I am a lover of symmetry, patterns and design and the arabic architecture of the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque gave me plenty to admire. The Mosque is in Muscat, Oman, and its white Indian sandstone stands out vividly against the stark mountains which surround the city. It is open to the public, both Muslim and non Muslim, in the mornings from Monday to Thursday and the only restrictions are that visitors are asked to wear appropriate clothing which covers arms and legs and women need to wear a head covering.
The ladies’ prayer hall is intimate and peaceful, while the main prayer hall is almost overwhelming in its decoration. There are ornate carved doors, tiled mosaics and Persian style niches. The carpet, which covers almost all the floor area is the second largest in the world and took four years to be hand woven in a single piece. All this is overhung by a Swarovski crystal and gold plated chandelier – the largest in the world, truly magnificent and perfect in its setting.
Outside we wandered at will, explored the colonnades and marvelled at the dozens of mosaic niches which tell stories from the Koran. Even the gardens were set out in straight lines with matching designs. Symmetry was everywhere and I loved it.