Seoul Central Mosque is Korea’s first and Seoul’s only mosque or masjid. It is located at the top of a hill above the busy neighborhood of Itaewon. Many residents visit on weekends to learn about Islam. Lectures can be heard in Korean, English, and Arabic.
In 1974, construction on the mosque began with help of donations from Islamic countries. In addition, the Korean government donated 5,000 square meters (5,3820 square feet) of land. On May 21, 1976, the mosque opened.
The first floor houses meeting rooms and offices for the Korea Muslim Federation. The men’s prayer hall is located on the second floor. In 1990, an additional third floor was added and now houses the women’s prayer room. There is also an Islamic Center which features a school for Muslim children and research institute.
The entrance is decorated with blue mosaic tiles. The sign above the entrance, written in Arabic, reads as “There is no god but God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God.” This saying is repeated during prayer, known as Shahada. On Fridays, up to 800 worshipers visit for Jummah prayers.
Past the blue titled entrance is the masjid, or mosque. This unusual and exotic building is unique to the city and Korea. The masjid features visually stunning Islamic architecture including two large white minarets.
The surrounding area is home to many types of Middle Eastern businesses and restaurants that import many items from the Middle East. The area is a great place to stroll, shop, and try dishes such as falafel, hummus, tabbouleh, and baklava.