Old Kampala hill which rises gently to the immediate west of the city centre ten minutes walk from the new tax park, was the original for and capital founded by captain Fredrick lugard in 1890. In the old days, this hill used to be a place for many impalas and a favourite hunting spot for the British colonial rulers and that is where the city, Kampala, inherited its name from.
Enclosed within the oval old Kampala road the hill is dotted with a few colonial era buildings of Asian design now generally rather run down though some have been strikingly renovated. The hill is widely acknowledged as the stronghold for the Muslim community in Kampala and today possess one of the most important and largest mosques in Africa. The project was spearheaded by Idi Amin dada in the 1970s but got stranded when his despotic regime ended and was overthrown until 2006 when it was completed with funding from the late colonel Muarmar Gadaffi – the former Libyan president and thus named after him. When work on the mosque restarted after a 25 years delay Amin’s concrete monolith was demolished to make way for today’s magnificent copper domed structure.
This is one of the largest mosques in the world! It is actually the biggest in Uganda and only second in the entire sub Saharan Africa. It is because its importance to the Muslim faith and its majestic impression that a tour of the facility is highly recommended and features prominently on the list of things to do in and around Kampala. Gadaffi mosque tour is a must on a city tour of Kampala. While on this tour, ladies of different religious affiliations will be required to dress up like Muslims; veils, scarves, hijabs, skirts and long dresses will be provided so you can cover up before going into the hall.
It has two floors. The ground floor is the main hall which is open everyday for prayers while the top / upper floor is used when there is an event or on the important days on the Muslim calendar. The upper floor is separated into the balcony section for women and men go inside. The main hall is a huge carpeted space dominated by the massive columns that support the copper dome.
Inside the minaret, 360 stairs spiral upwards to reward those that brave them with a 360 degrees awe inspiring view of Kampala.
Apart from the fact that it is the National mosque of Uganda, this old Kampala mosque also acts as the headquarters and houses offices of the Uganda Muslim supreme council. It also has a conference hall and a radio station. It is arguably the finest religious architectural pieces you will find in Uganda and a visit here is a must!