The 'leaning mosque of Doha' causes stir online

Residents recently discovered the unique structure thanks to videos posted online on social media

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A mosque in Qatar's Al Shahaniya City is gaining attention online thanks to its distinctive leaning minaret.

Affectionately nicknamed the 'leaning mosque of Doha', the structure is drawing comparisons to the famed Tower of Pisa, the Italian landmark known for its lean of just under four degrees.

Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani, chief executive of one of Qatar's biggest conglomerates Al Faisal Holding, is behind the architectural wonder.

He said he envisioned a mosque that would distinguish itself from any other in the world, with its minaret blending tradition and modernity and marking a distinctive presence in the landscape.

“We constructed an inclining minaret to honour the traditional Islamic architecture, recognise Qatar's rich architectural history, and give a distinctive aspect to our building,” said Sheikh Faisal.

“This architectural masterpiece not only draws tourists and visitors to our nation, but it also symbolises our desire of integrating traditional aspects with modern design.”

New tourist spot

Construction of the unique structure took over a year with the final phase completed in 2022.

The leaning mosque stands beside the Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani Museum and Al Samriya Hotel.

“I have been in Qatar for the past year but have never heard about it,” said Lizet Gritsenko, who is the Director of HR at Park Hyatt Doha.

“It was very beautiful and I told a lot of people about it.”

Ms Gritsenko, who moved to Qatar from Armenia a year ago, posted a video of the leaning mosque on her social media page and was inundated by friends and family asking questions about the structure.

“Some asked me if it was a construction fault or if an earthquake made the tower lean.

“But I clarified that it was just the design, like the tower of Pisa,” said Ms Gritsenko.

Nivedita Vishwanathan, a physiotherapist based in Doha was surprised to see the video of the mosque.

“I found the architecture absolutely mesmerising.

“It is so unique. I have been living in Doha for over eight years now but never heard about it.

“The museum is quite good and this is an exciting new thing to see there now.”

Technological safety features

The body of the minaret is embedded with 30 high-tech sensors which preserves the safety of the structure by monitoring weight and inclination. The sensors also provide alerts on any potential problems.

Adorning the top of the mosque is a dome and crescent made from Egyptian antique copper.

The minaret at mosque has two balconies and an incline of 20 degrees. Photo: Anna Wahidi

The stone used in the cladding of the mosque was extracted during the preparatory excavations for its construction.

The mosque is 27-metres tall with the minaret having an incline of 20 degrees.

It has a 2.5-metre deep raft footing, fortified by eight columns.

The minaret has internal steel spiral stairs, which allows the muezzin to safely ascend for the call to prayer.

“As an iconic structure in our country, the inclined minaret represents our ambition to provide a place that evokes wonder and captures curiosity about the richness of Islamic culture,” said Sheikh Faisal.

Updated: May 31, 2023, 6:55 AM