I crossed it a couple of times but never thought of going inside to look around. And would really get confused🤨 ⁉❔so as to why all the guides took their tourists to this place🧐: Hukuru miskiiy or the Old Friday mosque🕌 as it is most commonly known as.
The short heighted boundary wall enabled the passer by people to see the the tombstones. It looked like a cemetery with few mausoleums as well. Nothing unusual. Then whats the hype about🧐, couldn’t get that part. But theres this minaret (minar) at the entrance that stands out. Always intrigued me and made me stop and take a few clicks📷. A unique, big, sturdy structure that looks like nothing more than a wedding cake 🎂with arabic inscription☪ over it and this minar used to grab my attention like anything.❣
At times i did think i should peek inside but didnt have the courage. So, a couple of days back when we👫 were walking along its lane🌴🌴🌴, i mentioned it to my husband and he willingly offered the sneak peek. 🌟
I wasnt quite ready for what was to come not much i expected.
In the veranda on the right and the left were flattened graves (of the dignitaries) with epitaphs: pointed ones for males and rounded ones for female. And on the inside periphery were mausoleums of the former kings 👑 and historical figures🛐. Hidden beneath layers of dust🔦 was a treasure💎 to an explorers eye. From outside what looked like just rectangular tombs were actually pieces of art🎦, beautiful tombs with intricate designs ➿ and patterns that spoke volumes of rich islamic 📿 architecture and cultural heritage. All of this was made of coral stones 🎯.
Coral stone, when wet is easy to cut and give shape.⏺⏹🔼 When it is air-dried it takes the shape of solid block which can be used for building. Timber and coral the two sources that were found abundantly in Maldives.🇲🇻 In the centre theres a passage that leads to the actual mosque. On a highly decorative plinth stands this mosque which boasts of its design, decoration and grandness. Interior of the mosque are made of teak wood. The entrance steps, the door and the windows all are beautifully carved ➿. The walls have islamic inscriptions in beautiful calligraphy. Maldivian artistry is reflected very well in the form of decorative intricate carvings, lacquer work and calligraphy. It all shows excellent workman ship🔨🔧⚒. This mosque was made in the year 1658 by the Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar, some 400 years back (Oh yes, i have the zeros correct😉)and after that renovations have been done. In 1988 it underwent scientific restoration in supervision of UNESCO.
In the year 2008 it has been labelled as the best coral stone structure till date. Fusion of different cultures led to the emergence of such a magnificent structure which lets no other structure stand in its comparison.