After seven years of construction and over $1 billion in expenses, the Great Mosque of Algiers, or Djamaa El Djazair, sits on an area of 400,000 square meters and has a 265 meter minaret that houses observation decks. The compound’s domed sanctuary and outside courtyard overlooking the Bay of Algiers can house up to 120,000 worshippers and has an underground parking space with a capacity of 7,000 cars. The mosque’s complex includes a Koranic school, a library, a restaurant, an amphitheater, along with a research center dedicated to the history of Algeria. The Algiers mosque also takes the lead as having Africa’s tallest minaret, relegating the 670-feet tower of the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, Morocco to a second place. By building this large religious center, some observers have noted that it’s a way to supplant extremist ideologies and co-opt clerics who might foment anti-government opposition. Others have also seen it as a symbol of the North African state’s turn towards Islamification and religious intolerance. The Algiers mosque constitutes a new feat for the China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC), a huge multinational that is involved in building heavy industry and infrastructure in Africa and across the world. The company won the bid for the project of the Great Mosque in 2011, considered at the time among the largest of its overseas projects.
SOURCES: QUARTZ AFRICA