Oman! A Mosque Not To Be Missed
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
It’s not very often, check that, almost never, when a non-Muslim, female at that, are able to saunter around the world’s third-largest mosque. Open to non-Muslims only for a few hours in the mornings, Sabina Lohr took advantage with a guided tour through The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat, Oman, and shared her experience at InTheKnowTraveler.
I’ve never been, or will be, for that matter (but I don’t want to rule that out), in anything quite as impressive as what is described in the article. The ten-acre, finely-manicured complex of buildings, sitting in the middle of a one-hundred acre parcel of land, is said to be able to hold 20,000 worshipers. From the moment the pair stepped foot on the grounds they could see its shimmering, white marble paths leading to places described with such adjectives as ornate, impressive, and majestic.
The grandeur of the mosque’s main attraction, the men’s prayer hall, is that of wordlessness:
I froze immediately inside the door to stare at an eight-ton crystal and 24-carat gold chandelier. Photography is allowed here, but it was of little use. My point and shoot camera was not of the ilk to capture the majesty of that sparkling wonder. I tried to memorize it instead, as I do believe this was the only man-made structure that I’ve ever had to wrench my eyes away from in my life.
The white marble columns, intricately carved wooden doors, and domed ceiling were nothing compared to the centerpiece: a 21-ton Persian rug. At 230 by 197 feet, the narrow walkway visitors are allowed to use is covered by a blue protective mat lifted only during worship sessions.
Despite the marble, the columns, the rug, and the ceilings, the real magic to behold is when the hall, capable of holding 5,000, becomes so full of worshipers they “spill out of the prayer hall, carpeting the walkways outside with their prayer rugs.”