I once compared climbing the tower of the Gaddafi mosque to bungee jumping in Jinja. It was so dangerous but so thrilling at the same time.
I first climbed the tower in 2009 as a young girl unaware of my adventurous spirit. I remember escaping from school one evening to visit the biggest mosque that was the talk of the town.
Of course, it was still under construction at the time but I didn't care. That day, my friends and I walked to the mosque expecting glory.
Unfortunately, we were stopped at the entrance. 'You cannot come to a holy place dressed like that. It is unholy,' said the guard looking at our jean clad bodies.
'You have to cover yourselves,' he continued. So, we borrowed scarfs and whatever else we could to cover up.
And just like that, we were let in. We were entering a place that so many people only dreamed of visiting one day.
We had to dress appropriately before entering the mosque
Once in, I remember looking up at the building. It was so big. If I had a Facebook account in 2009, my status would have read...
...'most humbling day of my life' but I didn't know about Mark then so...
Anyway, the mosque caught my attention but it's the tower that stole my breath away.
It was so tall, yet so small. So magnificent, yet so modest.
At the entrance of the tower, there was a sign. DO NOT ENTER. STILL UNDER CONSTRUCTION.
But of course, being the eager teenagers we were, we got in.
After debating for about five minutes, hoping that a guard wouldn't find us, we began the trek up the tower.
View from the bottom of the tower (taken in 2016)
From below, it looked like such a black hole...leading to nowhere.
7 years ago, the tower did not have rails, and the stairs were so narrow. So, as you climbed you could see the emptiness below. With one slight misstep, you could come tumbling down.
Out of my 6 friends, only 3 got to the top standing upright. 2 of them literally crawled to the top. One in tears.
I can never forget the feeling of being up so high. The adrenaline rush.
First forward to 2 weeks ago...
After 7 years, I returned to the Gaddafi mosque to reminisce about the old times.
This time was different. We paid 10,000UGX as an entrance fee, were dressed in Muslim attires and we had a tour guide.
One thing remained the same, though.
It is still breathtaking. It stands tall, showing off its beauty inspired by African, European and Arabic designs.
Today, it is open to the public as a tourist attraction. I could not be more proud as one of its very first visitors.
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About the author
Hi, I am Angelica, a creative writer with a particularly intense interest in travel blogging.
After graduation, I started this blog to write about what I love to do...Travel. And occasionally, a few other topics.
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