Number 2 of this week’s daily feature on 7 must-sees in Muscat is the astoundingly impressive and beautiful Grand Mosque, named after the Sultan of Oman who inaugurated it in 2001. If you’ve come all this way to Arabia, it would be criminal to miss this stunning piece of Arabic architecture, set in a vibrantly floral and peaceful landscaped garden.
The Grand Mosque is enormous, covering an estimated 416,000 square metres and being able to accommodate 20,000 worshippers. The central dome, just jaw-droppingly exsquisite on the inside, rises 50 metres above the floor, and from it hangs the world’s second largest chandelier (it was understood to be the largest, until a neighbouring Middle Eastern country measured it and built a bigger one!). And the mosque’s prayer hall floor is covered by a single-piece Persian carpet comprising 1,700 million knots which took around 27 months to make, covers 4,200 square metres, and weighs 21 tons.
Non-Muslims can visit the Grand Mosque daily between 8:30 – 11:00 am, except Fridays. Entry is free. Everyone who wishes to enter the mosque must have legs covered and long sleeves, and women must also cover their head with a scarf. I saw men being turned away for wearing shorts, so do heed this.
[Click individual photos to enlarge & scroll]