Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Mosques of Muscat

This blog post is not for the faint of heart.  It has a LOT of pictures.  As I drive around Muscat every day, I am fascinated by all the mosques I see.  There are a lot of them, and more under construction.  I have come to really appreciate the architecture, and think that they are all beautiful.  Okay, some more than others. :)  A couple of friends and I drove around Muscat for several hours one day, taking pictures of as many mosques as we could.  Believe me, there are many more we missed!
I tried to take a couple of pictures of each mosque.  One with the dome and minaret, and one close-up of either the dome or minaret. 
You will see that this bright royal blue is by far the most popular minaret and dome color.  Most mosque walls are white.

 The crescent moon symbol is very important to the religion of Islam.  Religious holidays are determined by the lunar calendar.

These pictures were taken in early May, after lots of rain.

              This all-white mosque in a little difficult to see, but it is in the middle of a block.

These minarets are especially pretty.  Most mosques feature minarets.  Before the five required daily prayers, a muezzin calls the worshippers to prayer from the minaret.  In many countries where Muslims are not the majority, mosques are prohibited from loudly broadcasting the call to prayer (adhan).  The adhan is required before every prayer.  (Information from Wikipedia.) But since Oman is Muslim, the adhans can be heard loud and clear from the loudspeakers in the minarets.  Once, I was stopped at a red light, between two mosques.  I heard the call to prayer in stereo!

It is hard to tell, but this dome and minaret are not as dull as they appear.  There is glitter in that gold paint! 

    The only black (or dark navy) dome we saw.
     This beautiful mosque is located on the Sultan Qaboos Expressway.
     This mosque may not be the biggest, but it is one of our favorites.  It warranted four pictures!

Most dome and minaret decorations are flat, but these had raised white lines.  Very unusual.  This mosque is located not too far from the American Embassy.

This is the only mosque we saw with lime green.
This is another mosque that warranted four pictures.  I had driven by this mosque several times, not being too impressed by it, but I only saw it from the side.  When we parked to get pictures, I could not believe how impressive the front was.

This is another one of our favorite mosques.  It is the only yellow one and the only one with a clock in it's minaret!

We tried very hard to get a better shot of this mosque.  Unfortunately, the best angle is from the middle of SQE.  I don't think the other cars would have been too accommodating.

This is the only dome we saw that was not smooth.  Beautiful!  Unfortunately this big truck was in the way.

 The same minaret, from two different parts of the street.

This is absolutely my favorite minaret.  It is on the Muttrah Corniche, close to the souk.


No, this is not a mosque.  This is one of the gates leading to Old Muscat.  The city used to literally be gated every night, up into the 1970's!

I think this mosque wins for my favorite setting.  Ocean and mountain views.

And here is the biggest and best mosque in Oman!  The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque.

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