North Macedonia: Tetovo – Painted Mosque

This one was truly impressive and perhaps the first item on this euro trip that had a “wow” factor – the Painted Mosque in a small Macedonia town of Tetovo. Also known as Šarena Džamija or Xhamija e Pashës, the mosque dates back to 1438. It was constructed in an atypical at the time style of a hexagon instead of a dome with extensive flower gardens and fountains outside. In the 18th century a fire gutted the mosque and burned most of Tetovo as well. In 1838, the mosque was reconstructed and painted inside and out with amazing floral motives. The outside has fresco-like panels, while the inside is truly spectacular with very elaborate paintings and scenes from towns and even Mecca – a rarity in Islamic art. More than 30,000 eggs were used for the paint and glaze in the mosque’s interior. The mosque is tiny, but it undoubtedly should be a UNESCO site rather then some crummy church in France.