As the spiritual home and birthplace of Islam, Saudi Arabia is an unmissable destination for Muslims around the world. Over 90% of the population are Muslim, and that number is growing with younger generations.
Saudi Arabia has recently reopened for tourists. Whether you’re travelling to perform Umrah or Hajj, or you simply want to experience this fascinating country, it’s now easier than ever.
The government recently announced relaxed restrictions, and many foreign visitors are now able to apply for a Saudi Arabia online visa, which also covers pilgrimage visits.
Unsurprisingly, Saudi Arabia is home to some of the world’s most beautiful Islamic institutions. No trip is complete without ticking off the most beautiful mosques in this magical country.
Also read: 10 Unique Experiences For You to Try in Saudi Arabia
1. The Unmissable Mecca
Mecca is the birthplace of the prophet Muhammed, making it the holiest site in Islam. The ‘Great Mosque of Mecca” is one of the two holy mosques in Saudi Arabia.
Not only does the mosque hold great cultural significance, but it’s also an incredible sight to see. The structure’s size is breathtaking, and it can hold over 1 million worshippers at one time, making it the largest mosque in the world!
The architecture of Masjid al-Haram is impressive and full of rich history. Originally constructed in 638, the structure has gone through centuries of development and modernisation, creating a fascinating mix of ancient and modern design.
HZ Tip: It is worth noting that as this is one of the holy mosques, only Muslims are allowed to go inside. Non-Muslim visitors are not allowed to enter the city of Mecca.
2. The Grand Mosque in Riyadh
The Al Rajhi Grand Mosque is the largest in Riyadh, and one of the city’s most famous and important Islamic institutions.
Only Muslims are allowed to go inside, but it’s worth a visit just to see the building itself. It is considered to be an architectural marvel, with its vast sand-coloured structure that follows a classic design.
The grand mosque includes a men’s hall that can hold 18,000 worshippers and a women’s hall with a capacity of 2,500. It even has 2 libraries and an educational centre.
HZ Tip: Try to pass by the mosque at night — well-placed lighting makes it look majestic in the darkness.
3. A Unique Sight in Ha’il
Not to be confused with the mosque of the same name in Riyadh, the Al Rajhi Mosque in Ha’il is the city’s most visited landmark.
Opened in 2010, the mosque is a relatively new building. The structure is striking, with a cream-coloured base that’s topped with deep red domes. Accentuating the mosque are 4 towering minarets that reach 80-metres-high.
The inside is just as spectacular, boasting one of the largest chandeliers in the world!
HZ Tip: If you’re flying over Ha’il at night, try to keep an eye out for a spectacular aerial view of the lit-up mosque.
4. Captivating Views in Jeddah
You can’t miss a visit to the Al-Rahmah Mosque in Jeddah. Also known as ‘the Floating Mosque, it was the first mosque in the world to be built over water, and it is an incredible sight to see.
Built upon concrete stilts, the striking white marble structure is majestically perched on the Red Sea. Visiting the mosque at any time of day is impressive, but if you catch it at sunrise or sunset, the views are even more breathtaking.
The beauty doesn’t stop there — if you head inside, you’ll be greeted by an enormous turquoise dome, 56 brightly-coloured windows, and an intricate chandelier.
HZ Tip: Outside of prayer times, the Floating Mosque is also open to non-Muslim visitors.
5. A Modern Take on Mosques
The Al Rajhi Grand Mosque isn’t the only one to see in Riyadh. If you’re looking for a truly unique architectural experience, then the KAFD Grand Mosque is sure to impress you.
Saudi Arabia is seeing more modern-looking mosques, and this is a great example of this. Nestled in the King Abdullah Financial District, the building is a hidden gem amongst the towering skyscrapers of the area.
The structure’s geometry is inspired by the desert rose, and its intersecting diamond pattern seems as though it has burst from the ground, like the holy flower.
HZ Tip: This is another mosque that’s just as impressive at night. Catch the unique patterns with their strategically-placed lights once the sun has gone down.
Also read: 13 Best Mosques Around The World
Featured image credit: 12019