Senegal’s Massalikul Jinaan mosque located in the capital city, Dakar, has been ranked as the ‘biggest in West Africa,’ built at a cost of around $33m.
According to Voice of America, thousands of people from across Senegal converged on the capital Dakar on Friday for the inauguration of a gigantic mosque, claimed to be the largest in West Africa.
The magnificent edifice was built by the Mouride Brotherhood, part of the Sufi strand of Islam that predominates in Senegal.
The building began a decade ago on a swampy six-hectare (14-acre) area of land donated by the government of the 90-percent Muslim nation, and the inauguration has been preceded by an outpouring of national and religious fervour.
The mosque’s name of Massalikul Jinaan (“The Paths to Paradise”) comes from the title of a poem by Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba Mbacke, the 19th-century founder of the Brotherhood, who is revered by followers as a saint.
The cost of more than 30 million euros ($33 million) came from private donations, while the government contributed lighting, sanitation and roadworks worth 10.5 million euros as well as the the land – a sign of the Brotherhood’s clout.
The building exterior is described as having a Carrara marble exterior and boasting five minarets, the tallest 78 meter (255 feet) high.
The mosque has a capacity of 15,000 worshippers inside, and another 15,000 on an outside esplanade.
The lavish interiors include a gold-leaf dome, giant chandeliers and decorations hand drawn by Moroccan workmen.
An Islamic institute, residence and museum are scheduled to be added in the future.
The builders say the mosque is the biggest in West Africa, although the edifice is dwarfed by mosques in the Arab world.
In Morocco, the Hassan II mosque in Casablanca can accommodate 105,000 worshippers and has a minaret spiraling 210 meters.