Travel

The main Muslim sanctuary of France – the Great Mosque of Paris

Paris, as well as the present France, is a cosmopolitan city where representatives of many confessions live. Therefore, if you come here to visit the temples of Paris, be sure that the city has not only the old Catholic churches, but also synagogues, Orthodox churches, mosques and others.

One of the brightest representatives of Islamic religious architecture in the country is the Great Mosque of Paris (Grande Mosquee de Paris), located in the famous Latin Quarter near the Garden of Plants. This is not the central part of Paris, but the distance from the mosque to the Louvre is just two and a half kilometers.

The Great Mosque of Paris is the largest in France and covers an area of one hectare. The unveiling of the mosque took place in 1926, despite the fact that its first draft (considered unsuccessful) had dated to 1895. The final decision on the construction of the temple was taken by the authorities of Paris after the First World War in memory of 100 thousands of Muslims who fought for France and died on the battlefields.

The project was fully financed by the state, and the territory that once belonged to Mercy Hospital had been chosen as the place for the construction of mosque. The works was started in 1922, and three years later the French President Gaston Doumergue and the Moroccan Sultan Moulay Yusuf had opened the mosque. At the heart of the medieval mosque are the Spanish-Moorish architectural traditions, and apparently it has a great resemblance to one of the oldest mosques in the world Al-Karauin in the Moroccan town of Fez. In the building works many masters from the North African countries participated, some materials were also brought from those places. The height of the mosque’s minaret is thirty-three meters, a big patio looks very beautiful.

During the Second World War Islamic active members of the Resistance hold their meetings in the mosque regularly, Jewish families had being hidden here from the persecution of the German occupation forces.

Nowadays, the Great Mosque of Paris remains to be active. It is open for tourists, excepting some sacred rooms of the temple.

If you have a desire to visit this place, you can easily get to the mosque by metro. Nearest stations are Place Monge and Censier-Daubenton.