Opposite the Galle Lighthouse, the Meeran Mosque (or Meeran Masjid) is a beautifully crafted piece of architecture that lies within the ramparts of the Galle Fort, serving the majority-Muslim population of the city. The space where the mosque was built is said to be at least 300 years old, but it was refurbished a hundred years ago into the majestic building that it is today. A devout Muslim by the name of Ahamed Haji Ismail commissioned the mosque to be built in 1904, hoping to provide a safe and beautiful space for prayer for those of the Islamic faith.
The mosque is built facing the direction of Mecca, Islam’s holiest city, using local materials and the skills of local stonemasons and carvers. There is a clear blend of Dutch-influenced design interweaved through the building, and it blends well with the surrounding architecture of the Fort. The interior of the mosque is a delight to explore, with dappled sunlight beaming into high-ceiling rooms through beautiful panes of stained glass windows. Italian-patterned tiles line the floors, and chandeliers hang from above. There is a large central prayer space featuring high windows and a sculpted arch, and a small, well-maintained lawn outside the mosque where worshipers congregate and relax between prayer times.
As when visiting any religious sites, respectful clothing should be worn. For the Meeran Mosque, visitors (and particularly women) should ensure that they are modestly dressed in loose-fitting clothes.