by RIYADH AL BALUSHI
The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Sohar is a brand new mosque inaugurated in October 2016 and is located in Al Batinah region. If you are visiting this part of the Sultanate, then you must stop by and admire one of the nation’s most magnificent architecture.
The mosque is very different from other royal mosques and its design is inspired by Persian and central Asian Islamic architecture with a touch of Oman. The massive mosque has a large garden, three main entrances, four minarets, and a beautiful blue main dome. The mosque also uniquely integrates wood in its design in an artistic way that’s quite uncommon among Omani royal mosques.
The interior of the mosque is intricate with subtle colours. The Mihrab is not massive, but it is beautifully tiled in a turquoise and gold palette. The carpet has a horizontally-lined pattern, which makes it less artistic than the unlined carpet of the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Musct, but definitely more practical. The central chandelier looks magical, especially when lit. The main prayer hall accommodates up to 4600 worshippers. There is also a women’s prayer hall, which I haven’t seen, that accommodates up to 470 worshippers.
The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Sohar is meant to function as a cultural and social hub, and it has a public library, a couple of classrooms for Islamic studies, a multi-purpose hall for hosting cultural events, and a majlis for hosting social events.
Like all new royal mosques, the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Sohar is open for people of all religions to visit, free-of-charge, from 8am to 11am, Saturday to Thursday. Visitors of the mosque must dress modestly, with women covering their arms, hair and legs when inside the mosque. The mentioned hours permit non-Muslims to enter the prayer halls, but all other parts of the mosque may be visited by both Muslims and non-Muslims at any times. For example, it is permitted for non-Muslims to walk around the garden at any time of the day and it is permitted for non-Muslims to visit the library any day of the week.
About the Contributor: Riyadh Al Balushi is a blogger and contributor to Oman Tripper, where he writes about some of the best places to visit in Oman. Read more stories at OmanTripper.com.