My first trip to Muscat was as quick as a snap because I came there for work. I had a quick half day tour of the city c/o my boss and one of the places we passed by is the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. He mentioned that it’s a must see and that I should dedicate my time exploring it. Years passed until one day, I was having a chat with my colleague about our project in Muscat and he encouraged me to go back to the capital and see the grand mosque. So there, that’s how our Muscat trip was born.
After checking out of the hotel, we walked our way to Muttrah Souq where the shuttle from Big Bus Tours was waiting for us. The morning schedule for pick-up is 9:00 and 10:00 in the morning. We took the latter time and in about 30 minutes, we arrived at the mosque. From the entrance, I could easily interpret their strictness when it comes to proper clothing. Ladies should not wear clothes that are revealing, and by that, it means wearing a head scarf and no short sleeves (tees are not fine, you have to wear long sleeve tops). One lady was not allowed to enter when she used her cardigan to cover her head because she doesn’t have a scarf with her. And there’s another one wearing a three-fourth length sleeve and was unable to get in. Men, on the other hand, are permitted to enter with shirts with short sleeves. However, shorts aren’t allowed.
Anyway, when we got in, my landscape architecture history was quickly refreshed. A falaj is running on an axis moving your eye towards a water feature and then to the main prayer hall whose dome was sticking out from the canopy of trees. Framing the dome is a line of Polyalthia longifolia (false ashoka or Indian tree). On both sides are huge lawn areas bordered with colorful flowering plants. There were also some topiaries shaped in balls and hedge.
We first entered the ladies’ prayer hall and although rich with intricate details, I felt a little disappointed because I thought it was the main prayer hall.
Then we passed by a series of polished pavement until we arrived to what looks like the main prayer hall. On the left is a huge arch that frames the Hajjar Mountains. On both sides are porticos with impressive mosaic tilework.
As we entered the courtyard, I saw an opened door from which I tried to catch a glimpse of what’s inside. It was dark and nothing can be seen except from the chandelier–the chandelier that grew bigger and bigger as I entered the hall. Oh. Wow. Oh. Wow. Repeat ten more times. I almost wept with blood with the beauty before me.
The mosque’s chandelier is of Swarovski crystals! Very, very lovely!
The Grand Mosque also brags its prayer carpet that is the second largest in the world.
There are 5 minarets in the mosque, 4 of which are of the same height, symbolizing the five pillars of Islam.
If you only have a quick visit to Oman’s capital, make sure you include the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in your itinerary.
Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
Sultan Qaboos Street, Al Ghubrah, Muscat, Oman
Open to non Muslims from Saturday to Thursday except during prayer times
Check out the rest of my Muscat Series: