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.

The Turkish mosque in Midrand
The Nizamiye Masjid (mosque) in Midrand.

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.

Outside the Nizamiye Mosque
I’ve taken hundreds of pictures at this mosque over the years. It never gets old.
Inside the Turkish Mosque
Faarooq inside the mosque. Note you must dress modestly, take off your shoes (which is very pleasant because the carpet is so thick and soft underfoot), and women must cover their hair inside the mosque.
Looking up at the mosque ceiling
Looking up at the ceiling.
View of the mosque ceiling
Another look up.
Closeup of hand-painted Turkish tile
Close-up of the tiles.
Turkish lunch at the mosque
Pide (Turkish pizza), delicious lemonade, and a few other Turkish bites at the Nyzamiye 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.

View from the top of the Nizamiye Mosque
Looking down on the mosque.
Looking up at the mosque dome
Looking up at the dome.
Faarooq in the balcony
Gail opted not to join us on the balcony — we had to climb through a window to get there. Faarooq bravely came out onto the balcony but vertigo prevented him from looking over the balustrade. Fortunately I have no problem with heights.
View of Midrand from the top of the mosque
Looking out over the mosque’s roof and the suburban sprawl of Midrand in the distance. It’s great to see all those solar panels on the roof — I imagine the panels are very productive as it was hot as all heck up there.
Mosque minaret
Mosque minaret.

The Nizamiye Complex is at the corner of Old Pretoria Road and Le Roux Avenue, Midrand. Call 079-029-0488 or email info@nizamiyecomplex.co.za for information.

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