Palm Tree Mosque
Tucked in among restaurants, clubs and stores in Cape Town’s fashionable Long Street is one of the city’s most enduring and historical spiritual spaces: the Palm Tree Mosque.
Situated in the oldest substantially unchanged building in Long Street, in a converted house on the corner of Leeuwen Street, the Palm Tree Mosque is South Africa’s second-oldest Muslim place of worship.
It was established as a mosque in the early 19th century after the property was bought in 1807 by freed slaves Jan van Boughies and Frans van Bengalen, who had broken away from the Auwal Mosque, situated a block away in Dorp Street and which is also still in operation today.
When Van Boughies died, at the ripe old age of 112, he left the property to his widow, Samida, but stipulated that the property continue to be operated as a mosque.
The garden in front of the mosque, which boasted a pair of palm trees, is long gone but one of the trees remains, testament to the mosque’s unusual name and a clear indicator of its position in Long Street.
Interestingly, the door and windowsill of the mosque appear to be truncated, and low to the ground. But this was not deliberate – instead, Long Street itself has been raised over the years.
- Physical Address: 185 Long Street, Cape Town
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