Muscat, Oman

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Muscat, Oman, a panorama of the site occupying 416,000 square meters (4,480,000 square feet). Three of the Mosque’s five minarets are visible in this photograph – the tallest minaret (in the distance) makes the Mosque the country’s tallest building.

Our first day in Muscat, Oman, was a Friday, the weekly “holiday” for the country, as it is the “Sabbath” for the Islamic religion. Therefore, most buildings were closed. The Mosque is very busy on Fridays during prayer services. Our guide on Friday toured the greater city of Muscat for us, including a chance to walk around the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. The following day we were able to have a quiet tour of the Mosque, with very good explanations of the building and religious practices by our local guide. The Mosque is notable in that non-Muslims are allowed to visit the Mosque every day except Friday, including the prayer halls.

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Oman. The Mosque is one of the most beautiful and extravagant modern mosques in the world.

The Mosque was built as a gift from Qaboos bin Said bin Said, then the Sultan of Oman, as a gift to the country (that he personally paid for). The story is that he started with no budget, but a goal of building one of the most beautiful Mosques in the world – NOT the biggest, which today is in Dubai, U.A.E., whereas the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat, Oman, is the second largest in the world. There was an international competition for the design of the Mosque, which the Sultan wanted to reflect both Omani and Islamic architectural styles. Construction lasted from 1994 through 2000, with the Mosque being inaugurated on May 4, 2001, to celebrate 30 years of the reign of Qaboos bin Said bin Said. The mosque is built from 300,000 tons of Indian sandstone.

The doors on the right side open into the women’s prayer hall, with space for 750 women to pray together.
When constructed, the central chandelier was the world’s largest chandelier. Thirty-four smaller chandeliers of the same design are hung in other parts of the building.
When the Mosque opened, the prayer hall had the world’s largest single piece carpet, hand-woven in Iran by 600 women over 4 years, with 1,700,000,000 [1.7 billion] knots.
An example of the mosaics in the Mosque, with a bookshelf below for copies of the Quran (Koran) for worshipers to browse in the 20 minutes between the call to prayer (5 times a day) and the beginning of the prayer service.
A side corridor in the Mosque, leading to the exit doors.

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