Muscat’s main mosque is lavishly decorated with elaborate carvings, one of the world’s largest Persian carpets and colorful hibiscus flowers.
The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is Muscat’s main mosque and the biggest in Oman. Its gleaming white sandstone walls and vast prayer halls stretch over 103 acres (42 hectares) and can house up to 20,000 worshippers. Five ornate minarets and a central dome light up like a beacon at night, guiding visitors to this spectacular facility for Islamic faith and studies.
The mosque’s magnificent architecture was decided by a competition held by Sultan Qaboos in 1993. Construction took more than six years, with meticulous attention paid to the mosque’s beautifully decorated interior. Wander through the main doors, embellished with stained-glass windows, Islamic patterns and Qur’anic script.
Take in the serene atmosphere of the prayer rooms that are lined with white and gray marble and painted murals. Rows of classic Arabic arches are decorated with elaborate porcelain and timber panels, and sparkling chandeliers hang from the ceiling. An extensive library, seminar hall and the Institute of Islamic Sciences are also housed here.
Explore the mosque’s courtyards dotted with hibiscus plants and fountains and see the holy verses inscribed in the sandstone walls. The mosque’s halls and five minarets, which symbolize the five pillars of Islam, are decorated in the styles of different Islamic cultures, including Egyptian and Omani. The massive main prayer hall features a single Persian carpet. It’s the second-largest carpet in the world, with more than 1,700 million knots.
Visit the Islam Information Centre on the way out to learn about the Islamic faith and Omani history. Try some Omani dates and cardamom and clove-infused coffee at the center.
The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is located in the Al Ghubrah Al Janubiyyah area, approximately 16 miles (25.7 kilometers) west from the Mutrah Harbor. Non-muslims are welcome to visit the Grand Mosque any day except on Friday mornings during prayer. There is no fee to enter. As this is a place of worship, visitors are asked to remain respectful and wear modest clothing. Women are required to wear a headscarf.