Hamburg, Germany was home to a sizable Iranian population in the mid-20th century. In the 1950s, local Iranians decided to coordinate the construction of Hamburg’s first mosque to function as a place of worship for not just the Iranian population, but all Shia Muslims in the city.
The mosque was funded by collecting individual contributions from the Muslim community. The land was purchased in 1957, and a competition was held which featured submissions from three different German design firms. Schram and Elingius’ design was selected, and famous Iranian architect Hosein Lorzade was tasked with building the mosque. Construction began in 1960, and the structure was completed in 1965.
This center eventually functioned as a meeting place for Iranian students in Europe who were against the Shah. “Shah” was once the title for the dictator of Iran, but militant anti-Shah protests sprang up in Iran in the 1970s that quickly spread around the world, even to Muslims in Germany. The Iranian Revolution would soon follow, which toppled Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, also known as the “Last Shah”.
Today, the center continues to promote mutual understanding between Iranian Shia and Western Europeans, and dazzles visitors with its turquoise hue and serene reflecting pool.