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Tag Archives: Muscat

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.



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.


Today’s Photograph : Back to School


Khanjar, the Omani dagger.

The Arab world has always been famous for its weapons.  Swords and daggers, are no longer in use as weapons, but in the Arab world they are still popular as ceremonial ornaments—especially the khanjar, the famous curved Arab dagger.

The khanjar, with its layers of silver and gold and its gem-studded scabbard, is often the most striking part of a man’s attire at formal dinners, weddings or important civic or military events. Khanjar, Arabic for dagger, can vary in size, style, and design according to Oman’s different regions – not to mention the price.

Khanjar is piece of art that capture the soul of Oman, symbol of manhood, courage and tradition.  The curve of the Omani dagger distinguishes it from daggers elsewhere. The sheath has a right angle bend. It’s ornate work is among the finest in Arabia.

It can take up to a month to make a quality khanjar and craftsmen adhere to the regional designs handed down from generation to generation.  An Omani dagger consists of three parts the hilt, the sheath and the blade.

The khanjar comes in three basic styles or designs – the Sa’idiyah, Dakhliyah (Omaniyah) and Sharqiyah (Suriyah), but they have numerous variations derived from personal choice and contemporary trends. The Sa’idiyah khanjar has a narrow hilt and is the largest and most expensive, while the Dakhliyah khanjar has a very wide handle and a sheath of ivory or horn worked with silver.  Variations such as the one called Nizwa use a silver T-shaped hilt while the Sur khanjars are smaller in size and use gold instead. Some are finer than others.

The khanjar is a distinguishing feature of the Omani personality as well as an important symbol of male elegance. It is traditionally worn at the waist. Shal, a long strip of cloth acts as a holder for the khanjar.  Belts also used to support Khanjar, of locally made webbing, sometimes interwoven with silver thread or belts of leather covered by finely woven silver wire with handsome silver buckles, and a knife with an ornate handle of silver thread is often stuck into a simple leather pouch behind the sheath.

The more expensive sheaths are of woven gold thread or a combination of gold and silver. But there are also the simpler ones made of plain leather with some silver worked into it. The mark of a good sheath are its inlaid silver rings – the maximum is seven rings of which two are used to hold the belt and five through which strands of thread are woven as ornamentation. There is no special significance attached to the number of rings on a khanjar, It depends on personal preference, but it is a status symbol as the rings are expensive and usually a wealthy wearer sports seven rings. The blade of a khanjar is also an indication of its worth; old blades are never discarded but worked into a new one.

Once worn in self-defence, today, the khanjar is a fashion accessory and a prestige item much in demand.