Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika on Monday laid the cornerstone for the Grand Mosque of Algiers, a $1.3-billion project that should become the world’s third largest mosque.
China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) was last month awarded the contract to build the huge monument, facing the sea in the east of Algiers, over four years.
The mosque will sit on 20 hectares in the Mohammadia area of the capital. Its minaret soaring 270 meters (886 feet) into the sky, it will hold 120,000 worshippers and feature a library of 1 million works and seating for 2,000.
It will also house a museum and a research center and become the world’s third largest mosque after those in Mecca and Saudi Arabia in Medina.
Algiers currently has three grand mosques: Djamaa el-Kebir, built in the 11th century; Djamaa el-Djedid, built in 1660; and the Ketchaoua, at the foot of the Casbah, also built during the Ottoman rule in the 17th century.