After a delightful breakfast, I journeyed to The Grand Mosque of Kuwait.
I was going to walk, but at the insistence of the hotel concierge when I asked for directions to the mosque, I journeyed there in a taxi. He explained the walk is not an easy one and would take me over an hour. A doorman walked me to the sidewalk and flagged me a local taxi, because they’re cheaper than hotel taxis. He found me one – the driver saying it would cost me 1.50 dinar. He used a meter. But the meter was less than what he quoted me.
Lesson#1 for the day. Follow the price on the taxi meter, not what the driver says.
After a short drive, that I’m sure I could figure our how to walk it, I arrived around 10:00am to my destination.
Grand Mosque of Kuwait
I was greeted by security as I walked into this side entrance:
Tourist Meeting Area
I indicated I was here for a tour of the mosque. He asked me where I was from. I told him Canada. He told to follow him and brought me to an attractive atrium, where he announced to staff in relatively good English, that I was from Canada. In typical Arab hospitality, I was kindly offered water, juice, cookies, tea or coffee.
As I looked around, still unsure of what was unfolding… the clues around the room indicated I was in the tour guide location, the starting base for a tour.
Next, I was given an abaya and head scarf to wear.
I was told to sit and wait. I asked if I was getting a tour? They said yes.
Wait 10 minutes.
This means 20 minutes, if not longer.
So, I sat an enjoyed my Arabic tea and cookies…
My tour guide arrived, a half hour later. The guide was called from her home, to come to the mosque to give me a tour! She then ushered me along to get started! While I was the only one on her tour, I discovered I wasn’t the only one on a tour of the mosque. School trips were also on tour of the mosque.
Before entering the mosque we removed our shoes.
Walking into the Main Prayer Room
When we entered, I was completely in awe of how beautiful the room was!
Video of the Main Prayer Room
Main Dome with 99 Names of Allah
Looking up at the central dome. It is decorated with the 99 names of Allah, with three verses from the Ghafir Chapter in the Quran.
The carpet is from Egypt. The color blue is for the ocean, beige for sand.
Gold Italian Chandeliers
The 4 gold chandeliers (each next to a marble pillar that holds up the dome) are from Italy and weight 1 tonne.
Note the little booths at the base of pillar. These are set up for Quran Competitions. These booths were all around the room. Students recite from the Quran and compete for a final grand prize.
German-made Lights of Raw Crystal
On the pillars and around the room are lights from Germany made of raw crystal.
The Niche is the first part of the mosque to be made, as it it positioned to face Mecca. Here is where prayers are read facing into the niche so that the voice then reverberates back into to all corners of the mosque, so all can hear.
Friday Sermons – Chair and Pulpit
The chair and the pulpit are for Friday sermons. Sermons told by the Khutbah are to tell a moral story from the Quran. Nothing political. If it is political, the Khutbah can be put in jail. As well, the sermon must be short. Usually a half hour. I was allowed up onto the pulpit to view the room…..
Room for Distinguished Guests
Off of the main prayer room, is the room for distinguished guests. This room took 2 years to build – every detail is handmade.
Walking towards the entrance of the room:
Video of the room:
The carpet is Persian…..very soft…….
The doors made of teak.
View from the Room
Looking out at the main prayer room.
Wall and Ceiling Art
The wall art below is of the main dome and two towers of a mosque.
The blue writing up in the top is only for palaces.
The ceiling is so beautiful. Ornate and delicate.
There are seven copies of the Quran written under the reign of the third Caliph, Othman Ibn Affan. They are spread over the world. There is one in Turkey. This is a copy of one of the pages from one of the seven Quran.
We then left the mosque and walked back across the courtyard to end the tour.
Close up of the Syrian lamps decorating the outside corridor of the mosque.
I was returned to where we started in the glass atrium room. I said thank you and goodbye to my tour guide, as she rushed off to be back home with her two small children. She was friendly but very quiet. There was very little small talk between us. Except when I asked her if she had children! She told me just a little bit about them! That was the most she said about anything other than telling me details about the mosque and directions to the souq.
I returned the abaya and head scarf. Said my thanks to the staff for a wonderful morning (the tour was free!) and headed for the Kuwaiti souq….