June 2, 2011 – It was a fine Saturday with a blazing temperature of 45⁰C. Together with my family and two of our dearest friends, Gabby and Elena, headed to Muscat and had an enjoyable 15-hours getaway. It was actually a great way to spend the weekend!
The first stop of our journey is the country’s famous Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque located in Ghala, Muscat. This gigantic mosque has an area of 416,000 square metres covering the fully consolidated space and landscaping. The Mosque complex (covering 40,000 square metres) is constructed on a raised podium in keeping with the tradition of Omani mosques. It can accommodate 20,000 worshippers and consists of a main prayer hall, ladies prayer hall, covered passageways, a meeting hall, and library which will eventually contain up to 20,000 books.
The mosque also described as the crowning glory of Oman. When you get into the place, you will be amazed with the surrounding gardens beautifully landscaped in traditional Islamic style.
As you get closer to the buildings, you will find gilded murals in floral and geometric patterns that delicately decorated the walls. This is a basic signature in the arabic old times.
Old suspended lamps highlighted the hallways and patios creating a dramatic view and atmosphere at night.
The interior is constructed almost entirely of marble in colors of gray and off white. Tile work that are in various floral patterns add a sense of elegance to the many murals that are found in the hallways of the mosque.
The mosuqe has an entrance located on the left side of the hall with a series of symmetrical white stone archways. In this side, you can also find washing rooms for worshippers to cleanse their feet before praying.
On the right side of the mosque is another passageways. This directly facing the Muscat superhighway.
Another distinctive feature found in the area are minarets. At the center is a 91.5 metre high main minaret. This minaret and four others symbolise the five pillars of Islam.
You can just imagine how tall that tower is.
At the garden area is where you can see the other four minarets. A symbol of five pillars of Islam with a height of 45 metres high.
The interesting section of the mosque is the main prayer hall. There is an imposing wooden doorway carved with verses from the Koran provides access to the hall. Right on top is the famous golden dome.
The main prayer hall, which is called a musalla, can house up to seven thousand worshippers at once. At the center is the gigantic chandelier mostly made of gold plated metal work, and it is covered in Swarovski crystals.The famous Persian carpet is used as a prayer carpet. It is the largest hand-woven carpet in the world. Weighing over 21 tons, it took four years to complete.
The chandelier is another point of interest with a length of over fourteen meters tall.
The Grand Mosque is also used as an epicenter of Islamic learning. Verses from the Koran, framed in gold, adorn the walls of the prayer hall.
To farthest end of the prayer hall is the focal center that worshippers have to face while praying. They say, this wall directly points to Mecca, the holy land of Islam.
The mosque was indeed a remarkable masterpiece for Oman. This also a legacy of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, as a gift for his beloved countrymen.