Old mosque in the Maldives

Old Friday Mosque – The Oldest Mosque in the Maldives

This post was last updated on February 1st, 2020 at 02:46 pm


The Old Friday Mosque is the oldest mosque in the Maldives and dates from 1656. It is an impressive building made of coral stone in which detailed decorations and the script of the Koran are carved.

 

To view the mosque from the inside, you must request official permission from the Ministry of Islamic Affairs. But as with more things in the Maldives, this is not checked very strictly. Most staff members at the Old Friday Mosque represent the Ministry of Islamic Affairs and if you are well dressed you will be able to enter.

 

Old Friday Mosque

The Old Friday Mosque is a beautiful building, both inside and out. The interior is beautiful and famous for the fine lacquer work and detailed carvings. A carved statue from the 13th century represents the introduction of Islam to the Maldives centuries ago.

 

What is special is that the mosque was built on the spot where another temple once stood. That temple was built towards the sunset and not to the northwest towards Mecca. Because of this, the Muslims must face towards a corner of the mosque to pray in the right direction.

 

Sideview of old mosque in the Maldives
View from the other side of the mosque

 

There is also a round, blue and white tower of the munnaaru on the complex. This does not look that old but dates from 1675. Next to the mosque is a graveyard with many decorated tombstones. Tombstones with pointed tops belong to the men; the rounded tops belong to the women.

 

Tombstones with golden letters on them belong to former sultans. The small buildings in the area are family graves. There are descriptions on the walls of these graves. If you are dressed properly, you can enter the cemetery without permission.

 

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