beautiful mosque

The most beautiful mosques in the World

Islam is the world’s second largest religion. This religion, which began during the 7th century in Mecca, is practiced now by almost 25% of the world’s population. Through the ages and continents, the Muslims have built some beautiful mosques around the World. Places of prayer but also to meet and study, mosques follow strict rules in terms of architecture and decoration. Some elements – as minarets, domes and prayer halls – can be found in almost every mosque. However, Man has shown a lot of creativity and diversity when building these places. Below, you can see some of the most amazing mosques in the world.

Al Haram mosque, Mecca – Saudi Arabia

The largest and oldest mosque in the World – located in the holiest site in Islam – the Masjid Al Haram has been built during the 7th century. The annual pilgrimage to Mecca is one of the largest gatherings in the World, up to 2 million worshippers will pray here together.

This beautiful mosque shelters on its center the Kaaba, the most sacred site of Islam. This building protects the Kaaba stone, a relic which, according to Muslim tradition, dates back to the time of Adam and Eve.


Al Nabawi mosque, Medina – Saudi Arabia

Built near the place where the prophet Muhammad used to live and also holding the prophet’s grave, Al Nabawi mosque is the second holiest site in Islam, one of the biggest mosque in the World. In 1909, Al Nawabi mosque became the first place in the Arabian Peninsula to be provided with electrical lights.

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Dome of the rock mosque, Jerusalem – Israel

Built during the 7th century A.D, the dome of the rock mosque is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its architecture and mosaics were patterned after nearby Byzantine churches and palaces, which gave it a pretty unique architecture.

The Dome covers a rock believed by some Muslims and scholars to be the spot from where Muhammed ascended to heaven. Others believe that place to be the Al Aqsa Mosque. In Jewish tradition, the rock is understood to be where Abraham prepared to sacrifice his son.


The Blue mosque, Istanbul – Turkey

Its official name is the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, but it is known more popularly as the Blue Mosque because of the blue tiles that decorate the inside walls. More than 20,000 blue tiles cover the walls. Built during the 17th century, this mosque was considered to be the starting point to the pilgrimage to Mecca.


The Cheikh Zayed mosque, Abu Dhabi – U.E.A

The most important mosque of the United Emirates of Arabia. This mosque was opened in 2007, after 12 years of construction. Today more than 40,000 worshippers can pray there at the same time. This beautiful mosque – the only one from UEA accessible to tourists – contains the largest mosque dome in the World (almost 33 meters of diameter).

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Hassan II mosque, Casablanca – Morocco

Opened in 1993, this mosque has many particularities: first of all, a part of it has been built on the sea; the mosque holds a museum and a library; and, finally, you can admire there the World’s highest minaret. At its top, 210m above sea level, a laser points across the sea towards Mecca.

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Nasir Al-Mulk mosque, Chiraz – Iran

Also known as the Pink Mosque, this mosque was built in the lat 1870’s.  Famous for its ceiling and its numerous colored glasses, this place offers an incredible atmosphere when the sunlight passes through the glasses. We recommend you to visit it during the morning, when the sun rises.


Zahir mosque, Alor Star – Malaysia

Built in 1912, this is one of the grandest and oldest mosques in Malaysia.

This mosque is enhanced with five large domes symbolizing the Five Pillars of Islam.


The Great Mosque of Cordoba – Spain

Located in Spain, the buildings on this site are as complex as the extraordinarily rich history they illustrate. Historians believe that there was first a temple to the Roman god, Janus, on this site. The temple was converted into a church by invading Visigoths who seized Cordoba in 572. Next, the church was converted into a mosque and then completely rebuilt by the descendants of the exiled Umayyads, the first Islamic dynasty who had originally ruled from their capital Damascus (in present-day Syria) during the 7th century.


Qolsharif mosque, Kazan – Russia

Originally built during the 16th century, this mosque has been destroyed by Ivan the Terrible during the same century. In July 2005, the new building has been inaugurated. This Russian mosque – surprising due to its modern design – holds also a library and a museum.


Crystal Mosque, Terengganu – Malaysia

This beautiful mosque, located in Malaysia, has been inaugurated in 2008. It offers a unique experience to its pilgrims and visitors with its glass plates reflecting the sunlight. The interior design is a mix of Arabic and Chinese influences.

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The Great Mosque of Xi’an – China

An amazing architectural testimonial of the Tang emperor’s welcome to foreign cultures in their empire, the Great Mosque of Xi’an is also a mix of Arabic and Chinese influences. However, its exterior design, dominated by Chinese architectural elements, makes this mosque unique in the World.

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The Great Mosque of Djenné – Niger

The World’s biggest building made in adobe (sun-dried bricks, made of straw and clay)! The Great Mosque of Djenné is, like the city, a UNESCO world heritage site. There has been a mosque on this site since the early 13th century, but once a year the entire community of Djenné throws an annual community event to prepare the Mosque for the upcoming rainy season.

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This list is, of course, far from being exhaustive! Don’t hesitate to give names of other beautiful mosques in the comments.

Amazonia facts

The Amazon Rainforest is a very particular part of our planet, often presented as the lung of Earth, as 20% of our oxygen is produced by its trees. But there are other facts that you should know about it!

The largest rainforest on Earth…

Amazonia facts

Amazonia is the world’s biggest rainforest; larger than the next two largest rainforests combined (the Congo Basin and Indonesia). It is composed by over 390 billion trees of 16 000 different species! Nine countries of South America have a part of their territory covered by this rainforest.


… and the greatest river

Amazon facts

The Amazon is the greatest river in the world by so many measures: the volume of the water it carries to the sea (approximately 20% of all the freshwater discharged into the ocean comes from here; more than the next seven largest independent rivers combined), 40% of South America is irrigated by water from Amazon. Finally, the Amazon is one of the wider and longest rivers in the world, approximately 6 5000 Km long.


A divine name

Amazonia facts

In 1540, Francisco de Orellana – a Spanish explorer, and conquistador – completed the first known navigation of the entire length of the Amazon River, which initially was named “Rio de Orellana”. During this trip, whilst crossing the Tapuya territory (on the West part of today’s Brazil), the boat was attacked by the Indians. As customary in this tribe, the women of the tribe fought alongside the men. Orellana, impressed by the courage of these women, named them Amazonas, a derivation of the mythological Amazons, from Greek legends.


The Amazon river changed its direction

Amazon fact A few thousands of years ago, the Amazon River flowed west-ward instead of east-ward, as it does today. The rise of the Andes caused it to flow into the Atlantic Ocean.

A rich wildlife

Between 2010 and 2013, 441 new florae and animals species were discovered in Amazonia. It’s hard to imagine the diversity of the wildlife there. For instance, more than 2,5 million species of insects live there. Among the famous species, we could mention the Jaguar, the Piranha, the Anaconda, but also the Poison Dart Frog. This little frog (not even 5 cm long) produce a very deadly venom. Each frog contains enough poison to kill 10 humans!


A treasure for the humanity

Amazonia facts

25% of pharmaceutical products are made from ingredients from the Amazon rainforest. However, less than 1% of trees and plants have been tested by scientists. Preserving these trees could allow us to find ingredients to cure some deceases.


The home of untouched tribes

More than 50 untouched tribes have been counted in Amazonia, mainly in Brazil. However, some parts of the rainforest remain unexplored. Protecting this forest means also protecting these people. We wrote an article about untouched tribes around the World, check it here!


A giant in danger

Amazon facts

Around 17% of the Amazon rainforest has been lost in the last 50 years, mostly due to forest conversion for cattle ranching. Deforestation in this region is particularly rampant near more populated areas, roads and rivers, but even remote areas have been encroached upon when valuable mahogany, gold and oil are discovered. Different elements allowed to reduce this danger in the last 10 years (pressure of NGO, new protected areas, recognition of indigenous territory, improved law enforcement). However, the situation is still critical, and a surface equivalent to 7 football fields is deforested every minute.

The destruction of the Amazonia is not unsalvageable; we can all still act to save it. The NGOs WWF and Adventure Life give, for instance, some tips to help protect the Amazon with small daily actions.


credit photo: 1, 2, 4: Niel Palmer; 3: Painting from Albert Eckhout, 5,6,8: wikimedia
Reflection pictures

Mirrors, water, lights… Sometimes these elements offer some amazing reflection effects, opening doors on a poetic World. It takes a lot of patience, and a bit of luck for the photographs to capture these temporary moments, but the result is worthy. Enjoy some reflection pictures taken around the World.

Glacier National Park, Canada

New York City, USA

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

London, United Kingdom

Barri Gòtic, Barcelona, Spain

Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

Windmills, Netherlands

Sunndal, Norway

Devil’s Bridge, Saxony, Germany

Istanbul, Turkey

Taj Mahal, India

Mount Fuji, Japan

Quite impressing, no? Any places in the World that you would like to see captured through a reflection game?

Indigenous tribes

Before they pass away, an artistic and human project

During three years, the photojournalist Jimmy Nelson traveled around the World with the project of photographing different indigenous tribes. From the Huli in Papua New Guinea to the Chinchas in Peru, including the Chukchis in Russia and the Banna in Ethiopia, the photograph immortalized around 40 tribes in their traditional costumes.

The goal of this artistic project named Before they pass away is to capture, celebrate cultural diversity, but also to draw the attention of the World on these indigenous tribes whose are threatened, among other things, by the extension of our “modern” lifestyles.

The United Nations has issued a Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This declaration allows promoting and defend the collective rights of indigenous people, such as culture, identity, language, and access to employment, health, education, and natural resources. Estimates put the total population of indigenous peoples from 220 million to 350 million

Worried about presenting these tribes in an “aesthetic, romantic, subjective and iconographic” way, Jimmy Nelson took some amazing pictures, real testimonial of the traditions and habits encountered. These pictures, full of emotion, deliver a strong message of tolerance, open-mindedness, and universalism. Find below some of the indigenous tribes met by Jimmy Nelson.

Ni Yakal villagers, Vanuatu

Huli Wigmen, Papua New Guinea

Goroka man, Papua New Guinea

Yali men and boys, Indonesia

Miao childs, China

Kazakh hunter, Mongolia

Chukchi woman and her daughter, Russia

Ladakhi girls, India

Samburu young men, Kenya

Banna young men, Ethiopia

Himba woman, Namibia

Chincha family, Peru


You can find more pictures and information about the Before they pass away exhibitions, on the website Before they pass away.

You can also contribute to this amazing project by supporting the Jimmy Nelson foundation. The foundation is also looking for projects that would help to celebrate indigenous tribes and culture. If you have some ideas, sharing them could be for you the opportunity to join this amazing human adventure.


First ever aerial footage from uncontacted Amazon Tribe

There are, around the World, more than 100 uncontacted tribes. Most of them live in South America or in Papua New Guinea.
Some of them see today their existing threatening by the deforestation and the development of industrial activities.

The anthropologist José Carlos Morales fought for the recognition of the right to exist to some of these tribes living in South America. Located in the heart of the Amazon forest, – an area rich in resources – it is easier for some Governments to deny the existence of these tribes and then harvest their lands for their profits, even if this endangers the life of the local tribes.

Protecting these tribes, fully-fledged member of the humankind, without destabilizing their lifestyle is a real challenge.
The aerial footage could provide significant evidence of the existence of these tribes, without interfering with their life.

The video below is the first ever aerial footage of an Amazonian Indian tribe.

The organization Survival International is a global movement fighting for the recognition of tribal peoples’ right. Don’t hesitate to have a look at their website.

Interested in articles related to South America? Find here some travel moments experienced on this continent!