Cambridge has always been one of my favorite cities in England. A short drive from London, Cambridge has so much to offer visitors. Recently the city of Cambridge added another incredible attraction, Europe’s first eco Mosque – Cambridge Central Mosque.
Cambridge Central Mosque has taken over ten years to finally open to visitors. After many years of planning, fundraising and building Cambridge Central Mosque finally opened in April 2019. This beautiful Masjid is very special and unique as it is Europe’s first eco- mosque.
The Masjid was designed by Marks Barfield Architects, who are known for innovative designs such as the London Eye and Kew Gardens Treetop Walk. The Masjid cost £23m to build. The Masjid had more than 10,000 donations, large and small, from private individuals and businesses to governments, with donors from Europe, Middle East, Asia and the Americas. Around two-third of the total, came from Turkey.
The Masjid was built with an emphasis on sustainability and high reliance on green energy. The Masjid focuses on the role of faith and the responsibility within Islam to protect the environment and the planet. The Masjid has used a number of strategies to do so, including using solar energy from the rows of solar panels on the roof. Another strategy is harvesting rainwater to flush the toilets and irrigate the grounds. The Masjid is well insulated and is heated and cooled using locally generated energy. The mosque aims to minimize carbon emissions even further as time goes on.
The Masjid fuses traditional and modern architecture, with a commitment to sustainability through its design. The Masjid is inspired by nature with tree-like columns engineered from locally sourced timber, spreading out likes branches and intertwining towards the roof.
Visitors first enter the garden that then leads into the atrium, which gradually moves into the prayer hall. The prayer hall is separated by an intricately decorated screen.
The Masjid can accommodate up to 1000 people. The mosque has dedicated areas for ablution, teaching and a children’s area. They also have community and meeting rooms. In addition they have accommodation for the Imam’s family and visiting scholars. Future plans for the Masjid include a community cafe and services including wedding ceremonies, funeral services and private venue bookings.
The gardens surrounding the Masjid were designed by specialist Islamic Garden Designer Emma Clark. The garden at the front of the mosque and provides a quiet transition from the city to the prayer space, with benches and a water feature. The plants selected for the garden ensure sustainability and biodiversity.
The Masjid is open to all visitors throughout the day. Visitors from all faiths, cultures and backgrounds are welcome to visit. The general visiting hours are from 12 pm – 7:30 pm, but the Masjid is also open during prayer times. The lastest prayer times can be found on their website. It is also worth visiting the Masjid in the evening when the wooden structures and garden are all lit up. We visited on a weekday afternoon and found the Masjid to very quite with only a few visitors. During prayer times or events the Masjid may be busier.
Guided tours and educational visits of the Masjid are offered by volunteers. Public tours run every Saturday at 10:00am and 11:30am. The tour takes approximately 1 hour. Tours run free of charge, but donations are welcomed to improve the visitor experience.
For more information about the Masjid check out their website – https://cambridgecentralmosque.org/
Getting There: The Mosque is located on Mill Road, one of the main roads leading into the city center. The Mosque is very easy to travel to from London. The drive takes around an hour and a half, depending on traffic. The Mosque has its own underground parking that visitors can use for free.
Trains depart from Kings Cross and Liverpool Street Station to Cambridge Station, taking around an hour. The Masjid is about a 15-minute walk from Cambridge Station. You can also take a bus from the Station to right outside the Masjid. The Masjid is also a 15-minute walk from the city center. There is also ample space for bikes if you are cycling by.
The Masjid is accessible with lifts from the basement parking to the main prayer room.
If you are visiting the Masjid it is worth exploring the rest of what Cambridge has to offer. Mill Road where the Masjid is located is a busy, cosmopolitan street home to many independent shops and businnesses. It is is a very diverse and vibrant street, with a range of different Halal places to eat.
The city centre is home to the incredible colleges of Cambridge Univerisity, which sit along the River Cam. One of the first blog posts I ever wrote was actually all about what to do in. Check it out if you would like some more ideas of things to do and see in this great city – https://thecoveredcompass.com/2018/03/14/covered-cambridge-england/
Final Thoughts: Cambridge Central Mosque is a stunning and unique Masjid situated in one of England’s most beautiful cities. It is definately worth a visit whether you are just passing by or stopping to enjoy the sights of Cambridge. The Majid is an example for us all to remember the responsibility we have to the planet that has been given to us as a gift. The mosque is a true landmark building for the city of Cambridge and its diverse residents.