These awe-inspiring mosques will surely take your breath away. Source: Shutterstock

THE month of Syawal is the tenth month in the Hijri calendar, the lunar-based Islamic calendar.

Widely practiced as a month of joy and a month of freedom, it starts with the celebratory feast of Eid al-Fitr (Idul Fitri or Aidil Fitri in some parts of the world), also known as the “Festival of Breaking the Fast”. This religious Eid is the first and only day in the month of Syawal during which Muslims are not permitted to fast.

As we approach the end of Syawal, here are some of the world’s most awe-inspiring mosques you need to visit.

Istanbul, Turkey: The Blue Mosque

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The Sultan Ahmed Mosque, or the Blue Mosque, as it is popularly known, is a historic mosque located in Istanbul, Turkey.

Constructed between 1609 and 1616 during the rule of Sultan Ahmed I of the Ottoman Empire when he was only 13 years old, it is one of Istanbul’s most popular tourist attractions.

The majestic building features six tall minarets, unlike more traditional mosques with between one to four minarets, and it is best visited in a guided private or small group tour, to learn the rich history of the mosque.

Kazan, Russia: Kul Sharif Mosque

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Located in Kazan Kremlin, a city in southwest Russia, the stunning Kul Sharif Mosque was originally destroyed in 1552.

In 2005, it was rebuilt and at the time of its construction, it was reputed to be one of the largest mosques in Russia and also in Europe outside of Istanbul.

The Kul Sharif Mosque boasts a distinctively modern character, with three sections to the building: the mosque, a memorial stone, and an administrative wing.

Casablanca, Morocco: The Hassan II Mosque

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Designed by Michel Pinseau and built by Bouygues in 1993, the Hassan II Mosque is a mosque in Casablanca, Morocco. Considered one of the largest mosques in Africa and the fifth largest in the world, the mosque boasts the world’s tallest minaret at 210 meters.

Adorned with Islamic geometric tilework, the décor throughout is magical to observe. The Hassan II Mosque is also one of a few in Morocco that non-Muslims are allowed to enter.

Abu Dhabi, UAE: Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

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Located in Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a truly breathtaking architectural feat.

The largest mosque in the country, with a capacity for 40,000 worshippers at a time, it is the key place of worship for daily prayers, Friday gatherings, and Eid prayers. During Eid, it may be visited by more than 41,000 people.

Featuring spectacular snow-white marble walls, 24-karat gold crystal chandeliers and the largest hand-woven carpet measuring 5,630 m², the mosque welcomes more than five million visitors a year.

Mecca, Saudi Arabia: Masjid al-Haram

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The site of pilgrimage for Hajj and Umrah, Masjid al-Haram is the holiest mosque in Islam.

The mosque can accommodate up to four million people and is considered by Muslims as the most sacred place on earth

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