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Inland Branch members and students visit the Nizamiye Complex, Midrand

Nizamiye-complexThe Inland Branch of the Concrete Society arranged for a site visit to the Nizamiye Complex in Midrand which houses the Nizamiye Mosque, Private School (for 800 pupils), Hostel, Clinic, Restaurant, Conferences Hall and Bazaar. The complex conducts quality education in Islamic and Modern sciences, affordable health services and social and cultural activities.

The visit was focused on the Mosque which was completed in and opened in April 2012 and according to the host, site manager and engineer on the project, Orhan Celik, was the brain child of 77-year old, Ali Katircioglu, a prominent Turkish businessman, who came to South Africa seven years ago. It is now the largest mosque in the southern hemisphere.
The mosque, designed to accommodate up to 6,000 worshippers, is a smaller replica of the Ottoman Selimiye Camii Mosque in Edirne, Turkey, completed in the 1570s and now a World Heritage Site. The Midrand version is some 25% smaller than the Turkish original. The plans for the mosque were designed in Turkey and adapted by a South African architect to South African building standards.
The entire monolithic structure is constructed in concrete and even the exterior walls, which look as if they had been built in original stone, are in reality plastered, in-situ concrete covered with a special quartz-filled coating to simulate actual stone. Total concrete volume use in the whole complex was 13,000 m3.
Hard to miss, its dome rises 32 metres and is framed on four corners by four towering minarets, each 55 metres high. There are an additional 4 half domes and 21 smaller domes. The main dome, 24 metres in diameter, and cast in 280 m3 of ready-mixed concrete in one pour lasting approximately 20 hours, is covered with 48 tons of lead. Due to the complexity of the dome, the formwork for the concrete was produced in the traditional Turkish way using timber. The towers (minarets), also cast in concrete, are 5 metres in diameter and one them features 2 spiral staircases, which rise up inside to a three-stage level platform.
The solid cast foundation for the mosque was cast 700mm thick, whilst the bases for the towers were extended to a thickness of 1,7 metres.
Inside the mosque resonates with serenity; time seemed to stop the moment we entered. Some of the features shown were generously proportioned courtyards, arched stained-glass windows, marble columns, sweeping staircases, fountains, rich mosaics and, one of the most stunning features, the authentic Turkish calligraphy on both the walls and ceiling, and the custom-made 100% wool carpet below is a reflection of it.
On being asked about the total project cost, Orhan Celik replied that only 4 people in the world know the actual cost of the entire complex.


Nizamiye Complex - Photo Gallery
(Click on images to enlarge)

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