By Hena Zuberi
After a 5-year wait, the Diyanet Center of America, also known as the Turkish American Community Center, is ready for worshipers and for visitors of all faiths.
A true majestic wonder- it is something made from a hundred million prayers. May Allah bless this gift to the people of the United States from the Turkish nation.
The photography is by Salam Aref of New Dream Designs, an upcoming architect, artist and designer based in Maryland.
The center of the masjid is designated as the sacred sanctuary
The Mihrab is made of marble and gold leaf technique which was applied by artisans from Turkey. The upper part of the side of the mihrab is decorated with tiles imported from Turkey. On the pediment of the mihrab is a figure of the tree of life which symbolizes the 99 names of God.
The ornate, marble mimbar is used for special occasions such as the Eid salah. It was designed and made in Turkey
The kursi, where the imam gives dars, is composed entirely of wood and was made in Turkey. The kündekari technique of woodworking (the tongue-and-groove paneling of polygons and stars set in a strap work skeleton), which is the traditional art of wood decoration, and inlaid with mother-of-pearl. As the characteristic of kundekari technique, no nails, screws, glue, or fasteners were used in the panels
Over the area of the sanctuary, there is a main dome on each side of which are five small domes. In order to provide light inside the mosque, there are windows around the rim of the main dome. This dome is adorned with Arabic calligraphy, one of the traditional decorative arts of Islam. The large and small domes are supported by arches, in conformity with traditional architecture. Four marble columns were brought in from the Turkish provinces of Istanbul, Eskişehir, Afyonkarahisar, and Tokat, which are famous for marble.
An intricately carved rehal holding a large Quran
The central dome is inscribed with Surah al Ikhlas.
A tree of life motif is centered, complete with the 99 names of Allah.
“The Million Dollar Door”
The door of the main masjid is a brilliant piece of art made with the Kündekâri technique, This woodworking technique was developed in Anatolia during the era of the Seljuks. “Masters involved in the art of kündekâri, known as kündekârs, state that the starting point of this art is patience. They also complain about the lack of patience and interest among the younger generations concerning this traditional art form. In practice, say the masters, if you overlook a deviation even on the order of millimeters, you will lose control and fail to assemble the kündekâri. The technique produces pieces that are known to last for seven to eight centuries easily if not subjected to the negative effects of such things as earthquakes, fire, and excessive humidity.” From AnadoluJet magazine.
The mosque has six wood doors which open to three areas of the sanctuary and three areas of the courtyard.
The central courtyard is anchored by a marble fountain. Copper taps are used keep an old world aesthetic.
The windows in the outdoor courtyard
This is the only masjid in America that has two minarets
The mahfil, the area reserved for women covers about 1300 square feet. The ceiling
of the mahfil is covered with five small-scale domes. The domes are decorated with geometric designs.
Chandeliers in the domes of the main hall of the masjid
A 220-seat auditorium is a part of the multi-purpose cultural center. This includes a conference room equipped with an advanced sound system and simultaneous translation rooms.
Tiles adorning the cultural center at DCA