Located on Potterrow in Edinburgh, opposite one of the University's worst architectural creations, the Appleton Tower, is the King Fahd Mosque and Islamic Centre. This fine building, by London architect Dr Basil Al-Bayati, represents a blend of Islamic architecture with occasional Scottish influences and is oriented on its site so as to face Mecca. The Mosque provides prayer facilities for some 1200 people and cost £3.5 million.
Opened on 31st July, 1998 by the Saudi Arabian Minister of State, HRH Prince Abdul Aziz, in the presence of the Saudi Ambassador, the Secretary of State for Scotland, Donald Dewar (1937 - 2000) and Eric Milligan, Lord Provost of Edinburgh, the mosque was named in honour of the late King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, who had provided much of the funding.
The project was dogged with difficulties taking some 20 years to reach fruition; Al-Bayati was the third architect to work on the building (appointed in 1987) and it lay half-finished for several years in the early 1990s when funding had dried up. Al-Bayati's scheme combines Islamic calligraphy with a chequered motif subtly derived from tartan. The complex includes an 18th Century building where surgeon Sir James Young Simpson (1811-70) established Edinburgh's first maternity hospital in 1855.