Over the weekend, I was inspired to get out and adventure right in Kampala city. I realized that there is so much we take for granted, always looking for holidays as far away from home as possible. Even though there is so much beauty in Uganda itself, Kampalans often take Kampala city for granted. Dismissing the country’s capital as one of dust and chaos. I was out to prove that there is so much more to Kampala and so I took a ride to the Baha’i temple and the Uganda National Mosque (formally known as the Gadhafi Mosque).
The Baha’i Temple
I’d visited the Baha’i temple a while ago, probably when I was in primary school. My memory of the place was so faint and distant that I was completely awed by its artistic beauty when I arrived. Built in 1962, the Baha’i house of worship, Uganda is situated on Kikaaya Hill on the outskirts of Kampala City.
Mosaic tiles acquired from Italy form the green colored dome and the tiles in the lower roof are from Belgium. The lush, vast and well-kept grounds of the temple make for a great picnic location with lots of shade and breeze, ideal to sit and enjoy the Kampala city views. Entrance is free for all although visitors are not allowed inside the temple. One can however, take pictures and enjoy the scenery of the temple grounds. The temple has guides dressed in uniform who are happy to answer any questions and shed light on the Baha’i faith. Important to note is that this particular Baha’i temple is the only one in Africa, with only seven major Baha’i houses of worship around the world. You can read more about Africa’s only Baha’i temple here.
The Uganda National Mosque
This was my very first visit inside the Uganda National Mosque, formally known as the Gadhafi Mosque. Interestingly, I went to primary school in Old Kampala (where the mosque is located) and I’ve seen the structure from a distance several times before but never been fascinated by it, until now.
The Uganda National Mosque is the second largest mosque in Africa and seats over 15,000 worshipers. This monumental mosque is an excellent stop for tourists. Aside from learning about the Muslim faith in Kampala, the mosque’s tower (called a minaret) provides stunning 360 degree views of Kampala city. One can view the entire city from the top of the minaret. In fact, standing at the top made for a great Geography lesson as we pointed out to each other different structures, buildings and highlights in Kampala city. The climb to the top is quite an adventure in itself with several flights of a narrow winding staircase. It was a bit spooky if you ask me and quite a work out. All was not in vain though as the view from the top is priceless. Entrance to the mosque for visitors is UGX 15,000 (about 4 US dollars). You can read more about the Mosque here.
Mosque photography by Jonathan Nyeroto.
Have you toured Kampala? How about Kampala’s places of worship? What stood out to you? Do share in the comments below. Xx