I am from Constanța, I’ve past the Mosque Carol I hundreds of times, but I never knew I am allowed to enter and visit. I have climbed the minaret only last year, but I always thought that the inside of the building is reserved only for the men of Turkish and Tatar origin. I’ve heard many times, from different persons, that the women are not allowed to enter and I’ve never insisted. I thought the Muslim women are not allowed to enter either in the Islamic worship place. Wrong again, the ladies can recoil there without any problem, but during the service they must retreat to the balcony. The reasons are obvious, in the Mosque, praying implies bending staying on the knees, bending over and touching the floor with the forehead and in such a position women would represent a temptation for the men praying.
The Mosque built at the request of the king Carol I
The story of this Islamic worship place from Constanța is 105 years old. The Mosque Carol I was built at the request of the king who’s name it bears, as a tribute to the Muslim Community from Constanța, very numerous at that time. More than that, at the inauguration of the worship place, in 1903, the Royal family also took part together with the representatives of the Islamic cult from Romania. Practically, this is the only Mosque that bears a non-Muslim name. The believers call it “Kral camisi” or “the Mosque of the King”.
A beautiful building, with an imposing dome
The architecture of the worship place is spectacular. The praying room has a height of 14 meters and the dome a height of 25 meters and is beautifully decorated. This place is part of the historical-cultural and museum patrimony of Romania and is in desperate need to be rehabilitated. The interior is extremely simple arranged, by comparison with the ones of the Christian churches and it comprises only inscriptions from the Quran. The Moor style building, the dome, the vaults and the minaret are entirely made of concrete, this being the first building for which this material was used.
A big rug for a little building
I knew that inside the Carol I there is a very old and beautiful rug. When I entered, I saw that the rug is mostly rolled than displayed and I asked why is it staying this way. I was told that the tower of the altar, by the way it is placed, doesn’t allow the total display of the rug, so it can always be found rolled. The rug has actual historical value. It was given by the sultan Abdul Hamid (1876-1909) to the Mosque situated on the Ada-Kaleh island, before this Mosque had been covered by waters as a result of building the Hydropower from the Iron Gates. The dimension of the rug is 126 meters and it weights 490 kilos. It was realized by the Craft Center Hereke from Turkey.
The minaret, a touristic attraction
There are not few tourists that have the guts to climb the 140 narrow steps, spirally arranged, which lead to the minaret. While taking a resting brake, the visitors can notice that the walls of the tower are scorched and in need of rehabilitation. From the circular balcony, from where the muezzin calls the Muslims to pray, the ones that managed to climb all the stairs can see the sea and have a wider perspective over the old center of Constanța. Also, the wonderful dome, on top of which resides, proud, the half-moon, the symbol of Islam, can be observed closer.
The prophet Muhammed, the religion of peace and love
I’ve said it many times and I still support that we should never see as the same the Muslims with the religious fanatics which support religious fundamentalism and the globalization of terror, with the ones that commit numerous attacks all over the world. The Quran, the sacred book of the Muslims talks about a religion of peace. At the entrance of the Carol I Mosque, people can read the Farewell Sermon of the prophet Muhammed, which preaches peace, love, justice and understanding.
“O people, you have a right over your wives and they have a right over you. Treat women well, for they you have taken them only as a trust from God, and you have made the enjoyment of their persons lawful by the word of God, so understand and listen to my words, O people.”
”All people come from Adam and Eve, an Arab is not superior to a non-Arab and a non-Arab is not superior to an Arab, just as no white person is superior to a black one and no black person is superior to a white one, except in godliness and in doing good deeds. All Muslims are brothers. Don’t be unjust with yourselves!”
“Do not offend and do not hurt anybody, so that nobody would offend or hurt you. Remember that you will truly return to the face of God you will be asked about your deeds.”
If you ever find yourselves in the Peninsular area of Constanța, don’t forget to visit this Islamic worship place – The Carol I Mosque. It is a very beautiful building, a historical one. More over, in an area of a couple of hundred meters there are other 7 churches for different cults, reason for which the area has been named “the Confessional Octagon”.