s grand mosque
Designed by Italian architect Paolo Portoghesi with the collaboration of Iraqi architect Sami Mousawi and Italian engineer Gigliotti, Rome’s grand mosque is reportedly one of the largest (if not the largest) in Europe. Mutual talks about the project started in the early 1970s between Italy and Saudi Arabia, with Rome’s Council chipping in with a donation of a 30,000-square-meter land near the Tiber river and Villa Ada, one of the city’s most beautiful parks.
Construction works kicked off in 1984 and in 1995 the Islamic Center officially started its activities.
The main geometric patterns used by the architects are squares and circles, with the first symbolizing the earth and mankind, and the latter standing for the sky and the divine. The constant interplay of these two motifs represent the eternal struggle of men to reach the transcendent.
The mosque’s seventeen domes are made by 7 concentric circles representing the 7 heavens mentioned in the Quran, and the 16 smaller domes around the biggest one in the middle suggest the sky’s cosmic image. From different angles, shapes of windows and positions, the lights create a mystic effect. Below are some of the pictures I took at the mosque during the recent photography course I’ve done in Rome, enjoy the tour!