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One positive note about the ongoing conflict in Iraq has been an increased desire by many Westerners, particularly Americans, to learn more about Islamic culture. For those abroad, the best start would be in visiting some of the breathtakingly beautiful mosques (some well known, some not) throughout the world.
One of the most holiest mosques for Muslims, and perhaps the best known.
With a staggering 3000 year history, this mosque has seem deities comes and go! At one time the mosque was also shared with Christian worshippers. It remains one of the most beautiful and significant mosques in the world.
One of the largest mosques in Egypt, if not the largest. Surprisingly, it is not visited often by tourists, but it is worth a visit.
Completed in 875, some details of this mosque are reminiscent of the Dome of the Rock, but it is a worthy site in its own right.
Spain's Islamic past is frequently on view in Andalusia, and this mosque with its incredibly colored interiors is a must see.
A marvelous example of a Persian mosque.
This mosque is also considered one of the oldest universities in the world--in fact, it was founded shortly before the city of Cairo was itself--in 971 A.D.
This mosque, completed in 1013 A.D., has managed to survive the Crusades and Napoleon's army, who left it in a rather bad state of disrepair. Thankfully, the mosque has since been restored to its former glory.
Esfahan's other famous mosque is known for its exquisite blue tiles.
Sometimes overshadowed by the more famous Blue Mosque that is right across from the Hagia Sophia, but was built by the most famous of Ottoman architects, Sulin, for Suleyman the Great (who was also responsible for the Hagia Sophia).