The mosque was built on top of Kıble Mountain, the name of the mountain referring to the term “Qibla,” the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca that should be faced when a Muslim prays, in the Güneysu district of the Black Sea province of Rize.
The mosque was originally built two centuries ago but was destroyed in a fire in 1960. In 1963, a small masjid was built in its place. Erdoğan, who was prime minister at the time, visited the mosque in 2010 and ordered its restoration, based on a model of a mosque in Üsküdar, İstanbul, as well as the building of a recreational area near the new structure.
Attending the opening ceremony on Friday, Erdoğan said the mosque and the recreational space around it will also become a tourist attraction. He then released pigeons and grouses, one of which landed on his head. The grouse flew away after his bodyguards intervened.
As he opened the birds' cages, he told the journalists to take his photos and “let everyone see how environmentalist we are.”