Albania 2021

Albania 2021

The incomplete Great Mosque of Tirana rises above the capital in the city center. When the country’s Communist leader Enver Hoxha famously declared Albania the world’s first atheist nation in 1967, many of the country’s mosques and Christian churches were destroyed, abandoned or converted into community centers and museums. After the Communists were ousted in 1990 the remaining mosques and churches re-opened. On land donated by the government, first the Catholics [around 10% of the population] and then Christian Orthodox [around 6%] built massive cathedrals in central Tirana. The mosque project was more complicated due to the controversial decision by Albania’s government to allow Turkey to fund the construction and its $34 million cost. With around 60% of the country Muslim, the result of 400 years of Ottoman rule, the majority sentiment among them was that it was unacceptable to allow their former oppressors to build the country’s central mosque. The building, which will hold 5,000 worshipers, is expected to be completed this year.

Albania 2021

Albania 2021

The incomplete Great Mosque of Tirana rises above the capital in the city center. When the country’s Communist leader Enver Hoxha famously declared Albania the world’s first atheist nation in 1967, many of the country’s mosques and Christian churches were destroyed, abandoned or converted into community centers and museums. After the Communists were ousted in 1990 the remaining mosques and churches re-opened. On land donated by the government, first the Catholics [around 10% of the population] and then Christian Orthodox [around 6%] built massive cathedrals in central Tirana. The mosque project was more complicated due to the controversial decision by Albania’s government to allow Turkey to fund the construction and its $34 million cost. With around 60% of the country Muslim, the result of 400 years of Ottoman rule, the majority sentiment among them was that it was unacceptable to allow their former oppressors to build the country’s central mosque. The building, which will hold 5,000 worshipers, is expected to be completed this year.