“Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays.” - Soren Kierkegaard
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The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque (Arabic: جَامِع ٱلسُّلْطَان قَابُوْس ٱلْأَكْبَر, romanized: Jāmiʿ As-Sulṭān Qābūs Al-Akbar) is the largest mosque in Oman, located in the capital city of Muscat. In 1992, the then Sultan of Oman, Qaboos bin Said al Said, directed that his country should have a Grand Mosque. In 1993, a competition for the design of the proposed masque took place.
The building contract was awarded to Carillion Alawi LLC. Construction commenced in December 1994, after a site was chosen at Bausher, and it took six years and seven months to build the mosque. The mosque is made of stone, with doors, windows and embellishments made of wood and glass. Around 300,000 tons of Indian sandstone was imported for the building. Five minarets have been built around the premises of the mosque: the main minaret (90 metres) in height, and the four flanking minarets (45.5 metres) are the mosque’s chief visual features from the exterior.
In the interior, the main musalla is the focus of both prayer and tourism. The prayer hall is square in shape and 74.4 by 74.4 metres has a central dome rising to a height of 50 metres above the floor. The dome is embellished spectacularly from the inside and it is a major tourist attraction in itself. The main musalla can hold over 6500 worshippers, while the women's musalla can accommodate 750 worshipers. The outer paved ground can hold 8000 worshipers and there is additional space available in the interior courtyard and the passageways, making a total capacity of up to 20,000 worshipers.
The mosque is built on a site occupying 416,000 m2, and the complex extends to cover an area of 40,000 m2. The newly built Grand Mosque was inaugurated by Sultan of Oman on May 4, 2001 to celebrate 30 years of his reign.