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Ismaili Centre, Lisbon

Encyclopaedia of Ismailism by Mumtaz Ali Tajddin

It was opened a $. 30 million Ismaili Centre in Lisbon on July 11, 1998 in presence of the Present Imam and the Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio. An 18,000 square meter complex of building and courtyards is set amidst a landscaped park off busy thoroughfares on the edge of central Lisbon. The edifice, which combines Islamic and Iberian architecture styles and is decorated with hand-painted tiles, has a prayer hall , classrooms, conference rooms and exhibition spaces. The Indian architect Raj Rewal and Frederico Valsassina of Lisbon have incorporated into the design of the Centre, a Manueline inspiration from Jeronimos Monastery and a diversity of Islamic architectural influences from Andalusia to Persia and Mughal India to Turkey. Domes are suspended on pre-stressed cables, whilst granite and steel in geometric trellises recall Islamic decorative forms but also provide structural support. Fountains and gardens of indigenous flora unite to furnish a refreshing environment, which reflects a profound Muslim concern.

One day before the inauguration, the Imam sent special message to the world Ismaili community, in which he said, "On Imamate Day 1998 another happy event will take place which is the formal inauguration of the Ismaili Centre in Lisbon, Portugal, by the Excellency the President of the Republic of Portugal, also among with the Ismaili Centres in London and Burnaby, Canada, this Centre in Lisbon will stand as a major edifice in the system of buildings, places and spaces for the use of my jamat worldwide. It is my hope and wish that the Lisbon Centre, like those in London and Burnaby, will be a proud and elegant symbol of our tariqah and will also contribute to desirable dialogue between different cultures and civilizations."

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