Amongst the aged landscape of Galle Fort with its historical homes and buildings, rises the century old Meeran Mosque. The majestic white structure was built in 1904 by Ahamed Haji Ismail.
Ismail was a devout Muslim who wished to provide a safe and proper prayer place to worshippers. Being a reasonably wealthy man, he made his dream a reality by commissioning mosques not only in Galle Fort, but also in Weligama and Poruwa.
The Fort's Meeran Mosque is built over an Islamic prayer space believed to have existed for over 300 years. Little is known about this ancient space, except that it may have been made by Muslim Traders in the area who took advantage of the ships that visited the ancient port of Galle.
The Meeran Mosque is built facing the direction of Mecca using the available local materials and skilled local masons and carvers.. The heavily Dutch-influenced design blends well with the surrounding structures. However the inside of the mosque is an exotic image of pure luxury.
Bright rooms and corridors, enhanced by high ceilings. Beautifully patterned Italian floor tiles. Brilliant panes of stained glass with various embedded motifs on windows and doors. A large central space with high windows and an exquisitely sculpted arch that marks the direction to pray. The hanging chandeliers, loft space created by wooden rafters and extra high ceiling make the central area seem more spacious than usual. The little well-maintained lawn outside offers a place for relaxation and reunion to worshippers who visit.
Mosques are usually strictly males only. While females visit, they would have a separate section with no male interaction. While Meeran allows females to visit (given appropriately covered clothing is worn) the main areas of the mosque as a tour display, the prayer area for females is a small room built recently in a separate modern building. As such it lacks the exoticism of the main part of the mosque.
Meeran mosque is definitely worth a quick tour. Keep in mind that you have to leave your footwear outside.