Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque is a royal Islamic mosque located in Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital of the Sultanate of Brunei. The mosque is one of the most spectacular mosques in the Asia Pacific and a major landmark and tourist attraction of Brunei.
Named after Omar Ali Saifuddien III, the 28th Sultan of Brunei, the mosque as a symbol of the Islamic faith in Brunei dominates the skyline of Bandar Seri Begawan. The building was completed in 1958 and is an impressive example of modern Islamic architecture.
The mosque unites Mughal architecture and Italian styles. The plans were done by Booty and Edwards Chartered Architects according to designs by the Italian architect Cavaliere Rudolfo Nolli, who had already for decades been working at the gulf of Siam.
The mosque is built in an artificial lagoon on the banks of the Brunei River at Kampong Ayer, the “village in the water”. It has marble minarets and golden domes with courtyards and lush gardens full of fountains. The mosque is surrounded by a plethora of trees and floral gardens which in Islam symbolize heaven. A bridge reaches across the lagoon to Kampong Ayer in the middle of the river. Another marble bridge leads to a structure in the lagoon meant as a replica of a 16th Century Sultan Bolkiah mahligai barge. It was built to commemorate the 1,400th anniversary of Nuzul Al-Quran (coming down of the Quran), completed in 1967 and used to stage Quran reading competitions.
The mosque’s most recognizable feature, the main dome, is covered in pure gold. The mosque stands 52 m (171 ft) high and can be seen from virtually anywhere in Bandar Seri Begawan. The main minaret is the mosque’s tallest feature. In a unique way it mixes Renaissance and Italian architectural style. The minaret has an elevator to the top, where one can enjoy a panoramic view of the city.
The interior of the mosque is for prayer only. It has magnificent stained glass windows, arches, semi-domes and marble columns. Nearly all the material used for the building has been imported from abroad: the marble from Italy, the granite from Shanghai, the crystal chandeliers from England and the carpets from Saudi Arabia.