Arriving At The Grand Mosque
As we travelled through the Middle East countries and the UAE (United Arab Emirates) we saw many beautiful mosques. The most beautiful one we saw up close on our amazing 10 week adventure was the Grand Mosque in Muscat, Oman. The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque was a gift from the Sultan to the nation. It is a stunning piece of Islamic architecture. This mosque was built in 2001 and was the most amazing in the world until it was eclipsed by the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. We were sorry to have missed that treasure when we visited Abu Dhabi.
There is much to do in Oman but the top thing on our list was to visit the Grand Mosque in Muscat. Our first view of the Grand Mosque certainly drew our interest.
Our taxi driver dropped us off at the main gate and waited for us. His English was not great so we got very little background information before arriving. His one caution was about my clothing. The cruise ship had cautioned about dressing conservatively in the Muslim countries. I came prepared with two long scarves to cover my head and legs but that was not going to be enough this time.
Our first stop inside the gate was at a shop set up to deal with clothing needs. You could rent or buy a full covering. For less than $20 I could get an outfit that would address my needs for this visit and others.
There is a long list of rules for entering the Grand Mosque in Muscat. Make sure to review them and be prepared. There was no entrance fee.
The Grand Mosque From The Outside
We wandered slowly around the grounds of the Grand Mosque in Muscat. The buildings were built from Indian sandstone. The property was well treed with the buildings nestled in the foliage.
There were two mosque buildings, one for women and one for men. The outside of the buildings was detailed with intricate carvings. Arched porticos ran along each side of the mosque houses. Make sure you look up to see the intricate detail.
From various points we could see the richly decorated minarets. The 5 minarets define the limits of the site and represent the 5 pillars of Islam. We did not hear a call to prayer when we visited. Each of the mosque’s minarets has an observation deck. If you walk up one of them you will get a panoramic view of the grounds. On this visit, we missed this opportunity.
The Woman’s Prayer Room
The women’s prayer room at the Grand Mosque in Oman is an open hall. It holds 750 worshippers at one time. It is much smaller than the main mosque because most women pray at home.
Be prepared to go barefooted inside the halls. Shoes are not allowed. There are plenty of cubby holes around the buildings to leave your shoes. Don’t forget where you leave them!
Inside you can admire the intricately carved wooden doors and ceiling. Stained glass panels were in the ceiling above the doors. Hand-carved panels decorated with stained glass surround the room.
The chandeliers in the woman’s prayer room are much simpler than those we found in the main mosque.
The Main Hall at the Grand Mosque
The main hall was of the Grand Mosque in Oman was large. The walls are white and grey marble. The floor was covered in an intricate carpet. It took 600 Iranian women 4 years to make and is still the second largest hand-woven rug in the world. Along each wall you will decorated alcoves complete with stained glass windows. The large open area was supported by columns.
The centre piece of the main hall is the massive beautiful chandelier that hangs in the centre of the dome. This was the former Guinness world record holder of Largest Chandelier in the World. It weighs 1/2 ton and measures 14 metres.
There are other chandeliers around the main hall and along the outer corridors on each side. While not as large as the main chandelier, they were equally detailed and stunning.
Everywhere you look in the main hall of the Grand Mosque in Oman there is beauty and art to see.
Don’t Pass on a Visit to the Grand Mosque in Muscat, Oman
If you are in Muscat, do not pass on seeing this awesome structure. It was a highlight of the things to see and do in Oman.
The Grand Mosque in Oman is stunning in detail and artistry. Plan to visit early in the day and you will even find it to be a quiet refuge. Check on the rules and be prepared. You would not want to be turned away. Consider hiring a guide to take you through the mosque. We picked up some of the history and details as we wandered but I am sure we missed some treasures being on our own.
Had we not been “mosqued out”, we would have planned to visit the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi on our coming visit to the UAE. But we will leave that treat for another visit.
Have you visited the Grand Mosque in Oman? What was your favourite treat in this beautiful structure?