The Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque is considered as one of the most beautiful mosques in the Asia Pacific. This mosque is named after the 28th Sultan of Brunei, Omar Ali Saifuddien III, who initiated its construction and is considered as the Sultan who brought Brunei to its glorious days.
The mosque, finished in 1958, is a great example of modern Islamic architecture, which shows a mix of Mughal and Italian Renaissance architectural styles. Today it stands as a dominant icon in the city of Bandar Seri Begawan –capital of Brunei– and serves as one of its main attractions.
One of the most recognizable features of the mosque is its main dome, which is covered in pure gold. The mosque stands 52 m. (171 ft.) and can be seen from about anywhere in the city. In fact, its marble minaret is one of the tallest structures in the entire city given to the fact that in Brunei, no building should surpass the mosque’s heights since you should be able to see it (and hear the prayer) from anywhere in the city (if you’re in close proximity).
When you visit, you can take the elevator to the top of the minaret to have a panoramic view of the city.
I think what makes this mosque interesting is also its location. It is built in an artificial lagoon on the banks of the Brunei River, just by Kampong Ayer – the largest water village in the world, housing over 39,000 people (or about 10% of Brunei’s population). In addition, the mosque has a replica of a 16th Century Sultan Bolkiah Mahligai Barge in the middle of its lagoon. The barge was built in 1967 to commemorate the 1,400th anniversary of Nuzul Al-Quran (coming down of the Quran).
In my opinion it is a beautiful mosque and quite interesting to see. It is probably the most beautiful building in Brunei, and it is one of the most stylized mosques in Southeast Asia (or fancy looking, if I may say). Yet when it comes to the Islamic world, if you’re looking for really impressive mosques, there are many other mosques that surpass the grandeur of this one by miles.
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