HYDERABAD: This Independence Day, the Spanish mosque at Begumpet will be open for people from all religions. This historic mosque, which is a marvel of Moorish (Islamic Spain) architecture, never fails to attract the attention of thousands of people, who pass through SP Road in Begumpet. But many people, particularly non-Muslims, do not venture into the premises believing that they won’t be allowed to enter.

For the first time in over a century, the mosque will be open to all for a guided tour on August 15 from 10am to 7pm. Not only one can have a closer look into its architecture and calligraphy, but also know how the Namaz (prayers) is held five times a day.

The real name of the mosque is Jama Masjid Aiwan-e-Begumpet (congregational mosque of Begumpet). Due to its unique architecture, the mosque over the years has come to be known as Spanish mosque. The opening of the Spanish mosque for the public cutting across faiths comes close to the decision of the management of Quba mosque at Nanalnagar organising a ‘visit my mosque’ programme.

“On this Independence Day, it is with great pleasure that we invite you to the ‘Visit My Mosque’ programme at Jama Masjid, Aiwan e Begumpet, (Spanish Mosque), Hyderabad,” read an official invitation card, adding that “On this sacred national day, we open our mosque to our fellow Indian brethren, who will join us as we conduct tours of our mosque and provide them information about the meaning of Azan (call to prayer), Wudhu (ablution) and Salat (prayer).”

The mosque received INTACH Heritage award in 2010. “Work on Spanish mosque was started by Paigah noble Sir Vicar-ul-Umra in 1887 and was completed in 1906 by his successor. It is distinctive in many ways. Inspired by Moorish architecture of Spain, it also incorporates Turkish elements in its design, including Turkish calligraphy decorating its interiors,” said INTACH Hyderabad convener, P Anuradha Reddy.

The mosque committee said this step is to welcome people of different faith and help promote national integration and harmony.