Erdogan inaugurates construction project of grand mosque in Albania
TIRANA (Albania) - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and his Albanian counterpart Bujar Nishani inaugurated on Wednesday the construction project of a grand mosque which Turkey is financing.
The mosque will cost some 30 million euros ($34 million), and take more than two years to build.
It will be able to accommodate some 4,500 worshippers on an area of some 20,000 square metres (215,280 square feet).
Genti Kruja, a representative of the Muslim community in Tirana, said the mosque would be the biggest in the Balkans.
"We would like to finish (construction) soon, to make the gift to our Albanian brothers," Erdogan told reporters at a joint press conference with Nishani.
The mosque will be part of an Islamic complex in the heart of Tirana, which is set to house conference and exhibition halls, libraries and museums. The site is located near landmark Catholic and Orthodox cathedrals.
Nearby, a "museum of coexistence" will also be erected, Erdogan said, adding that it would act as "a symbol of religious tolerance".
Muslims make up 56 percent of Albania's population of three million. Catholics and Orthodox represent around 15 and 11 percent respectively, according to the latest estimates.
The three communities live together peacefully, without tension.
Turkish investments in the Balkan country amount to some $2.7 billion (2.4 billion euros).