The first place we decided to visit in the Omani capital was the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. But we haven’t read much about the place before, so we just decided to drive there directly. It turned out that we cannot get in to the mosque at any random hour, there is dedicated slot for visitors. So we needed to come back at another day. Read our full review below to know all the useful and necessary details upfront your visit at Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque.
History of Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
In 1992, Sultan Qaboos bin Said, the then Sultan of Oman, directed that his country should have a Grand Mosque. A competition for its design took place in 1993 and after a site was chosen at Bausher construction commenced in December 1994. Building work took six years and seven months. The mosque is built from 300,000 tonnes of Indian sandstone. The newly built Grand Mosque was inaugurated by Sultan of Oman on May 4, 2001 to celebrate 30 years of his reign.
Things to see at Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
Ladies Musalla – Ladies Praying Hall
When we enter the main gate the first place that we can visit is the Ladies Musalla (Ladies Prayer Hall) that can accommodate 750 worshipers. It’s relatively small, as it is smaller than the Main Musalla, but in reality this was the biggest Ladies Prayer Hall that we could have ever seen in Oman.
Of course you need to remove your shoes and place them on the shoes-shelf before entering. Inside only a limited space of the carpet is available to step on, the rest of the area it’s only to view and they keep it unaccessible with fences.
Main Musalla – Main Praying Hall
The Main Musalla or prayer hall is square and 74.4 by 74.4 metres with a central dome rising to a height of 50 metres above the floor. The dome and the main minaret are the mosque’s chief visual features. The Main Musalla can hold over 6500 worshippers.
A major feature of the design of the interior is the prayer carpet which covers the floor of the prayer hall. It contains, 1,700,000,000 knots, weighs 21 tonnes and took four years to produce, and brings together the classical Persian Tabriz, Kashan and Isfahan design traditions. 28 colors in varying shades were used, the majority obtained from traditional vegetable dyes. It used to be the largest single-piece carpet in the world, but is now the second, after the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi.
This hand-woven carpet was produced by Iran Carpet Company at the order of the Diwan of the Royal Court of Sultanate. The carpet measures over 70 by 60 metres, and covers the 4,343 m2 area of the praying hall.
You need to queue to get closer to the 90 meter high Minaret and people all respect the rules and provide sufficient time for everyone to worship and / or take pictures of the Minaret.
The chandelier above the praying hall is 14 metres tall and was manufactured by the Italian company Faustig. Since the mosque is 90 metres high, the chandler looks proportional, but it used to be the world’s largest chandelier. Before again being replaced in this respect by the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi.
It weighs 8.5 tons, includes 600,000 crystals. 1,122 halogen bulbs complete with dimming system, and includes a staircase for maintenance within the chandelier. Thirty-four smaller chandeliers of the same design are hung in other parts of the building.
The outer paved ground can hold 8000 worshipers. There is additional space available in the interior courtyard and the passageways. Making a total capacity of up to 20,000 worshipers.
The corridors seem like a secure wall surrounding the mosque’s building and meet through the five minarets. That delineate the borders of the mosque’s location and symbolise the five pillars of Islam. The length of the north and south corridors is 240 metres each.
The corridors have been divided into halls, each containing a decoration and different patterns from a specific Islamic culture. It’s really worth walking through all the corridors. And admiring and learning about all the types of the Arabic patterns, they are all fantastic!
How to get to Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
The most convenient way to visit is using your own car. Other than that, you can get a taxi from the airport or anywhere in the city. Several bus lines (A1, 1, 8 & 12) also have routes that pass near the mosque. The nearest station to Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is Al Maha bus stop, which is 13 minutes’ walk away.
When to visit Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
For non-muslim people the mosque is open only on Thursdays between 10-11 in the morning. You need park your car at the visitors’ parking and from there to walk to the directed entrance. Where many organisers will guide you further. They will check your outfit if it’s in line with local laws and customs to enter the mosque.
This information was valid in July 2022. For more updated information about the most updated entry requirements, visit their official website.
How to dress to visit Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
You need to dress according to the required dress code in accordance with local laws and customs and wear respectful clothing. As a woman you need to cover hair and whole body. Your face can stay uncovered. As a man you need to cover shoulders and knees only. If you are not this way – that they check upon entrance, before entering the territory of the mosque – you won’t be able to enter.
For more information about the most updated entry requirements, visit their official website.
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