Stepping into History at the Grand Mosque of Kuwait City

Take a virtual tour of the stunning architecture and interior design of the Grand Mosque of Kuwait

The Grand Mosque, located in the city’s center, is the largest and official Mosque of Kuwait. All state-sanctioned religious ceremonies take place there. The neighborhood Muslims call this place of worship Al-Masjid Al-Kabir.

The structure itself is 20,000 square meters (220,000 square feet) out of a total of 46,000 square meters (490,000 square feet). The Grand Mosque has become a national icon in Kuwait due to its stunning Islamic architecture.

This mosque was started in 1979 and finished in 1986 at a cost of roughly KD 14 million; thus, its creators and designers clearly put in a lot of time and work. The prayer arrangement at the Grand Mosque is particularly well-liked by worshippers in the final ten days of Ramadan. During the final 10 days of Ramadan, thousands of Muslims congregate.

View of Grand Mosque of Kuwait City
View of Grand Mosque of Kuwait City

This beige-hued mosque is across from the Stock Exchange and Al Seif Palace, and its exterior belies the splendor that awaits inside. Every weekday morning at 9 am, locals and visitors alike are invited to a free guided tour of the mosque. In addition to the opportunity to ask several questions, visitors will learn a wealth of information about the structure and the Islamic way of life.

Travelers who do not already own a scarf or ‘abaya’ can borrow one. Wearing long dresses and loose garments is advised. The blue and beige color palette is inspired by the sky and ground, respectively, and is quite restful to the eyes (important for those late-night prayers).

The main prayer hall is the largest hall, with enough capacity to accommodate almost 10,000 men and four massive columns. Elegant, with sunlight filtering in and huge chandeliers (each weighing as much as a vehicle) suspended from the ceiling.

Completed in 1986, the mosque has seen its worshipper count steadily rise over the years, reaching approximately 2 lahk on a single night of Ramadan in 2011. To accommodate such a large group, a multi-level parking garage was transformed into pristine, carpeted, air-conditioned prayer rooms.

Inteior of Grand Mosque of Kuwait City
Inteior of Grand Mosque of Kuwait City

The architectural design of the Grand Mosque of Kuwait

The Grand Mosque is a stunning example of traditional Islamic architecture, with its massive dome in the center, pointed arches, and arcades of pillars that form winding open-air corridors.

Visitors to the mosque are awed by the shimmering gold leaf and deep blues that greet them inside. Hand-carved gypsum gives a variety of textures to the mosque, while priceless geometric Andalusian-style patterned tiles enliven the area, and decorative calligraphy draws the eye across the chamber.

The mosque’s main prayer hall measures 70 meters (236 feet) on all sides and is lit by 144 windows and 21 teakwood doors. The capacity of the main prayer hall, which is reserved solely for male worshipers, is ten thousand.

Exteior of Grand Mosque of Kuwait City
Exteior of Grand Mosque of Kuwait City

The mosque’s women’s prayer room is smaller than the main hall and can seat no more than a thousand worshippers at a time. Those who practice Islam are welcome to use the patio, especially if they seek a tranquil setting in which to worship.

The space is square because the direction of prayer is always toward Mecca, and this shape makes it easier to orient the structure in this direction.

The circumference of the mosque’s dome is 26 meters (85 feet), while its height is 43 meters (141 feet). It has a copper crescent on top of its dome, from which hang four magnificent chandeliers.

The dome of the Kuwait Grand Mosque is adorned with the Asma al-hosna, the 99 names of God mentioned in the Quran, demonstrating the mosque’s great attention to detail. The phrases of the Grand Mosque blur into geometric designs as they encircle the dome. One of the foremost Middle Eastern calligraphers, Hamid Haddad, penned and created these.

Grand Mosque, Kuwait
Grand Mosque, Kuwait

This mosque has space for 10,000 male worshippers in the main prayer hall and 1,000 female worshippers in a separate building. The mosque also features a library with Islamic reference materials that spans 350 square meters (3,800 square feet).

In order to handle the large stream of worshipers, especially during Ramadan, the five-story parking garage beneath the eastern courtyard may be converted into a prayer space. The mosque’s minaret, located at the mosque’s northwest corner, is reminiscent of Andalusian design.

Visitors will notice that no depictions of animals, plants, humans, Mohammed, or God can be found among the dรฉcor. This is due to the widespread belief that depictions of God are sacrilegious and that an effort at capturing God’s likeness in art will never live up to the genuine thing. The versatility of star designs allows the artist to create an infinite number of patterns.

Grand Mosque's Top Viwe, Kuwait
Grand Mosque’s Top Viwe, Kuwait

Ten gates of exotic wood surround the mosque. When Muslims pray, they face the Qiblah, which is decorated with a verse from the Holy Qur’an written in Kufi calligraphy. Each hue and exquisite calligraphy are carefully chosen to encourage a deeper trust in God.

The mosque’s geometric design is reminiscent of the desert and the Gulf’s landscape. Selecting the artists, typefaces (certain fonts are held back for royal or religious motives), and language has put a burden on the authorities.

The Amir’s chamber, the Grand Mosque’s crowning glory, should not be overlooked. Two times a year, the Amir and his guests will gather in this area that connects to the main prayer hall. The room’s ceiling and walls are beautifully created with symmetrical lines. The Amir room is especially notable for its hand-carved gypsum ceilings.

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