>Travel Pictures


Grand Mosque

In 1992 Sultan Qaboos directed that his country of Oman 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 1995. Building work, which was undertaken by Carillion Alawi LLC took six years and four months. 
Foreign visitors are only allowed into the Grand Mosque (built by Sultan Qaboose to honor 30 years of his reign) at certain times.  Women are required to wear long sleeves, pants or skirts (no jeans) and hair covering.  We hadn’t packed appropriately for this, so we scavenged Bali wraps, old sweatshirts and camping blankets to accommodate ‘the look’.  The bizarre fashion statement we made was worth it – the mosque is stunning and a visual treat.   
The Mosque is built from 300,000 tonnes of Indian sandstone. The main musalla (prayer hall) is square (external dimensions 74.4 x 74.4 metres) with a central dome rising to a height of fifty metres above the floor. The dome and the main minaret (90 metres) and four flanking minarets (45.5 metres) are the mosque’s chief visual features. The main musalla can hold over 6,500 worshippers, while the women’s musalla can accommodate 750 worshipers. The outer paved ground can hold 8,000 worshipers and there is additional space available in the interior courtyard and the passageways, making a total capacity of up to 20,000 worshipers.  (

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 knots, weighs 21 tonnes and took four years to produce, and brings together the classical Tabriz, Kashan and Isfahan design traditions. 28 colors in varying shades were used, the majority obtained from traditional vegetable dyes. It is the second largest single piece carpet in the world.  
The chandelier above the praying hall is 14 meters tall. (

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