Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat
The impressive Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat is the main mosque in the Sultanate of Oman. This was my first taste of Oman on a recent organised tour of Oman – in fact I didn’t even get a chance to go to the hotel after landing in the blistering Arabian heat.
This is one of the largest mosques I’ve visited and covers around 416,000 square metres including the grounds and it is also one of the more modern I’ve seen in the sense that it was built at the end of the 1990s and then inaugurated in 2001 by the Sultan.
About 20,000 worshippers can pray in Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. There is a main prayer hall as well as one for the ladies.
There are also some cool covered arcades (riwaq) which allow transition between interior and exterior spaces providing shade from the sun. There is also a meeting hall as well as a large library.
This beautiful mosque is mix of contemporary Islamic and classical Persian styles and is built using off-white and dark grey marble with cut tile work.
As with other mosques I’ve been too, the ‘mihrab’ in the main prayer hall is framed by Quranic verse and a gilded ceramic surround. The ‘mihrab’ indicates the ‘qibla’, or in other words, the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca and therefore the direction to face when praying.
Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque has the world’s second largest single piece of carpet. The hand-made Persian carpet weighs 21 tonnes and measures 70m x 60m, and apparently has a staggering 1,700 million knots. It took 600 female weavers from Iran 4 years to weave it.
The dome at the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque has a series of ornate, engraved stained glass windows within a framework of marble columns. And as if the carpet wasn’t enough, the main prayer hall also has one of the largest chandeliers in the world too. The Swarovski crystal chandelier hanging above the main prayer hall is 14m tall.