A majestic new mosque that took nearly a decade to build is holding its first afternoon prayers on Friday, in the Senegalese capital, Dakar.
Billed as the largest mosque in West Africa, the building and its grounds have a total capacity of 30,000 people – 10,000 inside and another 20,000 in its grounds.
Senegal’s President Macky Sall is expected to be in attendance for the inauguration.
The mosque’s name, Massalikul Jinaan, means The Paths to Paradise.
Its main building boasts five minarets, features a gold-leaf dome and decorations hand-drawn by Moroccan craftsmen.
Its construction costs are believed to have exceeded $32m.
It was built by the influential Mouride Sufi brotherhood, considered to be a pillar of Senegal’s reputation for religious tolerance.
Some believe the mosque is a symbol of the Mourides’ economic power, which over the years has helped them gain significant political and cultural influence.
In a country where 90% of the population is Muslim, this kind of architectural achievement is a cause for celebration to many.