Although the Nizamiye Mosque is huge and impossible to miss when driving north on the M1 highway, it remains one of Joburg’s best kept secrets.
I think most Joburgers know there is a mosque there (since it’s impossible not to see). But I think few know the story behind the mosque, and even fewer know the mosque is open to the public (Muslims and non-Muslims alike) and that there are so many cool things to do there.
I wrote a comprehensive post about the mosque in 2014, so please read that for a full description. But in short: The Nizamiye Mosque is an Ottoman Turkish mosque — modeled after the Selimiye mosque in Edirne, Turkey — and one of the largest mosques (some people say it’s THE largest) in the Southern Hemisphere. All the mosque’s building materials were shipped from Turkey; the carpets and tiles were handmade by Turkish artisans. The mosque’s ceilings were all hand-painted, again by Turkish artists. The mosque complex includes a school, a health clinic, a Turkish restaurant and bakery, and several shops. This place blows my mind every time I go.
I hadn’t visited the mosque for several years. So when my friends Faarooq and Gail invited me to join them on a mission there last week, I happily accepted. The three of us had the place to ourselves, took tons of photos, and enjoyed a leisurely Turkish lunch at the restaurant.
The best part of our visit: Faarooq decided to ask at the PR office if we could climb to the top of the mosque. To my surprise, they said yes! A staff member led us up a steep stairway to a balcony just below the dome. We were able to take pictures from the balcony and also outside on the roof.
The Nizamiye Complex is at the corner of Old Pretoria Road and Le Roux Avenue, Midrand. Call 079-029-0488 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for information.