The capital and largest city in the country with which it shares the name, Djibouti was founded in 1888 by the French colonialists along the Gulf of Tadjoura. While the city is primarily known for its massive port and bases of foreign militaries, it is also home to a surprisingly large number of architectural gems. Located in front of the city’s main square, the iconic Hamoudi Mosque is one of the oldest mosques in Djibouti, with its chubby minaret serving as the most conspicuous element in the capital’s skyline.
Formerly the capital of French Somaliland and nowadays, of modern-day Djibouti, the city of Djibouti is home to a whopping 147 mosques, and while each features its own unique style, none of which is as historically and nationally significant as the Hamoudi Mosque. Nestled amid the city’s most vibrant square, Place Mahmoud Harbi, the mosque was built in 1906 by a Yemeni merchant, Hamoudi Ahmed. Born in Yemen and later immigrated to the French colony of Djibouti, Hamoudi soon became a rich businessman, albeit his exact source of wealth is shrouded in mystery.
The iconic mosque features a relatively wide whitewashed minaret, contrasted by its turquoise balustrade and spire. With a capacity of roughly 1,000 worshipers, the mosque is a major religious institution whose influence goes far beyond its immediate surroundings. In fact, the national Djiboutian radio and television broadcast on live the mosque’s five daily calls for prayers, as well as speeches during Islamic holidays. Due to the mosque’s location next to an ethnically diverse district of the city, all of its sermons are held in Arabic, rather than the widely spoken Somali or Afar, as it serves as a lingua franca among the different ethnic groups.
photography by: Blofeld of SPECTRE/ Wikimedia Commons
photography by: Tyke/ Wikimedia Commons