World Bulletin/News Desk
South African President, Jacob Zuma, officially opened the Nizamiye Mosque Complex in Midrand Johannesburg, in a ceremony attended by dignitaries and officials from South Africa and Turkey.
The complex is the brainchild of Turkish businessman, Ali Katricioglu, with construction beginning three years ago, and has now become a unique landmark and part of the Johannesburg sky-line.
The mosque complex also includes a school, a dormitory, a Turkish bazaar and shopping centre, with a soon to be opened traditional Turkish restaurant and bakery, along with a clinic to service the local community.
The clinic was added to complex, after a special request was made by former President Nelson Mandela, when he met Katricioglu before the project began.
The formal opening ceremony was also attended by senior South African government officials including, the Premier of the Gauteng Province, Nomvula Mokonyane, the Minister of Economic Development, Ebrahim Patel and the Deputy Minister of Economic Development Prof. Hlengiwe Mkhize.
Turkish government officials were also in attendance, including Turkey’s Economic Development Minister, Zafer Caglayan, who met with President Zuma and Minister Patel to discuss South Africa and Turkey’s economic cooperation.
The opening of the event was also attended by a large contingent of prominent South African’s from across all political, economic, business, cultural and religious sectors of society, including members of the diplomatic corp.
The mosque can accommodate up to 3000 worshippers, and used around 200 workers to be completed at an estimated cost of US$ 30 million.
The mosque and the entire complex contain unique art works, marble flooring, Ebru art designs and painting all imported from Turkey.
The Nizamiye Mosque Complex was modelled after the Selimiye Mosque in Edirne, Turkey, and has become a huge attraction for visitors across all religious, cultural and racial backgrounds.
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The mosque was first opened in 1901 but was seized and closed in the 1920's and then used first as a cinema and then as a restaurant that served alcohol. In 2002 restorations began to open the mosque for service