The Kocatepe Mosque is the largest mosque in Ankara, the capital of Turkey. It was built between 1967 and 1987 in the Kocatepe quarter in Kýzýlay, and its size and prominent situation have made it a landmark that can be seen from almost anywhere in central Ankara.
The idea of building the Kocatepe Mosque dates back to the 1940s. On December 8, 1944, Ahmet Hamdi Akseki, the Vice-President of Turkish Religious Affairs, along with seventy-two founding members, established a society known as the “Society to Build a Mosque in Yeniþehir, Ankara.” In 1947 this society called for projects to be drawn up by architects, but none of the submitted projects were accepted.
In 1956, through the efforts of the late Adnan Menderes, Prime Minister of the time, land was allocated for the project to build a mosque in Ankara, and a request for projects was made once again in 1957. This time thirty-six projects were evaluated, with the joint project of Vedat Dalokay and Nejat Tekelioðlu being chosen as the one to be implemented.
The accepted project was an innovative and modern design. The construction started, but due to heavy critique from conservatives for its modernist look, the construction was stopped at the foundation level. Vedat Dalokay later built a modified version of the Kocatepe Mosque after winning an international competition for the Shah Faisal Masjid in Islamabad, Pakistan in 1969. This mosque, which can accommodate 100,000 worshippers, is one of the largest mosques of the world, and accepted by many as the frontiers of modern Islamic architecture.
After a third architectural competition in 1967, a more conservative or nostalgic design by Hüsrev Tayla and M. Fatin Uluengin was chosen to be built. Completed in 1987, this project is built in a pseudo 16th century Ottoman architecture style and resembles the Blue Mosque in Istanbul.
Source: Brochure by the Turkish Ministry of Religious Affairs
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