On the Horizon

Sinking Oil Prices Slow Completion of an Algerian Mosque

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IMAGE COURTESY OF KSP ENGEL UND ZIMMERMANN ARCHITEKTEN

“There will be nothing like it in the world—religiously, touristically and economically.”

—Bouabdallah Ghlamallah, Algerian religious affairs minister, to Morocco World News

A mega-mosque construction project is underway in Algiers, Algeria—but its completion date isn't quite clear. At one point scheduled to open this year, the mosque will become the third largest in the world. But like many infrastructure projects in the region, the landmark is significantly behind schedule because of budget issues.

Construction began in 2012, when global oil prices were near their peak. When the oil markets began to plummet, Algeria's economy faltered—as did work on the mosque. Now, it is estimated to be finished in 2020 at the earliest.

Once completed, the mosque grounds will accommodate 120,000 worshippers. The 22-hectare (54.4-acre) complex will include a library with 1 million works, a museum of Islamic art and history, a research center, shops and offices.

The crown jewel will be the minaret, the tallest in the world at around 869 feet (265 meters). The structure posed a challenge to the project team. The intricate pattern that adorns the minaret is traditionally hand-carved into stone. To speed up the process, the team opted to create the pattern out of precast concrete. This will also make the tower lighter, yet strong enough to withstand extreme weather and earthquakes—a serious risk in Algeria.

PROJECT LAUNCH:

2008

ESTIMATED COMPLETION:

2020

ESTIMATED COST:

US$1.5 billion

PLACE OF WORSHIP:

The mosque's massive prayer room will accommodate almost 35,000 people.

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