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Largest Religious Buildings in the World I
Posted In: Religion Articles  5/20/12
By: Yona Williams

When it comes to religious buildings, temples and mosques are two different structures used to provide a place of worship for different religions and cultures. In this article, you will learn which structures are the largest in the world in these categories.

Salt Lake Temple

In Salt Lake City, Utah, you will find the Salt Lake Temple, which serves as the largest Mormon temple in the world. The area of the building measures 23,505 square meters or 253,015 square feet. Out of all the more than 130 temples associated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the temple is known as one of the more recognizable. It took 40 years to complete the temple, which was not the first one built – but instead, the sixth.

The location of the temple was chosen by the Mormon prophet Brigham Young and now serves as the headquarters of the church. Mormons look to the temple as a significant symbol, as many Latter-Day Saint pilgrims are interested and do make a trip to the temple. The temple is so influential throughout the city of Salt Lake that streets are actually numbered according to their distance from the temple.

The temple was first constructed in 1847 – days after Brigham Young and his followers made their way to Great Salt Lake Valley. He presided over the groundbreaking ceremony on February 14, 1853. The temple was officially finished and dedicated in April 1893.

The Holy Mosque

The largest and holiest mosque in the world is found in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. This is where the primary destination of the Hajj pilgrimage takes place. Covering an area of 356,800 square meters, the mosque complex is able to accommodate up to 820,000 worshippers during the Hajj. The mosque is also significant because it is the only one of its kind that has no 'qibla' direction. This is because Muslims pray facing what is known as the Ka'ba in the central courtyard.

The Holy Mosque dates back to the 7th century when it was first built. Over time, it has received modifications, been rebuilt, and has expanded – especially during the 1980s. The Holy Mosque is referred to by many other names, such as al-Haram Mosque, Haram al-Sharif, Masjid al-Sharif and the Haram.

Highlights of the Holy Mosque construction include:

•    Caliph Omar Ibn al-Khattab played a role in the initial construction and additions of the Mosque. He ordered the demolition of surrounding houses so that the growing number of pilgrims could be accommodated. A 1 ½ meter high wall was built to make a prayer area in the outdoors around the shrine.

•    The building was enlarged and adorned with more embellishments in 692. For instance, the ceiling was covered with teak. The capitals were painted in gold.

•    Fire severely damaged the northern part of the mosque in 1399. The remaining sections fell in disrepair because of water damage.


 

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