Mangalem Quarter

Area in Berat

Down in the traditionally Muslim Mangalem quarter, there are three grand mosques: the Sultan's Mosque, the Lead Mosque and the Bachelors' Mosque. All are worth a visit and each has its own idiosyncratic design and history.

The 16th-century Sultan's Mosque is one of the oldest in Albania. The Helveti teqe (a place of worship for those practising the Bektashi branch of Islam) behind the mosque has a beautiful carved ceiling and was specially designed with acoustic holes to improve the quality of sound during meetings. The Helveti, like the Bektashi, are a dervish order, or brotherhood, of Muslim mystics.

The big mosque on the town square is the 16th-century Lead Mosque, so named because of the lead coating its sphere-shaped dome. The 19th-century Bachelors' Mosque is down by the Osumi River. This mosque was built for unmarried shop assistants and junior craftsmen, and is perched between some fine Ottoman-era shopfronts along the river. At the time of research it was closed for renovations.