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Mosques in Pettah and Kotahena

Mosques in Pettah and Kotahena

Islam was brought to Sri Lanka by Arab traders in the 7th century. These merchants, who dominated much of the trade on the Indian Ocean, gradually settled in its port cities. Of these, Colombo has a significant Muslim population, with many living in the Pettah and the neighboring suburb of Kotahena to the northeast. Consequently, the area is dotted with mosques of all sizes.

Located north of Main Street, the main thoroughfare in Pettah, is the Jami-ul-Alfar Mosque. Built in 1909, the mosque has striking, red-and-white brick exterior. A short distance southeast from the Jami-ul-Alfarlies the more traditional Hanafi Mosque, which is the principal Memonmosque in Sri Lanka. Further East, Main Street leads to New Moor Street in Kotahena, where the large but relatively austere Grand Mosque stands. The most important mosque in Sri Lanka, this is where decisions affecting the island’s Muslim population are made. This mosque was constructed in 1826, but further addition were made to the building in 1897.