When travelling to Brunei, it is hard not to miss the magnificent architectural sight of the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque.
Located in the capital Bandar Seri Begawan, the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque serves as a symbol of Islamic faith in Brunei.
Considered one of the most beautiful mosques in the Asia Pacific, here are some fun facts about the majestic building.
Who is Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin?
The Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque was named after the 28th Sultan of Brunei. Known as The Architect of Modern Brunei, he was the one who initiated the construction of the mosque.
Sultan Sir Muda Omar Ali Saifuddien III ruled from June 4th, 1950 until his voluntary abdication from the throne on October 5th, 1967. He was replaced by his eldest son, Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah.
When was it built?
Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque was built between 1954 and 1958. It was designed by A.O Coltman of Booty and Edwards Chartered Architects of UK, based in Malaysia at the time.
The mosque, a blend of Western and oriental architecture is surrounded by a breathtaking landscape, making it the best spot for selfies and sketching activities.
While you cannot take pictures inside the mosque, its interior is equally dazzling. The floor and walls are made from marble columns with stained glass windows and beautiful carvings. The granite is said to be from Shanghai, the chandeliers from England, and the carpets from Saudi Arabia and Belgium. The doors of the mosque were made from timber imported from the Philippines.
It is said that the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque can accommodate up to 3,000 people at a time.
Is that a gold dome?
Yes it is!
Made of pure gold, the gold domes are one of the most prominent features of the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque.
The domes contain 3.3 million fragments of Venetian mosaic, over a surface of 520m².
Apart from the gold dome, another exquisite feature of the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque is the main minaret. It reaches a height of 52 metres, offering a great view of the city.
Why is there a boat in the middle of the lake?
In the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque courtyard, you can see a ceremonial barge or mahligai.
The ceremonial barge is placed in the middle of an artificial lagoon on the banks of the Brunei River at Kampong Ayer.
It is a replica of a 16th century royal barge of Sultan Bolkiah, who was the 5th ruler of Brunei.
The royal barge was used by the then Sultan in his maritime exploits in the old days.
Completed in 1967, the barge was built to commemorate the 1, 400th anniversary of Nuzul Al-Quran (also known as Quran Revelation Day). It was also once used for Quran reading competitions.
Can a non-muslim visit the mosque?
Visitors are allowed to visit the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque during non-praying time. The mosque is open from Saturday to Wednesday from 8.30 am to noon, 1.30 to 3 pm and 4.30 to 5.30 pm and closed on Thursday and Friday.
So, if you plan on visiting the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque, remember to remove your footwear and dress appropriately!