We visited the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat, Oman, on a trip from our cruise on the Serenade of the Seas. This is an absolutely fantastic building, completed in 2001, and it was well worth having to be covered from head to toe before being allowed to enter.
The mosque’s total capacity is 20,000 worshipers, with 6,500 of these in the main prayer room and the whole mosque covers a total area of about 416,000 square metres. The mosque’s prayer hall floor has a single piece Persian carpet which took over two years to make, it covers an area of 4,200 square metres and weighs over 20 tons! As visitors we were permitted to walk only in certain areas but could appreciate this great carpet and the crystal chandeliers hanging from the high ceilings. I have visited various mosques in Asia but this was much more elaborate.
The marble floors in the areas surrounding the main prayer room were cool to walk on and the outside corridors had alcoves decorated with attractive mosaics. The area around the mosque is landscaped with grass and trees and I would certainly recommend a visit if you are in Oman. I would just make the proviso that they are the strictest mosque I have visited regarding being covered up – down to the wrists rather than elbows, hair completely covered and men cannot wear shorts. Also, as far as I could see, the only toilets are down a steep flight of stairs – I could see none for the disabled but I did not ask. The mosque is open to non Muslims every day, except Friday, from 8:30 until 11:00 am. I suggest getting there fairly early as it can be crowded though it is so large that this does not really matter.