An artist's impression of the proposed mosque
Workers in Algiers started laying foundations Sunday for what should become the world’s third-largest mosque, a one-billion-euro project that will include a dizzyingly tall minaret.
The Great Mosque of Algiers, located in the Mohamadia district, and facing the Bay of Algiers east of the capital, should be completed in September 2015.The huge construction will be udertaken by the China State Construction Engineering Corporation and is expected to create 17,000 jobs, predominantly for Algerians.
Algeria’s religious affairs minister Bouabdallah Ghlamallah and Chinese ambassador Liu Yuhe attended the foundation-laying ceremony, the official APS news agency reported.
“The construction of this building represents a new landmark in Sino-Algerian relations,” the minister said.
The project includes twelve separate buildings, located on land of about 20 hectares with a gross area of over 400,000 m2, according to Algerian officials.
The mosque complex will include Africa’s tallest minaret, culminating almost as high as the Eiffel Tower at 270 metres (880 feet). It will have 25 levels and eight elevators to whisk observers to the top to view the bay of Algiers.
It will also comprise a prayer room for 120,000 worshippers, a 2000-seat library, a conference room, a museum of Islamic art and history, a research centre on the history of Algeria, shops and a restaurant. It also has a Qur'an house with the capacity for 300 seats, an Islamic cultural centre, an exhibition centre, library, rooms equipped with multimedia, administrative buildings and car parking for 6,000 vehicles and green landscaping.
The project was announced by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in 2004. The design was finished in 2010, but Bouteflika was not satisfied with it "as it didn't reflect the Islamic architectural identity", so the mosque was re-designed again in 2011. The construction deal was handed to the Chinese company which offered a 42-month schedule to finish works.