The Great Mosque in the capital of Oman is one of the largest Islamic places of worship in the world and may also be entered by non-Muslims. The splendour behind the majestic walls is definitely worth a visit!
There are not many mosques in the world that are open to non-Muslims, and the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is one of them. It is also one of the largest mosques in the world. The opening hours of the Sultan Qaboos Mosque in Muscat are daily in the morning (except Friday).
In the Sultan Qaboos Mosque, even the two prayer halls, strictly separated for men and women, may be entered by non-Muslims - a privilege unparalleled anywhere in the world. A visit to the magnificent hall is not to be missed!
The decision to build the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque was taken in 1992. Construction began in 1995 in the then almost uninhabited district of Bowshar, and the opening took place 6 years later on 4 May 2001.
For its construction, 300,000 tons of light-coloured sandstone from India were used. The magnificent building was completed in 2001 and offers space for about 20,000 worshippers (6,000 inside the mosque and 14,000 on the prayer square in the courtyard) - an absolutely impressive example of Islamic architecture.
Visit to the Great Mosque of Muscat
Anyone approaching the Sultan Qaboos Mosque is immediately captivated by its monumental dimensions and impressive aura. The main minaret of the Great Mosque of Muscat, visible from afar, is almost 100m high. Four other minarets, each 45m high, rise at the four corners of the compound - together they stand for the five pillars of Islam.
Visiting the Sultan Qaboos Mosque is possible for non-Muslims Saturday to Thursday from 8:00 to 11:00. The mosque cannot be visited on Fridays! Before entering, shoes should be placed on the shelves at the side of the entrance.
On the way inside the Sultan Qaboos Mosque
Directly after the main entrance on the right is the three-storey public library with around 20,000 volumes on various subjects. On the left is the Islamic Information Centre, the so-called Madrasa, with an event hall.
For those interested in religion, there are lectures on Islam in English here every second Sunday. This is another goal of the mosque, namely to spread the Islamic religion and promote Islamic culture and literature.
Gigantic prayer rug
The large men's prayer hall is square and measures approximately 75 by 75 metres. It can hold up to 6,000 worshippers. A gigantic prayer rug measuring around 4,300 square metres (70m x 60m) is laid inside. It is a masterpiece of Iranian carpet weaving, which, due to its enormous size, was made in 58 individual parts, as no weaving loom could have mastered these dimensions.
Six hundred carpet weavers were busy making these individual pieces for four years. The carpet weighs a voluminous 22 tonnes and consists of an incredible 1.7 billion knots. Until the inauguration of the Sheikh Zayid Mosque in Abu Dhabi, it was the largest Persian carpet in the world.
People of other faiths or non-believers are not allowed to enter the prayer rug. Therefore, during visiting hours, a blue runner is laid on the carpet, which one is not allowed to leave under any circumstances.
The second largest chandelier in the world
In the middle of the richly decorated wooden ceiling, one of the largest chandeliers in the world is emblazoned in a 50-metre-high dome. It is 15 metres high, 8 metres wide, carries 1,122 lamps, is richly decorated with Swarovski crystals and weighs 8 tonnes. The chandelier in the Sheikh Zayid Mosque in the neighbouring Emirate of Abu Dhabi is of similar dimensions. This one is even 2 metres wider. 11 other chandeliers complete the pleasant illumination of the huge prayer hall.
The Women's House of Prayer
The prayer hall for women is comparatively modest with a capacity of 750 worshippers. But here, too, every visitor is amazed by the gilded crystal chandeliers, the carved wooden ceiling and the huge video screen on which the prayer is broadcast from the men's prayer hall.