One of the most spectacular mosques in the whole of Asia is the Masjid Omar Ali Saifuddin located in our neighbor’s capital Bandar Seri Begawan in Brunei. It is so spectacular that it is visible from any part of the city and its’ golden dome will mesmerize your eyes even if you don’t intend to look.
The awesome building was built and named after Sultan Bolkiah’s (the present monarch) father which was the 28th Sultan of Brunei. The name of the capital city was also named after him.*you don't believe me? - here!*
Come nighttime... this beautiful mosque transforms into an almost heavenly sight as the halogen lights hits its exterior walls. The dome, which is covered in pure gold, seems to be more brilliant and its green-lit minarets dominate the city’s skyline.
If you want to see what’s inside, you have to cross a marble bridge because the mosque is in the middle of an artificial lake. The grounds on the shores of the lake are full grand fountains and floral gardens. The words “too-good-to-be-true” is absolutely an understatement, believe me.
It is said that almost every part of this royal mosque was shipped from other countries – marbles from Italy for its floors, walls, columns & arches; crystal chandeliers and hand-made stained glass from England; carpets from Saudi Arabia and many others. The structure was finished in 1958 at the cost of $5 million dollars – that’s almost 50 years ago! Imagine how much it will cost to build it today.
Visiting hours: Sunday-Wednesday 8am-12pm, 1pm-3.30pm, 4.30pm-5.30pm. On Fridays: 4.30pm to 5.30pm only. Please remember that it is closed to non-Muslims on Thursdays.
The Masjid Sultan Omar Saifuddin -- Pride of Southeast Asia.
--Photo credit: Liz Barry
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