Great Mosque of Asmara

The Great Mosque of Asmara is a mosque located on Harnet Avenue (earlier known as Viale Mussolini) in Asmara, the capital city of Eritrea. The mosque is considered to be one of the three prominent edifices of the city, along with Church of Our Lady of the Rosary and Enda Mariam Coptic Cathedral. Designed by Guido Ferrazza, it was built in 1938 on the initiative of Benito Mussolini, to impress the Muslim population, who make up about 50% of the locality. The name means “followers of the right path”.

The mosque was designed by Guido Ferrazza in a blend of the architectural styles of Rationalist, Classical, and Islamic. The minaret at its end, fluted and of Roman design, is visible from all parts of the city. It has two platforms and two balconies of the Italian rococo or late baroque style. Below the minaret, the mosque’s fascia has a neoclassical loggia (exterior galleries), which is split in three parts. The building’s double columns are made from Dekemhare travertine and are fitted with capitals made of Carrara marble. Other features include Islamic domes and arches. The mihrab, which faces west towards the direction of Mecca, is of Carrara marble. Additional marble from the same quarry is used in other areas of this mosque. The front open yard of the mosque is covered with black stone slabs set in geometrical design.