by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda
With its marble minarets and golden domes, the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque dominates the skyline and visible virtually anywhere in the Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital of the Sultanate of Brunei. The main dome is covered in pure gold and the main minaret is the mosque's tallest feature in combination of Renaissance and Italian architectural style.
|(view of the mosque from Kampong Ayer)|
My family and I literally checked the mosque from every angle and count off the different places where we found postcard perfect views of this majestic mosque last September 2-3, 2011. Our first picture was when we were sailing around Kampong Ayer's Water Village
|(with my parents and brother Joel at the gate of the mosque)|
Named after Omar Ali Saifuddien III, the 28th Sultan of Brunei, the Masjid Omar Ali Saifuddien is an iconic symbol of the Islamic faith. The interior of the mosque has magnificent stained glass windows, Shanghai granite walls, semi domes, Italian marble floors and white columns. Since the inside is for prayer only, taking pictures is not allowed and non-Muslim females (like me,mama and AA) have to wear the abaya available at the entrance. All visitors are required to remove their shoes when entering the mosque.
|( with my whole family inside the courtyard)|
At the left side of the prayer hall is a door that leads to the courtyards and lush gardens full of fountains. Islam faith believes that mosque symbolizes heaven so it was built in 1958 with an artificial lagoon on the banks of the Brunei River and surrounded by a number of trees and floral. Across the lagoon is a bridge to Kampong Ayer and another marble bridge that leads to the replica of a 16th Century Sultan Bolkiah mahligai barge. The Sultan's mahligai replica was built to commemorate the 1,400th anniversary of Nuzul Al-Quran in 1967.
|(near the artificial lagoon)|
We enjoyed our tour inside this mosque that Saturday morning, since we missed seeing the inside of the other stunning mosque, Jame' Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque. The mosque is closed to visitors every Thursday and Friday and during the prayer time and we were lucky it fits well with our schedule.
|(right side of the mosque)|
Another great view of the mosque is from the Taman Sir Omar Ali Saifuddien (like our Rizal Park).From this point, one can have a good picture of the whole mosque showing the highest minaret and its elevator that goes to the top where one can enjoy a panoramic view of the city. It was closed when we visited and we couldn't find anyone to inquire about it.
|(taken in front of the Taman Sir Omar Ali Saifuddien)|
After dining at our
fave Jollibee (yes our Pinoy's fastfood chain), we were surprised to catch a good view of the mosque from the parking lot of the Yayasan Shopping Mall complex.Though a bit far, couple Jojo and AA posed for a picture!
|(couple Jojo and AA at the Yayasan Sultan Haji Hasanal |
Bolkiah Shopping Complex near the mosque)