Ramadan in Muslim Europe

“Look! It’s Dino Merlin,” whispers the man beside me. A well groomed white man in his early 50s wanders into Sarajevo’s Gazi Huzrev Beg Mosque courtyard and half sits, half leans against a large stone block. He is wearing stylish sunglasses and regatta-chic clothes. Nobody bats an eyelid. People are too busy listening to the quranic …

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Sinan’s Moldovan Military Masterpiece

It was on this day in 1489 a boy called 'Joseph' was born to a Christian family in the heart of Anatolia (Turkey). He would grow up to change the face of Europe forever, not as a Christian though, but as the greatest Muslim architect the world has ever seen. Ko'ca Mimar Sinan Aga - to give him …

The Baltic Islamic trail

Islam in the Baltic has a surprisingly long history. There is evidence of Muslim travellers and geographers appearing in the area as early as the tenth century. However beyond the odd adventure or mapping exercise, the Baltic held little interest for them. The first real Muslim community is established in the 14th century in southern Lithuania, east …

The Christian boy who ruled the Muslim world

“Go to Mangalia, which is the Kaaba Mecca of the wandering poor people!” I had expected many things from the little Esmahan Sultan Mosque in Mangalia, south east Romania, but a comparison to Islam's holiest city was not one of them. "The Esmahan Sultan Mosque was built in 1573 ... in memory of Solyman II, one of the …

From popular Indo-Muslim game to Baltic obsession; the story of Novuss

Novuss is the national game of Latvia; Koroona is the national game of Estonia - same game, two names. That's not the only unusual thing about this 'gaming double agent', royal Indian ancestry has been mentioned too. Guest writer, Geoff Chester explains ... Around the middle of the nineteenth century, in British-ruled India, a game played on …

Lithuania’s Forgotten Love Minaret

If you didn't know it was there, you'd never find it. The old dirt path that crosses the railway tracks leads only to a blue tourist sign that says "50m" and points left towards what seem to be just a load of trees. There are no other clues that anything is here.  Passengers stand on the platform at …

Top five places to connect with Europe’s Muslim Heritage

As interest in the Muslim heritage of Europe grows, more and more of us are looking for places to connect with the continent's Islamic past (and present). This list handpicks the five ideal destinations to do just that. Each entry has been included for its historical significance as well as its ability to offer the visitor something special. They come with …