The Grand Mosque

It is hard to believe that this is our last day in Oman. The time has passed so quickly!! After our run to the desert, Richard and I decided that we would prefer to spend our time exploring Muscat on our own and we cancelled our last two days of tours with Khalid. So, we have been doing a lot of walking and exploring. Yesterday we walked to the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, which dominates the Muscat skyline. It was amazing and again the pictures will never do it justice. Construction began in 1995 and was completed in 2001 using 300,000 tonnes of Indian sandstone.  The entire mosque will hold up to 20,000 worshippers with a private prayer room for women which holds 750 ladies. We wandered through the ablution rooms where worshippers wash before they pray. The ladies chamber was impressive in it’s own right but it was not until we reached the general prayer room which holds 6500 worshippers that the magnificence of the structure became apparent. The persian carpet on the floor measures 60 by 70 meters and took 600 Iranian ladies four years to weave.  The chandelier located in the center of the men’s prayer hall measures a staggering 14 meters and weighs 8.5 tons. It holds 600,000 shining bright Swarovski crystals, 24 carat gold plating and took more than four years to complete. The marble pillars, stained glass windows, and handcrafted inlay patterns on the walls were jaw dropping. A definite must see when visiting Muscat.

From the mosque, we took a taxi to the National Museum. After our first taxi experience on our arrival to Muscat where we paid double of what we should have, we have become quite shrewd in our negotiations. We haggled with a few drivers to get our price and enjoyed a pleasant conversation with our driver on the way to the museum. The museum is quite new and shows prehistoric through to modern Omani artifacts, clothing, weaponry, pottery, furniture as well as relations with other nations throughout the world. It was quite interesting and another recommended attraction.

We took another taxi to the souk that we had been to when we first arrived in Muscat. We wandered around there for awhile, then along the waterfront and decided it was time to make our way home. We hailed a couple of drivers but none were willing to accept our price so we started to walk.  We knew we would never make it all the way back to the condo as it was about 25 kilometers. However, we did walk for about an hour or so before we finally grabbed a cab to take us the rest of the way back. We got home in time to take Cedrik to his swimming lesson and spent an hour by the pool watching the kids swim.

We have no real plans for today other than packing, laundry, doing some shopping and going to see Elena’s Christmas concert. Our time here is almost over and we are going to miss this beautiful family that we have come to know so well. They have shown us so much kindness that words cannot begin to explain. We thank you Lionel, Martina, Elena and Cedrik for a wonderful stay in Oman!!

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The Ladies Prayer Room.

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The Main Prayer room.

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The Ablution area for washing before prayers.  There are more than one in the Mosque and separate ones for women.

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