I first heard of the Diyanet Center of America by my friends who had stop there for Jummah prayers as they made their way to a convention. When I arrived they spoke about one of the most beautiful mosque they had ever seen in the USA. Everything they were describing couldn’t be found in Maryland, no way. I had to see for myself, so I immediately put it on my bucket list.
Let me first start by giving you the 411 on the mosque. The Center was built by the Turkish-American non-profit organizations and the Turkish Government. It’s located in Lanham Maryland and opened its door on April 2, 2016. The Center is built to feature the Classic Ottoman style of architecture. While the mosque serves as the focal point, it is surrounded by the Culture Center, Fellowship Hall, Guest Houses, Residential Homes, and a Sports Center.
Don’t know where to start don’t worry, these are signs posted all over to help us navigate around the Center.
We started our journey at the Culture Center. There we met with Camil, the center’s Event Coordinator. She was kind enough to give us a tour of the Center. As we began our tour she explained that the Center took two years to complete and cost a whopping $150 million to build. The materials and the labors were all brought in from Turkey.
The Culture Center has an auditorium where lectures, events, and classes take place. It also houses an Exhibition Room, Art Studio, Conference Room and a Gift Shop which we were disappointed to hear it only opens on the weekend. I really wanted to buy some authentic Turkish decorations.
Our next stop was the Fellowship Hall which includes a Turkish coffeehouse that offers traditional cuisine, however, it’s only open on the weekends. There is also a Social Hall that can be rented for social gatherings such as weddings and engagement parties.
Next, we walked over to the Residential Houses. The houses display three traditional Turkish architects from three different time periods.
We eagerly made our way over to the mosque. Often referred to as “The Heart of the Center”. The mosque is built in the style of sixteenth-century Ottoman architecture. We were mesmerized as we walked into the courtyard. We couldn’t help but feel like we were magically transported in time.
Our final stop was at the Sports Center. The Sports Center houses a Turkish Bath, swimming pool, fitness center, and exercise room.
If you are in the Maryland, Washington D.C. area be sure to stop by and visit Diyanet Center of America. Truly a must see!
Which Mosque is your all-time favorite?