Posted in Art & Culture, Islam, OMAN, Tourism, Travel

The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Muscat, Oman.

Among the most distinctive sights in Oman are the mosques lending it a well-defined character of an Islamic ambience.

The first mosque in Oman was built by Mazin bin Ghadoubah, the first Omani to embrace Islam, giving the shahadah to the Prophet Muhammad himself in Madinah.  Mazin, who was inspired by the prophet’s masjid in Madinah, built a mosque in his hometown Samayil which took the name Masjid Al Mudhmar, the first mosque in Oman.  From the first mosque till now, the rulers of Oman have always demonstrated magnanimity towards constructing mosque after mosque to serve the devout inhabitants of the country.

While on one hand Oman’s rich Islamic heritage is manifest in its old mosques, on the other hand the modern elegant mosques reflect the rulers’ vision of keeping the country abreast with the time.

In 1992, Sultan Qaboos of Oman issued an instruction to build a new mosque, the Grand Mosque.  The Diwan of Royal Court then held an international competition in 1993 to find the best design for the Grand Mosque.  A designed by architects Mohammed Saleh Makiya and Quad Design, won the competition.  Then the construction commenced in 1995, headed by the master architect Mohamed Saleh Makiya and Quad Design of London and Muscat. The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, located in Ghubra in Bausher district, was built at His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said’s personal expense. The long years that went into the construction of the Mosque complex are testimony to the effort and dedication that has gone into making it a true piece of marvel in marble, sand, stone and wood.  The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is a fine specimen of Islamic architecture. It was completed six years later and inaugurated by His Majesty the Sultan in May 2001.

The developed part of the site, including the fully consolidated areas and landscaping, covers 416,000 square metres. The Mosque complex covering 40,000 square metres is constructed on a raised podium in keeping with the tradition of Omani mosques that were built elevated from street level. This sacred platform is defined by the four corner Minarets each standing 45 metre high. The five minarets, including the main minaret, are symbolic of the five pillars of Islam. It can accommodate up to 20,000 people.

The whole interior of the Grand Mosque is panelled with off-white and dark grey marble panelling clothed in cut-tile work. Ceramic floral patterns adorn arch framed mural panels set in the marble, forming blind niches in a variety of classical Persian, pre-dominantly Safavid, designs. The ceilings are inspired by those of Omani forts. The mihrab in the main prayer hall is framed by a border of Quranic verses in Thulus kaht and a gilded ceramic surround. The dome comprises a series of ornate, engraved stained glass triangles within a framework of marble columns and a Swarovski crystal chandelier with gold-plated metalwork hangs down for a length of 14 meters. A major feature of the main prayer hall is the hand-made Persian carpet consisting of 1,700 million knots, weighing 21 tonnes and made in a single piece measuring 70 x 60 meters. From the design stage, it took 4 years to complete it and 600 women weavers from the province of Khurasan in Iran were employed. The magnificent main chandelier dropping from the central dome is made of Swarovski crystal and gold-plated metal work, like all other 34 chandeliers which hang along the wood panelled ceiling outer bays surrounding the dome. The main eight ton chandelier has 1,122 lamps.

The ladies prayer hall has a capacity to accommodate 750 worshippers. The walls are clad in pink stone specifically polished and embellished in the polychrome marble inlay panels.  The inner satin gives a subtle feeling with a Spartan cream interior that reflects a continuity of the exterior of the prayer enclave.

A retractable canopy, a lightweight shading structure, is designed to be attached to the roof to cover the sky when the shade is required in the courtyard.

A library and an Islamic Information Centre are housed in the mosque complex. The library has geometric carvings while the floral designs is used in the meeting hall. The library is well-equipped with a collection of 20,000 books and facilities like computers, Internet and photocopy machines.

There is a lecture hall with a capacity for about 300 people, which regularly holds lectures on different Islamic topics.

The Grand Mosque inspired the founding of a contemporary institute dedicated to advanced Islamic studies with appropriate educational facilities and accommodation. The Institute is situated to the south of the Mosque complex site

The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque symbolizes the spectacular array of traditional Islamic art and architectural styles that are set in a contemporary mode. The confluence of Ottoman, Mamluk, Islamic Indian Mughal, Iranian Safavid, traditional Omani and other styles of architecture, various parts of the structure confer on it a uniqueness that is hard to surpass by any modern piece of architecture. Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque symbolizes traditional Islamic architectural styles in contemporary mode and is considered as one of the finest mosques in the world.

The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is a tribute to the rich Islamic heritage which Oman deservedly preserves for its posterity.

The spectacular Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque at Ghubra, Muscat, Oman.


Posted in Art & Culture, Life, OMAN, Travel

Architecture of Muscat, Oman.

There are many reasons and attractions to visit the enchanting Muscat in the Sultanate of Oman.  The nature, culture, arts & crafts and people are among the factors attracts the visitors.  Muscat architecture is also an attraction; various historic forts and buildings are attractive to visit and explore.

Most of the buildings in Muscat has big carved doors, arched windows and ornamental railings either made from wood or metal decorates the building’s balcony.

Coral Hotel
Coral Hotel, located close to the beach at Qurm. This is a small 3 star hotel. It’s convenient as near to Muscat International Airport, beach, Government Ministries & Foreign Embassies and excursions in Muscat.

The Chedi
Situated on the stunning Boushar Beachfront in Oman, where crystal Gulf waters mirror images of glorious mountain ranges, The Chedi Muscat is an oasis of mysticism and luxury. Simple elegance, stylish furnishings and subtle bursts of vibrant hues, characteristic of traditional Omani architecture, distinguish an ageless charm, which the hotel exudes. Each of the 156 exquisite rooms and suites offer exclusive access to turquoise pools bordered by cosy cabanas, a water garden, and a private stretch of sandy shore.

Barr al Jissah Resort – Shangri La Oman

Consists 3 hotels spectacularly set on the Gulf of Oman with honey coloured mountain as a backdrop and a sandy beach and blue sea that each hotel overlooks.

Al Waha Hotel is 5-star rated is set away from the other 2 hotels – an ideal family hotel.  Al Bandar Hotel is 5-star rated too, is a more formal hotel ideal for couples and those who do not need child friendly facilities in their hotel.

Al Husn Hotel is 6-star, provides superlative facilities and services. The Al Husn hotels bedrooms are a spacious 56sq metres and the suits range up to 500sq metres in size. The hotel can offer butler service and its facilities are exclusive to guests.

Al Bustan Palace 

Al Bustan Palace Hotel is most outstanding hotel, located on a stretch of prime beach, in the cosy embrace of a mountain backdrop and beautiful views of the Gulf of Oman.

Al Bustan Palace Hotel is palatial grandeur having the royalty and head of states as the guests. The imposing Islamic ambience, unique design, culturally rich atmosphere and cascading crystal chandelier has created an authentic experience for guests.

The finest materials have been selected, sourced from premium local and international suppliers, such as mother of pearl, gold leaf, Thai silk, glass, coloured stones, marble, crystal and hand carved wood. The combination of exotic location, superb facilities and unsurpassed grandeur makes the Al Bustan Palace Muscat hotel a perfect venue for a pleasant as well as relaxing stay.

Set in 200 acres of lush green gardens, Al Bustan Palace offers 250 luxurious rooms and suites, each with its own private balcony overlooking the spectacular views over the Gulf of Oman.

Grand Hyatt

The Grand Hyatt Muscat is located on the exclusive beach of Shati-al-Qurum, overlooking sea of the Gulf of Oman, in the heart of the diplomatic and government district of Muscat in the Sultanate of Oman. Built using stone blocks in a combination of Omani and Yemeni styles, with exterior and interior decorated with unique Arabian jewellery accents, Grand Hyatt Muscat is a reflection of the refined taste and wealth of Arabia. Tall torches flanking the exterior of the building are lit at sunset, their radiant flames a symbol of eternity.


Posted in OMAN, Tourism, Travel

Muscat, Oman.


The Sultanate of Oman occupies the southeastern tip of the Arabian peninsula – 300,000 sq. km boasting some 1,700 km of coastline stretching along the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Gulf.  It has a population of 2.9 million people and about 30% of them are foreigners.  It is the second largest country in Arabia, and has the most diverse landscape including fjord-like rugged mountains in the far north, magnificent tracts of desert and a lush south.

An ancient civilization, Oman’s history can be traced back to 12,000 BC. The country is strategically located on the crossroads of several trade routes that linked the ancient world. It became a center of power in the 17th century with Omani rule extending from Zanzibar in East Africa to parts of Persia and Pakistan.

The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque

There are many beautiful designed mosques in and around Muscat.  Above are some of the mosques that you can see in Muscat.

Oman takes pride in its rich cultural and architectural heritage bestowed by hundreds of years of international trading and foreign occupation. Evidence of a glorious ancient past is spread all over the country which spread all over the country which boasts more than 500 forts, castles, and towers. Their diversity and numbers reflect the high standards achieved by Omanis in architecture.

Oman enjoys many unique features including an unspoiled culture and lifestyle traditional in almost every aspect. The people are friendly and offer incomparable hospitality. A rich variety of flora and fauna abound, together with panoramic beauty witnessed in its mountain ranges, deserts and sand dunes

Grand door is a common features in Oman; as seen at Al Harthy Mall Complex

A view of a popular public beach in Muscat.


Muscat is the capital and largest city of Oman.  It is also the seat of government and largest city in the Governorate of Muscat.  The population of the Muscat metropolitan area is estimated at 1,090,797 people.  The metropolitan area spans approximately 1,500 square kilometre.

Oman is developing country.  Rich with natural resources.

As an oil producing country, a common view to see the oil rig. Relic or monument of onshore oil rig at Qurum, Muscat.

The Muscat Gate Museum; situated on Al Saidiya Street, Muttrah. In the museum one can find displays about Oman’s history from the Neolithic times to the present days. The museum makes for a fascinating day trip to visitors, giving a deep understanding into the city’s sometime turbulent past. With informative displays about the city, one gets to see a special exhibit on Muscat’s water springs, the ancient wells, underground channels, the souqs, houses, mosques, harbors and forts. Visitors also get a wonderful aerial view of the city scenery of the Rocky Mountains and also the beautiful beach from the top of the museum. The Muscat Gate Museum opened its doors to the public in January 2001 on the site that was once the boundary of the city. It is housed in a fort-like building.

Governourate of Muscat is situated on the Gulf of Oman at the south part of Al Batinah coast. It is confined between Gulf of Oman and the mountains of AI Hajr Al Sharyi. The Governorate is the most populous area of the Sultanate. The average density exceeds 24 times the average population density in the Sultanate.  Muscat Governorate is considered the pulsating heart of Oman. It is linked to Port Sultan Qaboos by Muttrah Corniche where the visitor to Muscat can view the wonderful variety of nature: golden beaches, mountainous heights, and golden sand dunes (Bawshar Sands).

Perhaps what is striking about Muscat Governorate and its states is the breathtaking intermingling of ancient cultural heritage and modern style. You will see houses, gates, old markets, small shops, and winding roads redolent of authentic history, side by side with modern markets, shops, buildings, and streets stamped with modern architecture. This allows Oman to preserve its historic character, and at the same time enjoying its contemporary spirit. Muscat is renowned as one of the cleanest Arab capitals, and has gained the honour of winning the Cleanest Arab City Contest several consecutive times.

In Muscat and its wilayats we can observe this remarkable harmony between the ancient heritage and the modern contemporary features. You can see the old houses and markets, small shops and narrow roads, next to the modern markets, shops and wide streets. This preserves Oman’s historical and cultural identity on one hand and gives it at the same time the spirit of the age and modernization on the other hand.

Qurum Natural Park: The park is the largest in the whole of Muscat. The aim of building the park was to bring into use the natural and topographical features of the area to create an idyllic park for the visitors. The park is success story of its unique location and artistic design. The total area of the park is 17,15,449 square metre.

Muscat is the capital of the Sultanate of Oman and the headquarters and the administrative apparatus of the state. It is an old city that played an important role as a commercial station since the early ages of Islam. It is also one of the most important trade centers because of its strategic and special location. It is famous for Al Jalali and Al Mirani forts.

Muscat as a city has played a prominent historical role due to its strategic location.

The Governorate of Muscat consists of six wilayats: Muscat, Muttrah, Bowshar, A’Seeb, Al Amerat and Quriyat.

Al Seeb lies to the West of Wilayat Bowshar, occupying a narrow strip of  coastline along the rim of the Gulf of Oman for a distance of 50 kms. Its population is around 223,267 persons distributed among 24 villages and townships

Aerial view of As Seeb


Posted in Current Affair, Johor, Life, MALAYSIA, Today's Photograph, Travel

Today’s Photograph : The New Johor State Assembly Building, Kota Iskandar

The New Johor state Assembly building featuring a combination of Moorish and Andalusian architecture

Kota Iskandar (Johor state new administrative centre) is a 320-acre integrated development comprising Johor State and Federal Government offices, set amidst landscaped gardens and parks. Kota Iskandar’s milieu of state and federal government complexes within one area will contribute to facilitate the government machinery’s efficiency befitting the status of a modern and progressive administration. With improved facilities, connectivity and efficiency, the public sector administration will offer enhanced support to existing business within Nusajaya and to attracting companies that have greater positive impact on the economy and quality of life.

The components that will establish Kota Iskandar as the seat of Johor’s government are the Johor State Assembly, Chief Minister & State Secretary Complex, Dataran Mahkota Plaza and the State Government Departments Complex that will be completed during Phase 1. The development of the Federal Government Department Complex is scheduled for completion during Phase 3.

Kota Iskandar was launched by Johor Sultan Sultan Iskandar Ismail on 16 April 2009. Kota Iskandar will eventually house 76 state and federal agencies and have a total staff strength of more than 6,000. is a sprawling complex covering more than 130ha. It features a combination of Moorish and Andalusian architecture. The total development cost of Kota Iskandar is RM1.5bil and it will take several more years to be fully developed.


Posted in Art & Culture, Bamako, MALI

Architecture of Bamako

Architecture is the activity of designing and constructing buildings and other physical structures, primarily done to provide socially purposeful shelter. Architectural works are perceived as cultural and political symbols and works of art. Historical civilisations are often known primarily through their architectural achievements such as the pyramids of Egypt and the Roman Colosseum. These are cultural symbols, and are an important link in public consciousness. Cities, regions and cultures continue to identify and known themselves with their architectural monuments

As with most architectural traditions elsewhere, African architecture has been subject to numerous external influences from the earliest periods for which evidence is available. Western architecture has also had an impact on coastal areas since the late 15th century, and is now an important source for many larger buildings, particularly in major cities.

Sahel-Sudanese architecture initially grew from the two cities of Djenné and Timbuktu in Mali. The Sankore Mosque in Timbuktu, constructed from mud on timber, was similar in style to the Great Mosque of Djenné.

French colonial architecture was inspired by the much-admired local Sudanese style, with French housing and public buildings in Bamako and Ségou showing an interesting mixture of Western, Moroccan, and Sudanese styles.




The urban evolution of Bamako city, like most modern African cities, presents the dilemma of modernity and tradition. Leading factors of this trend are characterised by extension of the city through rapid urbanisation.