While I was in Beirut, I had the chance to go inside Al Amin Mosque. The locals call it as Blue Mosque, simply because of its blue dome that sits on top of it. Mohammad Al Amin is not an ancient mosque. Compared to the Blue Mosque in Turkey, in Egypt or in any other countries in the Middle East, this is a new place of worship. It was inaugurated in 2008.
When I visited there on a hot June weather, I was hesitant to go inside because I was wearing shorts. However, I had a colourful sarong inside my bag, just in case I’d be refused entry. I could simply wrap it around my waist to cover my flawless legs. 😀 I was there around 10:30 in the morning but the guard told me to come back at 11:00 because the janitors were still cleaning. So, I walked around the area – despite the searing heat and went back 30 minutes later. Good thing was – the guard let me in – with me in knee-length shorts. He asked if I were a muslim and when I said no, he handed me out a leaflet about Islam. He directed me to a space where I could place my shoes properly. I was the first visitor (or tourist) that day and it was so quiet. I could even hear my own footsteps on a carpeted floor. In fact, I was even guilty of making a teeny bit of a sound.
Visiting Women. If you’re not covered enough, the guard would let you use one of the abayas for free.
When Inside the Mosque. Once inside, you’re free to walk around it. Just make sure, you’re not wearing any footwear. And yes, the best part of it is that you can make photos as many as you want. You don’t have to take it in secret. But, as a courtesy, if there are people praying, you better shut your flash off.
Look up. Perhaps the most impressive part of this mosque is the dome’s ceiling. The frescoes are so stunning they would leave you breathless.
Don’t forget. If it’s open, don’t forget to visit the Church of St. George which is located just right next door. There are also other churches nearby.
Downtown Beirut is nice but there’s not much life there. Hamra neighbourhood is a great place to get to know Beirut through the busy street where locals come and go. Stay at Grand Hotel Beirut or Versailles Grand Hotel. They have a good size room and sparkly clean. You can book via HostelWorld and B