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Djemaa el-Kebir


25 May 2019

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Djemaa el-Kebir

This is Algiers’s grand mosque and was constructed above the inner port where Berbers and Phoenicians had built a place of prayer in ancient times. With the invasion of the Romans, the place was converted into a temple and later became a Christian basilica. But in the 11th century, the basilica was demolished and replaced with the mosque which has since been modified and enlarged many times.

The mosque has a five-door prayer hall that is supported by 72 rows of columns. It also contains a cedar wood minbar which has an inscription stating that the mihrab the niche indicating the direction of Mecca, was built in 490 AH (AD 1097).

This inscription strengthens the notion that the mosque was built by Youssef Ben Tachfine, the Almoravid ruler of Tlemcen, during a period when the first Crusade was transforming the Mediterranean. On the Minaret, a 15m high column an inscription is written that urges visitors to contemplate its beauty and its magnificent crowns. After prayer time, non-Muslims can freely visit this mosque, however, it is advised to take a local guide with you.