En route, we saw so many Omani flags decorating the side of the highway. We both remarked on the overwhelming numbers of both white cars and white buildings everywhere. A view of the Royal Opera House that we were visiting after the mosque and which was also open for a couple of hours in the morning:
A view of the Grand Mosque from the wrong side of the highway; we just needed to figure out how to get there!
This building was located across the highway from the mosque and reminded us of our own Jefferson County's county office building known locally as the Taj Mahal.
One of the mosque's towering minarets:
Fatima joked there was so much Italian marble used in the mosque's construction it was like the Taj Mahal in India!
She explained that Muslim women pray at home. No children are allowed to pray in the mosque because they want to keep it clean. I wish I had asked Fatima at what age boys are permitted and welcomed to join their fathers in the prayer halls.
Fatima mentioned the mosque had five minarets to reflect the five pillars of Islam. One was taller than the others as there is only one God; the other four represent prayers, charity, fasting and making a pilgrimage to Mecca, the holiest of all places for Muslims. Laughingly, Fatima remarked the minaret was 'a sandstone skyscraper from India!'
The Sultan’s personal scribe had been responsible for the written inscriptions on this tallest minaret.
She laughingly said that as nothing is old in this mosque – it’s just a teenager as it was only completed in 2001!
The mosque was the tallest structure in Oman and nothing could be built taller than it. The marble floors on the outside areas felt soft and cool on our feet as we walked around the grounds.