By Mesut Zeyrek
COLOGNE, Germany (AA) – President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will inaugurate in the German city of Cologne one of the largest mosques in Europe on Saturday.
The Cologne Central Mosque, built by Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB) after eight years of construction work, has a capacity of 1,200 people.
“It will be the most important and one of the largest mosques in Europe and Germany. It has a symbolic meaning for our Muslim brothers living here,” Nevzat Yasar Asikoglu, chairman of the DITIB, told reporters.
“Our mosque also symbolizes peace, brotherhood as well as the culture of co-existence,” he said.
Asikoglu said those who visit the mosque are impressed by interior adornment of the mosque in which Seljuk motif was predominantly used.
The mosque has nine entrances and there is a crescent and a star in the middle of its dome.
The 17,000 square-meter mosque complex also has a shopping center, an exhibition and a seminar hall, a 600-people capacity conference hall, a library, working offices and a car park on the ground floor.
Germany, a country of over 81 million people, has the second-largest Muslim population in Western Europe after France.
Among the country’s nearly 4.7 million Muslims, three million are of Turkish origin. Many of them are second or third-generations of Turkish families who migrated to Germany in the 1960s, and are said to be well integrated in the country.