This mosque was created in 1794 and completed in 1821 by Molla Bey, an Ottoman-Albanian religious leader who helped transform Tirana into a developed commercial and religious centre. The mosque is most noted for the intricacy of its architecture as well as its unique interior frescoes which feature still-life paintings of nature, something not commonly found in other Islamic sites.
Today, Islam is the most practised religion in Albania with roughly 60% of the population adhering to it. The first Albanians began to convert to Islam between the 15th and 18th centuries during its rule by the Ottoman empire. During this era, many Albanians went on to greatly contribute both politically and culturally to the greater Muslim world. This legacy can be seen in the cultural landscape of Albania today, which has a number of historic mosques and Islamic places of learning, as well as a number of centres of other Islamic sects such as Sufism. Below, we've put together some of the most notable Islamic religious heritage sites of Albania.
The mosque was built in 1537 by the famous Ottoman Turkish architect Mimar Sinan during the reign of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. It is famous for its intricate brickwork which features alternating layers of different coloured bricks as well as contrasting brick types between the prayer hall and minaret.
This mosque was built in 1757 and is currently considered a cultural monument. Also known as Memi Bey Mosque, it is located in the old bazaar of Gjirokastër, a historic city with several important Islamic sites. It is the only one out of the city's thirteen mosques to have survived the demolition by the Communist regime.
Also known as Sultan Bayezid Mosque, it was founded by the Sultan for which it is named in 1485. It is most famous for being one of the oldest active mosques in Albania. It is today considered a cultural monument of Albania.
One of the main mosques in the city of Berat, it is part of the Islamic Center complex and was built by Sultan Bayezid II in the late 15th century. It consists of the prayer hall, the porch and the minaret. In the prayer hall, the massively painted ceiling, the mihrab on the end wall and the pulpit on the right side form a decorative structure. In the centre of the ceiling are rosettes with inscriptions of various Qur'anic sayings. A frieze below the ceiling contains 99 names of Allah.
The Naziresha mosque in Elbasan is a cultural monument of Albania. It was built in 1599 by the daughter of the local minister (Nazir) at the time. Its roof was of the traditional Albanian style dome of which several other mosques took inspiration, but it was destroyed in an earthquake in 1920 and replaced with its current metal roof in 2012.
The mosque in the Xhemahallë complex, called the King's Mosque, is one of the first mosques of this style built in Albania. The complex dates back to 1682 and includes a complex hydraulic network that supplied water to the Hamam, madrasa and mosque.
Founded together with the city Korçë itself, the mosque was built in the 15th century on the foundation of a former church during the Istanbul Conquest. The minaret was torn down during the communist period and rebuilt in 2014.