I try to seize every possible chance to visit beautiful mosques around the world. Any opportunity to visually feast on something so sentimentally valuable to me is greatly welcomed. I like to marvel at their magnificence while getting spiritually recharged. It is the perfect two in one deal.
After visiting Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, I was entirely convinced that no other will impress me as much, but when I wandered around the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in the Omani capital absolutely dazed in fascination, I knew that’s sheer beauty I was looking at.
Not to compare the two mosques, obviously each has its own distinct style and enough attention-grabbing details to set them apart. Both took my feeble little heart captive.
In 2001 His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Saeed Al Saeed gifted his nation this architectural spectacle to serve as a place of worship, and a forum for sharing Islamic culture and values. He led the opening prayer himself, in the hall that takes up to 6000 worshippers. The total capacity of the mosque is 20000 people, including the women’s prayer hall, large enough for 750.
“Don’t leave Muscat without seeing it” , was the advice handed over to me by a number of friends who have been there before. Only at the time of our visit did I realize why they sounded so impressed! I am glad they left the details out for me to personally witness though, and there were plenty of striking details to admire.
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The largest mosque in Oman.
The entire complex floor covered with marble slabs.
5 distinctive minarets, representing the 5 pillars of Islam.
Constructed on a raised podium in keeping with the tradition of Omani mosques that were built elevated from street level.
Covers an area of 416,000 square metres and the complex is built over an area of around 40,000 square metres.
An elaborate expression of Islamic Art.
The prayer hall’s wooden doors decorated with Quranic verses in the ancient Thuluth script.
A jounrney back in time, into a different place, through extravagant white marble arches and corridors.
The breathtaking men’s prayer hall.
One of the most impressive mihrabs that I have ever seen in my life. Framed by a border of Quranic verses in Thuluth calligraphy and a gilded ceramic.
The walls of the main prayer hall are covered with off-white and dark gray marble, and decorated with fancy geometrically-patterned gilded murals in a predominantly safavid style.
600 Khurasani women hand knotted the 60m X 70m single piece carpet in the main prayer hall for four years. Soft, pretty and inviting, it makes you want to sink your forehead into it in prayer, like, all the time.
Tall columns hold the ceiling embellished with traditional Omani woodwork high above the ground like giant marble fingers.
Qur’anic verses in Arabic Calligraphy, arabesque patterns, Persian floral designs, and stained glasswork, striking details from various Islamic eras are interwoven together in immaculate harmony to reflect the values of the Omani culture.
The central dome rises 50 meters above ground.
And of course, it’s all about the 14 meters long Swarovski crystals and gold plated metal chandelier. It is the two ton elephant hanging from the central dome in the room. It’s hard to miss not just for it’s size, but your eyes will refuse to blink once they have spotted and engaged in its exquisiteness.
34 smaller, but equally stunning chandeliers hang in the main prayer hall.
The library is another attractive feature within the building that I loved wandering around and exploring.
The library, handsomely built to fit the grandiose scale of the complex, containing over 20000 Islamic and cultural references and rare manuscripts.
The Northern and Southern passageways (Ruwaqs) carry designs from different Islamic eras and regions, such as Andalucía and Central Asia.
I can’t help but imagine the festive air that fills the place when packed in special occasions like Ramadan or Eid prayers. It must be such a sight to behold…
Have you visited the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat? What did you think?